Body mass distribution patterns in mammals around the globeThemes include: Ecology, palaeoecologySummary: This project will use faunal lists from around the world to assess body mass distribution patterns in mammals as a tool in palaeoecology. Body mass distribution patterns have been shown to correlate with environmental variable. These have been used to identify the palaeoenvironment of many fossil localities around the world. Recent studies have revised the methodology for Australian environments, identifying new patterns not previously found on other continents. This project will aim to apply the revised methodology to the rest of the world and determined whether Australia is a unique case or not.Supervisors: Dr Kenny Travouillon, Dr Julien Louys
Palaeobudgeting: estimating the quality of the Australian fossil record
Themes include: Statistics, palaeoecology, biochronology
Summary: The fossil record of Australia is by definition incomplete, which is a major issue for broad scale studies in palaeoecology and biochronology. This project aims at establishing a methodology to identity which Australian fossil localities have been sufficiently sampled to provide accurate results in both palaeoecological and biochronological studies, and which fossil localities require further sampling, and therefore become a priority for future research and collection.
Supervisor: Dr Kenny Travouillon
Late Pleistocene-Recent faunal change from Colosseum Chamber, Mt Etna region, central eastern Queensland
Themes include: palaeoecology, geochronology, taphonomy.
Supervisors: Dr Julien Louys, Dr Gilbert Price, Dr Kenny Travouillon.
Mesowear in Australian marsupials
Themes include: ecomorphology, dental wear, palaeobiology
Summary: Mesowear describes the type and amount of wear that an animal’s teeth experiences over its lifetime. Quantification of wear patterns allows us to infer the diets of the organisms under study. So far, mesowear analyses have been restricted to placentals. This project will determine whether mesowear is applicable for marsupials, and if so, will apply these analyses to several fossil assemblages from Queensland in order to determine palaeodiets and ultimately palaeoenvironments.
Supervisors: Dr Julien Louys, Dr Gilbert Price, Dr Kenny Travouillon
Australian mammal communities through geological timeThemes include: palaeoecology, synecology, mammalogySummary: Understanding how mammal communities are constructed, how they react to climate change and how they have changed over geological time is critical to accurately predicting how they might respond to future climate change and human habitat alteration. This project will seek to quantify what makes Australian communities form and function. It will examine whether any similarities exist between Australian communities and communities from similar environments in other parts of the world. Finally, this project will quantify the changes which communities have undergone in response to previous climatic changes as preserved in the fossil record, allowing us to develop models of predicted future change.Supervisors: Dr Julien Louys, Dr Kenny Travouillon
Palaeoecology of megafauna fossil sites of northern Australia
Themes include: palaeoecology, palaeobiology, geochronology
Supervisors: Dr Gilbert Price, Dr Julien Louys, Dr Kenny Travouillon.
The evolution of marsupial locomotion
Themes include: taxonomy, morphology, palaeoecology
Summary: Kangaroos and bandicoots are the only two marsupial groups which show syndactyly (fusing of digits) in their hind feet. This trait correlates with the similarity in the locomotion of both kangaroos and bandicoots. New postcranial remains from fossil bandicoots have been recovered from Riversleigh World Heritage Area, which may provide some insight on how locomotion in bandicoots and kangaroos may have evolved. This project will aim at comparing the fossil remains to modern bandicoots and kangaroos to establish whether these fossil bandicoots had already evolved the modern locomotion or not.
Supervisor : Dr Kenny Travouillon