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Dr John Cunningham
Dr John Cunningham
NERC Research Fellow
BSc(Edin), MSc(Bristol), PhD(Liv)
Area of research
Understanding the fossil evidence for major transitions in early evolution
I am currently a NERC postdoctoral fellow based in the School of Earth Sciences. My current research aims to understand the fossil evidence for major transitions in early evolution such as the origin of cells, eukaryotes, multicellularity and animals.
My recent research has focused on fossilized animal embryos from the Cambrian and lowermost Ordovician, as well as the embryo-like fossils from the Ediacaran Doushantuo biota. I have used a range of techniques in this work ranging from experimental decay to synchrotron tomography.
I completed a B.Sc. in Geology at the University of Edinburgh (2000), followed by an M.Sc. in Palaeobiology at the University of Bristol (2002) and a Ph.D. at the University of Liverpool (2008). I have carried out postdoctoral research in Bristol for the past five years.
- fossilized embryos
- early animal evolution
- the Doushantuo biota
School of Earth Sciences
Earth Sciences staff
- Dong, X, Vargas, KM, Cunningham, JA, Zhang, H, Liu, T, Chen, F, Liu, J, Donoghue, PCJ & Bengtson, S, 2016, Developmental biology of the Early Cambrian cnidarian Olivooides. Palaeontology, vol 59., pp. 387-407
- Cunningham, JA, Vargas, KM, Pengju, L, Belivanova, V, Marone, F, Martínez-Pérez, C, Guizar-Sicairos, M, Holler, M, Bengtson, S & Donoghue, PCJ, 2015, Critical appraisal of tubular putative eumetazoans from the Ediacaran Weng’an Doushantuo biota. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol 282.
- Butler, AD, Cunningham, JA, Budd, GE & Donoghue, PCJ, 2015, Experimental taphonomy of artemia reveals the role of endogenous microbes in mediating decay and fossilization. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol 282., pp. 1-10
- Donoghue, PCJ, Cunningham, JA, Dong, XP & Bengtson, S, 2015, Embryology in deep time. in: Evolutionary Developmental Biology of Invertebrates 1: Introduction, Non-Bilateria, Acoelomorpha, Xenoturbellida, Chaetognatha. Springer-Verlag Vienna, pp. 45-63
- Fothergill, J, Li, M, Davis, SA, Cunningham, JA & Mann, S, 2014, Nanoparticle-based membrane assembly and silicification in coacervate microdroplets as a route to complex colloidosomes. Langmuir, vol 30., pp. 14591-14596
- Cunningham, JA, Rahman, IA, Lautenschlager, S, Rayfield, EJ & Donoghue, PCJ, 2014, A virtual world of paleontology. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, vol 29., pp. 347-357
- Rucklin, M, Donoghue, PCJ, Cunningham, JA, Marone, F & Stampanoni, M, 2014, Development paleobiology of the vertebrate skeleton. Journal of Paleontology, vol 88., pp. 676-683
- Dong, X-P, Cunningham, JA, Bengtson, S, Thomas, C-W, Liu, J, Stampanoni, M & Donoghue, PCJ, 2013, Embryos, polyps and medusae of the Early Cambrian scyphozoan Olivooides. Proceedings of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences, vol 280.
- Cunningham, JA, Thomas, C-W, Bengtson, S, Marone, F, Stampanoni, M, Turner, FR, Bailey, JV, Raff, RA, Raff, EC & Donoghue, PCJ, 2012, Experimental taphonomy of giant sulphur bacteria: implications for the interpretation of the embryo-like Ediacaran Doushantuo fossils. Proceedings of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences, vol 279., pp. 1857-1864
- Bengtson, S, Cunningham, JA, Yin, C & Donoghue, PCJ, 2012, A merciful death for the "earliest bilaterian," Vernanimalcula. Evolution and Development, vol 14., pp. 421-427
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