Phone: (704) 687-5982
My research interests involve the study of Carboniferous terrestrial ecosystems, in particular understanding the evolutionary processes involved in the vertebrate transition from aquatic to terrestrial environments. Studying evolutionary phenomena across the fish to tetrapod transition provides an ideal test case for studies of adaptive radiation. I am interested in understanding the evolutionary relationships of early tetrapods, and specifically, the evolution of characters associated with terrestriality. This research involves understanding the interaction of early tetrapods with their environments and how this affected the evolution of various tetrapod groups. I am interested in continuing field- and lab-based research documenting and describing Carboniferous terrestrial ecosystems containing early tetrapods, in particular I am interested in comparing faunas of the Illinois Basin with more well-studied areas in Great Britain. At present this research involves collaboration with Cincinnati Natural History Museum describing the Hancock County Locality, a tetrapod and fish fauna from a Mississippian ox-bow deposit in western Kentucky.
Other areas of research involve the examination of biogeographic patterns among Carboniferous tetrapods and fish. In particular, I have been using a variety of multivariate statistical techniques to compare European and North American tetrapod faunas in order to elucidate patterns of endemism among tetrapods. Recently I have begun to describe the fish fauna from the Hancock County Locality which includes a diverse fauna of sarcopterygian and acanthodian fishes.