Emma Dunne

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

My research is aimed at testing the patterns of terrestrial tetrapod diversification during the Carboniferous to the Jurassic and assessing their possible drivers. Currently there is widespread disagreement about major patterns of diversity change during this time stemming from the debate on the significance of spatial and temporal sampling biases. I use a diverse range of statistical analyses, including rigorous sampling standardisation, to address a number of key questions surrounding tetrapod diversity patterns including: how ecosystems responded in the aftermath of identified extinction events; are changes in diversity correlated with major shifts in global climatic conditions; how sampling of the early tetrapod fossil record varies in time and space, and to what extent these biases may limit the identification of genuine diversity patterns.


  • MSc Taxonomy and Biodiversity – Imperial College London (2015)
  • BA(Mod.) Natural Sciences (Zoology) – Trinity College Dublin (2014)


Previously, I studied Natural Sciences at Trinity College Dublin, where I specialised in Zoology during my final years. I then moved on to Imperial College London to complete my Masters in Taxonomy and Biodiversity, which was based primarily at the Natural History Museum. There, I began my transition from biological sciences to palaeontology by conducting my research project on fossil pollen diversity using newly digitised data from the John Williams Index of Palaeopalynology.

Doctoral research

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


Research interests

Macroevolution, biodiversity, vertebrate palaeontology, systematics, taxonomy, palaeoecology

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.