The Palaeobiology research theme at Birmingham spans an extraordinary range of biological, temporal and spatial scales, and represents one of the largest clusters of palaeobiologists in the UK.

Our research theme includes world-leading palaeobiologists with expertise stretching from single-celled algae to the largest vertebrates to have walked the Earth, as well as the plants they ate. Researchers have made fundamental contributions to understanding the evolution and diversity of life on Earth, such as the radiation of the earliest fish, the origins of terrestrial vegetation, the diversity and palaeobiology of dinosaurs, the impacts of mass extinctions, and the long-term evolution of marine phytoplankton. We have strong synergies with the palaeoclimate research theme within the Geosystems Research Group, allowing us to explore the complex inter-relationships between the Earth’s biosphere, climate and environment.

There are four key areas of research within the Palaeobiology theme:

Our staff and students

Academic Staff

Honorary staff

Postdoctoral researchers

PhD students and research assistants


Our research is funded through a diverse range of sources, including NERC, ERC, Marie Curie Actions, Leverhulme Trust, Royal Society and the Palaeontological Association. We actively encourage external collaborations, as well as welcoming and supporting fellowship applications. In recent years we have hosted Royal Society, NERC, Leverhulme Trust and Royal Commission of 1851 Fellows. For further information please contact any relevant member of academic staff and see opportunities to get involved with the Geosystems community.

Public engagement

Public engagement represents a significant component of our work. The Palaeobiology group has very strong links to the Lapworth Museum of Geology, and played a key role in developing the new Museum exhibitions. We use the Museum’s temporary exhibition space to showcase our research. We frequently deliver public talks, events and educational sessions, in the Museum and further afield – please contact any member of academic staff if you are interested in having us come to talk to your group about our research.

Related courses

We offer a bespoke Palaeontology and Geology BSc/MSci programme as well as the only taught postgraduate programme in micropalaeontology in the UK - the MSc in Applied and Petroleum Micropalaeontology

Research-led teaching is a core part of our ethos, and we have an outstanding track record of helping our undergraduate and Masters students publish their research projects, present their work at conferences, and obtain funded PhD positions. 

The group includes a large, diverse and vibrant community of highly talented and motivated doctoral researchers, working on a broad range of field-, lab- and desk-based PhD projects. PhD opportunities are available annually through the CENTA doctoral training programme, and may also be advertised on an ad hoc basis as funding allows. We are always keen to talk to potential students about opportunities. We have an excellent track record of training our doctoral researchers for careers in palaeobiology, in museum, university and international research environments.


Investigating Jurassic Ocean Anoxia

In September 2018, Dr Ian B´╗┐oomer attended a UNESCO-sponsored workshop on the Early Jurassic Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event (T-OAE, recently designated the "Jenkyns Event").

Geosystems Early Career Researchers attend UK Scientific Ocean Drilling Workshop and win best proposal

From the 24-26th September four early career researchers (ECRs) from the Geosystems group attended the UK IODP Workshop on Scientific Ocean Drilling; Gael Lymer, Marcelo De Lira Mota, Amy Jones and Juan Pablo Castaneda Venegas.

Birmingham researchers travel to N. Ireland to seek answers on how climate changed during one of the big five mass extinctions

In September 2018, Dr's Sarah Greene and Ian Boomer travelled to the core store of the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI) in Belfast.
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