University of Manchester
My research interests tend to focus on fossils charting major evolutionary transitions, using novel techniques. One focus is the terrestrialisation, palaeobiology, evolutionary relationships, and palaeoecology of early land animals. The earliest widespread fossils of life on land are from the Carboniferous Period (359 million – 299 million years ago), and I use CT scanning and digital visualisation to better understand these organisms. I also contribute to the coding and maintenance of a number of open source software packages. SPIERS comprises three packages that are used for analysing and visualising slice-based (tomographic) datasets, be they recovered by CT scanning or any other technique. REvoSim and TREvoSim are packages which simulate evolution, and can be used to understand, for example, eco-evolutionary dynamics and as the basis for improving the techniques we use to build evolutionary trees.
Fields of expertise: Palaeobiology, particularly of the arthropods, CT scanning, digital visualisation and associated techniques, Terrestrialisation and early land-based ecosystems, Computer modelling of evolution, Abiogenesis and early evolution