The Bristol Palaeobiology Research Group includes eight members of academic staff together with large numbers of research fellows, postdocs, PhD students, and Masters students. Learn more about their labs, current research activities, and key themes and interests.
Our key mission is to understand the life of the past, its place within the tree of life, its palaeobiology and function, interactions between biosphere and physical environment, and the reliability of the fossil record. This leads to active research in four fields.
Our research fields
- Establishing the tree of life and exploring key methodological issues in ensuring accuracy and precision in the topology and timescale of that tree.
- Exploring the balance of internal, biological drivers and external, physical drivers in shaping the history of biodiversity.
- Understanding how ancient organisms functioned by applying experimental, engineering approaches to ancient skeletons.
- Exploring the limits of exceptional preservation in terms of fundamental chemistry, microbial and geochemical processes of decay and fossilization.
Over-riding all these themes is the application of rigorous, testable methods so that inferences are scientific. We test and develop new methods seeking to set standards for wide application.
We organise our research according to members of staff, who are listed alphabetically by surname:
Focus on macroevolution, mass extinctions, and vertebrate evolution, especially the Permian-Triassic mass extinction and origin of the dinosaurs.
Focus on molecular palaeobiology, major evolutionary transitions, molecular and morphological evidence, fossilization and divergence time estimation.
Focus on animal and plant genome evolution, genomic origins of parasitism, gene family evolution and molecular phylogenetics.
Focus on animal phylogenetics, recovering and dating the tree of life, evolution of new physiologies and theoretical phylogenetics.
Focus on macroevolution of jaws, dinosaur dietary partitioning, origin of mammals and skeletons more widely.
Focus on causes and effects of global warming and ocean acidification on marine ecosystems.
Focus on origins of major animal groups using fossils and molecular techniques, animal macroevolution, taphonomy and the evolution of colour and vision.
Focus on how molecules, genomes and microbes evolve, and the evolutionary history of life.
Explore the Bristol Palaeobiology Research Group's publications. Use the link above to search within the University of Bristol repository, or this link for full listings each year, from 1985 to the present, and with analysis.
Key research topics in the Palaeobiology research centre include:
Read about our fascinating research into feathers, melanosomes and the colour of dinosaurs