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List of candidates

Please note:

  • Candidates are listed alphabetically
  • Early career scientists are marked with an asterisk (*)
  • We aim for an even gender balance



de BAETS, Kenneth R. *

Kenneth deBaetsResearch Assistant, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg

I am interested in a broad range of topics integrating fossil evidence into studies on developmental, ecological and evolutionary questions. My research is focused on macroevolution, particularly on the relative contribution (e.g., parasitism) and abiotic factors (e.g., climate) in driving large-scale evolutionary patterns. Other interests are quantitative methods in paleontology, paleobiology and stratigraphy more generally. My main tools for these purposes are cephalopods and parasitic helminths, but i am also work on variety of other invertebrates and vertebrates. I am committed to make our community more diverse and our research more open.

BENTON, Michael J.

Mike BentonProfessor of Vertebrate Paleontology, University of Bristol, UK

Professor Michael Benton has worked on databases and macroevolution of fossil vertebrates for some time. He is particularly interested in Triassic tetrapods, the end-Permian mass extinction and the origin of dinosaurs. Currently, he is working with his postdocs and PhD students in two funded projects, one on recovery from the end-Permian mass extinction (NERC) and another on the drivers of macroevolution based around tetrapod phylogeny (ERC Advanced). In particular he is interested in the application of phylogenetic comparative methods and Bayesian modelling approaches to exploring questions around drivers of evolution, scaling and rates of events, and selectivity of mass extinctions. Has supervised more than 75 PhD students.


Professor of Palaeobiology, University of Bristol, UK

Philip Donoghue is Professor of Palaeobiology at the University of Bristol (UK) and Fellow of the Royal Society. He studies major evolutionary transitions including early vertebrate, early animal, and early land plant evolution, using both fossil and molecular data.

DUNHILL, Alexander M. *

Lecturer in Palaeobiology, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, UK

I am a quantitative palaeobiologist with expertise in large-scale macroecological and macroevolutionary patterns in the fossil record. My previous research has included modelling sampling biases in the fossil record; quantifying the macroecology, biogeography, and macroevolutionary consequences of hyperthermal mass extinction events; and applying network methods to palaeobiological questions. I am currently working on applying community ecology modelling techniques to periods of mass extinction to establish the nature of ecosystem collapse across some of the most catastrophic events in Earth history.

FOSTER, William J. *

FosterScientist, School of Earth Science, University College Dublin, Ireland

The overarching theme of my research is the coevolution of life and the planet, in particular how a rapidly changing climate affects marine ecosystems. My research is highly interdisciplinary and focuses on mass extinction events, depositional systems, benthic paleoecology, and the impacts of climate change (e.g. ocean acidification, high temperatures, and deoxygenation). For my research, I undertake both regular field expeditions to collect new data as well as using data science methods to incorporate ‘big data’.

HAUG, Joachim T.

HaugProfessor, LMU Munich, Biocenter – Department of Biology II

My research focuses on an often underestimated life phase: The larval phase. Especially some groups of Euarthropoda possess highly differentiated larval stages. These larvae play a crucial role in ecosystems, not least due to their giant biomass. For my studies, I use extant animals as well as exceptionally preserved fossil larvae. In this way, I am able to detect changes in morphology of these developmental stages on a geological scale. Ultimately, this approach allows to quantitatively detect changes of morphological diversity of ecologically important groups over time. Therefore, this approach provides important data for other fields, such as biodiversity research and conservation biology.

HOPKINS, Melanie J.

melanie hopkinsAssociate Curator, Division of Paleontology & Richard Gilder Graduate School, AMNH, New York, NY, USA

Dr. Melanie Hopkins is an Associate Professor and Associate Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology whose research focuses on patterns and processes of morphological evolution, including the roles of both development and ecology in directing evolution over long time scales. She works primarily on trilobites but has also worked on other marine invertebrate groups. She did her Bachelor at Stanford University and her PhD at the University of Chicago.


Research Assistant, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg

I am a palaeobiologist interested in two research fields: (1) stratigraphic palaeobiology, or the influence of the stratigraphic processes and architecture on biological informations; and (2) biomineralization in early vertebrates. I am dedicated to support ECRs and minorities in palaeobiology, in promoting palaeobiology and scientific literacy to the public, and in strengthening collaborations between palaeobiology and other disciplines.

