Aaron O'dea
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Potential co-supervisors
Haris Lessios, Mark Torchin, Rachel Collin, Andrew Altieri, Richard Cooke
Aaron O'Dea

The fossil record provides a unique opportunity to travel in time to observe past ecological and evolutionary events. Research in my group focusses on two themes. First, with fossils from the last 20 million years from across the tropics we explore how environmental and ecological change has driven the formation and extinction of species and if certain traits of organisms promote speciation or guard against extinction. Second, we use the more recent fossil record of the last few thousand years to reveal how Caribbean coastal ecosystems changed as humans began to increasingly interact with the seas. Determining the long-term causes of degradation of Caribbean ecosystems can assist restoration efforts. Both themes employ a broad toolkit of approaches in the laboratory and field that include traditional paleontology, core-analysis, quantitative ecology, morphometrics, taxonomy, stable isotope analysis and molecular genetics.

Suggested Reading
  • O'Dea A & Jackson JBC. 2009. Environmental change drove macroevolution in cupuladriid bryozoans. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 276: 3629-3634. doi:10.1098/rspb.2009.0844

  • Renema W, Bellwood D, Braga JC, Bromfield K, Hall R, Johnson KG, Lunt P, Meyer CP, McMonagle L, Morley RJ, O'Dea A, Todd JA, Wesselingh FP, Wilson MEJ, Pandolfi, JM. 2008. Hopping Hotspots: global shifts in marine biodiversity. Science 321: 654-657. doi:10.1126/science.1155674

  • O'Dea A, Jackson JBC, Fortunato H, Smith T, D'Croz L, Johnson KG & Todd J. 2007. From the cover: Environmental change preceded Caribbean mass extinction by 2 million years. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104: 5501-5506. doi:10.1073/pnas.0610947104