Dr Emma Dunne BA, MSc, PhD

Dr Emma Dunne

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Postdoctoral Researcher

Contact details

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Emma is a palaeobiologist who explores how various environmental, physical, anthropogenic, and historical factors drive patterns of deep-time biodiversity. She uses a range of statistical approaches, phylogenetic comparative methods, and scientometric tools, alongside fossil occurrence databases and general circulation models, to investigate topics such as: (1) the influence of climate on dinosaur evolution; (2) the impact of temporal and spatial sampling biases on terrestrial vertebrate biodiversity through deep time; and (3) the legacy of colonialism in palaeontological research.


  • PhD in Analytical Palaeobiology (University of Birmingham, 2019)
  • MSc Taxonomy & Biodiversity (Imperial College London, 2015)
  • BA(Mod.) Natural Sciences with specialism in Zoology (Trinity College Dublin, 2014)


Emma joined the University of Birmingham as a postdoctoral researcher, supported by the Leverhulme Trust in 2020. She holds a PhD in analytical palaeobiology, also from the University of Birmingham, where her doctoral work focused on the patterns and drivers of terrestrial tetrapod diversity and biogeography during the Late Paleozoic–early Mesozoic. Previously, she completed a MSc in taxonomy and biodiversity at Imperial College London and the Natural History Museum, London, and a BA in Natural Sciences, where she specialised in Zoology, at Trinity College Dublin.

Doctoral research

PhD title
Quantifying patterns of diversity during the rise of tetrapods
 Dr Richard Butler (Birmingham) and Dr Roger Benson (Oxford)


Research interests

-       Palaeobiology and macroevolution

-       Vertebrate palaeontology

-       Fossil record biases

-       Scientific colonialism and parachute science

-       Ethics, criminology and international law in palaeontology

-       Scientometrics

Other activities

Alongside my research I enjoy working at museums and am currently part of the curatorial team at the university’s Lapworth Museum of Geology. Previously I have worked with both zoological and fossil collections at Trinity College’s Zoological Museum, National Museum of Ireland, Dublin Zoo, and the Natural History Museum in London.

I am also the Doctoral Researcher Representative for the Geosciences Group.