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Research interests

Mass extinctions act as big reset buttons for ecosystems globally, and none was bigger than that across the Permian–Triassic boundary at 252 million years ago. Following this event many newly-evolved groups took advantage and diversified into new ecosystems: this is when some of the first marine reptiles evolved and quickly came to dominate the oceans. While the actors in the oceans were different, how did the building of marine ecosystems change across this mass extinction?

I'm interested in problems associated with major transitions, such as at mass extinctions or with the evolution of novel features and ecologies. The rapid evolution and diversification of marine reptiles from the beginning of the Triassic period is a key opportunity to study several different groups that evolved different traits as a solution to the problem of life in the water. I am researching how these new traits evolved, when and how quickly; how different groups diverged and modified to suit their particular ecology, and formed ancient ecosystems; and what groupd 'rediscovered' similar solutions to their aquatic niche through convergent evolution. Key groups that I study include ichthyosaurs, sauropterygians, and fishes, using observational palaeontology and comparative phylogenetic techniques.


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  • Edward Forbes Prize

    Moon, Benjamin C (Recipient), Apr 2019

    Prize: Prizes, Medals, Awards and Grants