Our research sits at the interface between macroevolution and macroecology, and aims to understand broad-scale patterns of biodiversity. We use cutting-edge phylogenetic comparative methods (usually in R), morphological data collected from museum specimens, phylogenies, ecological data, species geographic range maps, fossils and various larger databases, to investigate a variety of topics. Current research in the group spans macroevolution, ecology, conservation and social science, and uses living and extinct taxa including fishes, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. We are advocates for Open Science and diversity and inclusion in STEM. Check out the Group page for a list of current projects. Below is a video about some of our work on Hope the blue whale, in collaboration with Clive Trueman at University of Southampton and others.



Current Projects


Using natural history collections to study biodiversity, morphological diversity and anthropogenic change

With over 80 million specimens (and their associated metadata) at our fingertips, we are able to ask a range of exciting questions in macroevolution and macroecology, and to investigate anthropogenic influences on biodiversity. We're also interested in investigating broad-scale patterns of morphological evolution (including convergence and disparity) across species, and developing new methods to study this. More recently we have also been working on understanding the biases that underly natural history collections data. We mostly use vertebrate collections, but we love all data/species equally and have collaborations with taxon specialists across the Museum. Check out the Group page for a list of current projects.


Active grants


Back to the Water

This grant is led by postdoc Travis Park, and focuses on the evolution of secondarily aquatic tetrapods, i.e. whales, dolphins, seals, sealions and their relatives. Gustavo Burin is also a postdoc on this project.
Collaborators: Graham Slater (University of Chicago), Erich Fitzgerald (Museums Victoria).
Funding: The Leverhulme Trust.



This grant is led by Gavin Thomas at University of Sheffield, and focuses on the evolution of trait covariances in bird beaks. Thomas Guillerme is the postdoc on this project.
Collaborators: Andrew Beckerman (University of Sheffield).
Funding: NERC.