Paleontology, predation, and the evolution of shape

Spring tides at Cobscook Bay, Maine


I am broadly interested in how biotic and abiotic factors interact to influence the evolution of shape. My work integrates paleontological methodology and data (i.e., repair scar studies, stable isotope geochemistry, and morphometrics) with biological and ecological methodology and data (such as predation experiments, mark-recapture data, and observational ecological and museum collections based studies) to determine the forces that both drive and constrain morphological evolution within clades of marine mollusks. I focus on spatial and temporal variation in local adaptation to determine the factors that control shape evolution.

Combined methods can additionally be applied to address conservation-based questions: how will changing ecological interactions affect morphology, growth rates, and abundance for different taxa? What did ecological interactions look like prior to human impacts? How can we ensure that conservation measures protect desirable ecosystem function? This multidisciplinary approach makes paleontology broadly relevant and useful for addressing current conservation and ecological issues.


Littorina obtusata