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Current PhD Students

Our PhD students are key to the success of the Bristol Palaeobiology Research Group. They address a broad range of topics, and we are delighted that so many produce theses of the very highest quality.

In the past several years, the Faculty of Science has singled out the best PhD submissions across the Faculty for commendation, and so far these include an unusually high number of palaeontologists - Dr Gai Zhikun, Dr James Rae, and Dr Jennie Bright in 2011-2, and of these Jennie won the Faculty of Science Prize for the best PhD thesis in 2011-2. In 2012-3, Dr Alex Dunhill was selected for commendation. In 2013-4, Dr Rachel Warnock was selected for commendation, and in 2016-7 Dr David Button and Dr Colin Palmer.


  • Gareth Coleman: Using molecular methods to reconstruct the nature of the earliest life (Royal Society)
  • Maryory Sarria Dulcey: The effect of climate change on Southern Ocean benthic calcifiers (Coliencias)
  • Emma Landon: On the eve of the Cambrian Explosion: Palaeobiology and preservation of the Ediacaran Weng'an Biota (NERC DTP)
  • Susana Gutarra Diaz: Evolutionary innovations and convergence in Mesozoic marine reptiles: locomotory adaptations to ocean ecosystems (NERC-CASE DTP)
  • Nuria Morales Garcia: The functional evolution of Mesozoic mammals: a biomechanical approach (Conacyt, Mexico)
  • Katherine Short: Life in the extreme: when did the water bears (Phylum Tardigrada) colonise Antarctica? (NERC DTP)
  • Suresh Singh: Understanding terrestrial ecological dynamics and evolution through the Mesozoic Era (University of Bristol)
  • Claire Bullar: Braincase anatomy, phylogeny, and the success of Ceratopsia (Self)
  • James Clark: Whole genome duplication and the evolution of the land plant body plan (BBSRC)
  • Armin Elsler: Early tetrapod evolution: Red Queen or Court Jester? (University of Bristol, DTP)
  • James Fleming: Molecular evolution of vision in the Ecdysozoa (NERC, DTP)
  • Jorge Herrera Flores: Macroevolution of Lepidosauria (Conicyt, Mexico)
  • Richard Kelly: Changes in the British insect fauna across the end Triassic mass extinction event (NERC-National Museum of Scotland CASE, DTP)
  • Dave Marshall: Investigations into the nature of early chelicerate cuticle (Self)
  • Leanne Melbourne: The future of UK shelf ecosystems (NERC-NHM CASE)
  • Luke Parry: The origin of the annelid crown group - fossils, morphology and molecules (University of Bristol STAR)
  • Max Stockdale: Macroevolution of crocodylomorphs (NERC)
  • Nicky Stone: Function and development in palaeognath birds (Self)
  • Al Tanner: The evolutionary history of the clitellate annelids (STAR, teaching-research demonstratorship, University of Bristol)
  • Fiona Walker: The rock record of the British Cretaceous (NERC-BGS CASE)
  • Naomi Apostolaki: The evolution of pneumaticity in Sauropodomorpha and its correlation with body size (Self)
  • Massimo Bernardi: Vertebrate palaeontology and palaeoichnology of the Permian-Triassic of the Dolomites, Italian Alps (Promotion of Educational Policies, University and Research Department of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano, South Tyrol)
  • Tony Hancy: Life and death in the first complex ecosystems: the ecology and evolution of the Ediacara Biota (NERC)
  • J.J. Hill: Evolution of the gnathostome jaw (self-funded)
  • Qingyu Ma: Constraints and efficiency in the evolution of birds (University of Bristol Scholarship).
  • Richard Taylor: Evolution of plant microRNAs (EPSRC).
  • Amy Waterson: Local and global effects of long-term environmental change: A turtle's eye view (NERC PGRA).

Thecodontosaurus illustration courtesy of Richard Deasey.
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