We conduct research on a wide range of topics, and use a diversity of techniques to examine palaeobiological problems. Our research falls into the following broad general themes:
We examine diversity in deep time at both the global and the regional scale. Our research includes examination of major macroevolutionary patterns, such as fluctuations in the biodiversity of tetrapods over the last 250 million years, and the nature and drivers of diversity patterns such as the latitudinal biodiversity gradient. Our regional studies focus on the excellent fossil record of the Upper Jurassic and Cretaceous Western Interior, North America, where we seek to better understand the relationship between fossil record bias, palaeoclimate, palaeogeography and vertebrate and invertebrate distributions.
Phylogeny, taxonomy and systematics
We analyse the evolutionary relationships and taxonomy of a wide range of fossil groups, including sauropodomorph and ornithischian dinosaurs, crocodylomorphs (crocodiles and their extinct relatives), and a diversity of invertebrate groups, including arthropods, molluscs and sponges. We use cutting-edge cladistic methods, as well as ‘virtual palaeontology’, the reconstruction and manipulation of three-dimensionally preserved invertebrates, coupled with detailed anatomical and taxonomic work, spanning the globe.
Rock and fossil record interactions
We use sampling standardization and bias modelling to quantify, understand and ‘correct for’ bias in our sampling of the fossil record. We contribute to and use tools such as the Palaeobiology Database (www.paleobiodb.org) to quantify the quality and completeness of the fossil record. Our research includes the use of a variety of geological techniques such as magnetostratigraphy and clumped isotopic analysis to examine palaeobiological problems. We also examine the preservation of soft tissues in vertebrate fossils using materials characterisation techniques.