What we study

We study major evolutionary transitions, their causes and consequences, integrating evidence from living organisms and the fossil record, including molecular phylogenetics, developmental biology, experimental taphonomy, computed tomography, and traditional palaeontological analysis. Our recent work has focussed on early vertebrate evolution, the origin of land plants and of animals, as well as the timescale of cellular evolution, from the last universal common ancestor to living biodiversity.

Currently Funded Projects

An integrated quantitative approach to characterising organismal design-space and tests of evolutionary causality (Templeton Foundation)

Causes and consequences of the evolution of multicellularity (Leverhulme Trust)

Chance versus purpose in the evolution of biospheres (Templeton Foundation)

iADAPT: ice Dependent Adaptations for Plant Terrestrialization (Leverhulme Trust)

Resolving the prokaryote-to-eukaryote transition using new phylogenomic models of endosymbiosis (Moore Foundation)

Efficient Bayesian phylogenomic dating with new models of trait evolution and rich diversities of living and fossil species (BBSRC)

BETR: Proterozoic-Phanerozoic transition (NERC)