BS, Biology | McDaniel College, 2009
I am interested in comprehensive, morphology-based systematic studies. In particular my research focuses on the morphology, diversity, systematics, and biogeography of Mesozoic archosauromorphs. With well-resolved, well-supported phylogenies of fossil vertebrates, one can study evolutionary patterns and rates in deep time.;
One of my current projects include a large-scale study of crocodylomorph palatal evolution. The development of an extensive secondary palate throughout crocodile evolution has been recognized since the 1870s, and subsequent fossil discoveries have revealed a complicated pattern of character acquisition and homoplasy.
I am currently studying the cranial osteology and ontogeny of goniopholidid mesoeucrocodylians, a widespread clade of platyrostral crocodyliforms common in the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. The secondary palates in certain goniopholidids are incomplete, a striking and primitive-looking condition for such derived crocodile-line archosaurs.
Additionally, I am examining the morphology of many basal archosauromorph taxa from the Triassic Period. The systematics of such taxa are poorly resolved and in a constant state of flux. I intend to better resolve the interrelationships of such primitive reptiles. Greater resolution of their relationships will allow a better understanding of reptile radiations at the time of and subsequent to the Permo-Triassic extinction event, the most severe extinction in vertebrate history.
For the past four years I've worked at the Hayden Quarry at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico. This significant site represents a mid-Norian exposure of the Chinle Formation, and it has yielded a diversity of basal archosauriform, pseudosuchian, and dinosauromorph taxa.