KLUG, Christian

Christian KlugCurator at the University Zurich, Institute for Paleontology and Geology, Switzerland

I am interested in the palaeobiology of cephalopods. Currently, I have research projects on the early evolution of nautiloids from the Cambrian to the Devonian and of gnathostomes from the Late Devonian. Together with my workgroup, we analyse the palaeoecology mainly of Devonian ecosystems of the Devonian from macroecological processes to alpha diversity-studies. I am motivated to come up with new approaches to address palaeobiological questions in novel ways. Similarly, I like applying methods from other fields to fossil materials. Like Prof. Seilacher, I enjoy exploring other groups of organisms and trying out new methods together with my colleagues.


Curator and Professor of Paleontology, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida

Michał Kowalewski is a paleontologist interested in ecology and evolution of marine benthic communities. He integrates paleontological, geological, and ecological data to study ecosystems over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. His projects span multiple continents, habitat types, and time intervals, with primary focus on late Quaternary mollusks and echinoids. Michał is particularly interested in Conservation Paleobiology, an approach, which uses fossil data to assist in conservation and restoration of marine habitats. Michał‘s didactic activities center primarily on career development of graduate students and post-doctoral researchers. He teaches workshops on quantitative methods in paleontology and summer field courses for graduate students. Over his career, Michał has published over 120 peer-review journal articles and received research grants totaling ~3 million dollars. Among others, Michał served as a senior editor of Paleobiology, chair of the organizing committee for the 2014 North American Paleontological Convention, and Distinguished Lecturer or the Paleontological Society.

LIOW, Lee Hsiang

Associate Professor at the NHM & Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis, Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, Norway

Lee Hsiang Liow is a paleobiologist and evolutionary biologist. She has worked on the estimation of diversification rates using fossil data and developing approaches on inferring correlational and causal links between time series of origination and extinction rates and their putative abiotic drivers. A large part of her current research is focused on unravelling the evolutionary history of a group of marine colonial invertebrates, bryozoans, including dynamics their overgrowth interactions in both the fossil record and Recent material. She is currently most interested in using life history traits to forge empirical and conceptual links between micro and macroevolution.

PETERS, Shanan E.

Dean L. Morgridge Prof. of Geoscience, University of Wisconsin–Madison, USA

Shanan Peters is the Dean L. Morgridge Professor in the Dept. of Geoscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and was a University of Michigan Fellow. His research involves understanding the long-term coevolution of Earth and life, which requires compiling global databases of fossils and rocks. To this end, he has overseen technical development of manually-constructed databases, including the Paleobiology Database, the Paleobiology Database Navigator app, and Macrostrat, and has led the NSF EarthCube project called GeoDeepDive, a platform for text and data mining from scientific publications.


PostDoc Scientist, Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, Germany

I am a micropaleontologist with an expertise in Cenozoic radiolarians and diatoms. I am also the current maintainer and developer of the Neptune (NSB) database and its associated softwares. My research currently revolves around quantifying the impact of climate on plankton evolution as well as the impact of the Cenozoic rise of marine diatoms on the global carbon cycle and thus climate, and the Cenozoic evolution of the Southern Ocean planktonic biome.

RODEN, Vanessa *

vanessaScientist at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg

Vanessa Roden is an early-career paleobiologist who works at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), Germany. In her PhD, she looked into beta diversity patterns in Triassic and modern reef basin assemblages. Long-term goals are understanding the drivers and patterns of beta diversity, and how these change from a spatial and temporal perspective. Vanessa is currently studying the scale-dependence of rates of climate change to compare ancient and modern events in the DFG research unit TERSANE. Her further interests are macroecology, conservation paleobiology, taphonomy, and zoology. She has worked in different museum collections and is a PR representative for the Paläontologische Gesellschaft.

SAUPE, Erin E. *

Associate Professor of Palaeobiology, University of Oxford, UK

My research addresses fundamental questions on the origin, maintenance, and conservation of biological diversity. I integrate biological data with information from the fossil record to elucidate the controls on community and species’ responses to environmental change across various spatial and temporal scales. The goal is to use these data to inform conservation decisions today, as part of the bourgeoning field of conservation paleobiology. My research is generally question-, rather than methods-, driven, but I apply a diverse toolkit to investigating these lines of research, which includes quantitative techniques such as modelling, genetics, and environmental reconstructions.


Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences and Swire Institute of Marine Science, The University of Hong Kong, China

Moriaki Yasuhara is an associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences and the Swire Institute of Marine Science at the University of Hong Kong. He has broad interests in palaeoecology and macroecology, especially those using highly resolved micropalaeontological records. His recent research has focused on the spatiotemporal dynamics of large-scale biodiversity patterns, the climatic and temperature impacts on species diversity, and the controlling factor(s) of biodiversity patterns/change in shallow-marine, deep sea, pelagic and terrestrial ecosystems. He is also interested in microfossil-based conservation palaeobiology as well as palaeontology of marine Ostracoda in general.