Emma-Louise Nicholls


Emma-Louise Nicholls

Curatorial Assistant

Grant Museum of Zoology

Rockefeller Building
21 University Street
University College London
London WC1E 6DE

+44 (0)20 3108 2052

e.nicholls@ucl.ac.uk


Biography

Having carefully worked out which degrees offered the greatest amount of palaeontology at the time, Emma-Louise started university life at the University of Birmingham studying geology. Not one to be outdone, she stayed on for the master’s year and left with an MSci rather than a BSc. She specialised in middle Jurassic shark ecology. A fortuitous car accident helped to fund a second, more specialised master’s degree at the University of Bristol, in palaeobiology where she branched out (bad cladistics pun?) to crocodilians, in a study that compared supertrees and supermatrices. Deciding sharks were the way forward, Emma-Louise complete her student life in a Ph.D on fossil sharks from the Cretaceous.


During the above academic studies, Emma-Louise volunteered at nine different museums and three zoological institutions in a variety archival, conservation and curatorial roles. She currently works at the Grant Museum of Zoology in the role of Curatorial Assistant.

At the Grant Museum Emma-Louise primarily focuses on curatorial duties, though is also involved in public engagement activities. As well as one off projects including the design and installation of exhibitions, and the design and facilitation of educational family activity sessions, Emma-Louise works to protect and document the collections, provide access for internal and external researchers and students, provide specimens for museum-based practicals for UCL students, and is heavily involved in social media for the Museum.


Education:

  • Ph.D. Palaeobiology ― University College London, Research: Patterns in the Palaeoecology of Cretaceous Chondrichthyan Faunas 2006 to 2012
  • M.Sc. Palaeobiology ― University of Bristol, Dissertation: Supertrees vs. Supermatrices. Case Study: The Crocodylia, 2005 to 2006
  • M.Sci. Geology (Hons.) ― University of Birmingham, M.Sci. dissertation: Bathonian palaeoecology of Central England. B.Sc. dissertation: Tectonic topiary- The shaping of evolutionary trees by plate tectonics and the origin of African mammals, 2001 to 2005
  • Certificate in Animal Ecology and Conservation ― Zoological Society of London, 2007
  • GNVQ Herpetology Level 2, Proteus Reptile Trust, UK, 2005



Positions:

  • Curatorial Assistant ― Grant Museum of Zoology, 2011 to Present
  • NatSCA ― Blog author and editor, 2014 to Present
  • Scientific Advisor ― www.ARKive.org, 2013 to Present
  • Q&A Website Fish Moderator ― www.askabiologist.org.uk, 2007 to Present
  • Forum Moderator ― The Shark Trust, 2008 to 2012
  • Primate Ethologist  ― Zoological Society of London, 2010 to 2011
  • Primate Geneticist  ― PrIME Genetics Research Lab, University of Cambridge, 2010 to 2011
  • Joint Lecturer and Teaching Assistant for Earth Sciences BSc modules ― University College London and Birkbeck College 2006 to 2009
  • Field Biologist ― Shark Conservation Society, 2008
  • Guest Shark Expert ― Florida Museum of Natural History, 2007 to 2008
  • Curatorial Volunteer ― Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, 2007 to 2008
  • Curatorial Volunteer ― Grant Museum of Zoology, UCL, 2007 to 2008
  • Field Research Volunteer ― Seal Rescue, 2006
  • Curatorial Volunteer ― Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, 2005 to 2006
  • Museum Assistant ― Lapworth Museum of Geology, University of Birmingham, 2002 to 2005
  • Web Publishing Assistant ― Palaeontological Association, 2002 to 2005
  • Remedial Conservator ― Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery, 2003

Research interests

  • Vertebrate evolution
  • Vertebrate taxonomy
  • Communication of science and research to a wide audience
  • Care and maintenance of natural history collections
  • Conservation issues and the balance of human need vs. human intervention, specifically shark and rhino species
  • The use of threatened species in human medicines and delicacies, specifically shark and rhino species

Conference presentations

  • Nicholls, E-L. 2010. Patterns in the palaeoecology of Cretaceous chondrichthyan faunas. 58th Symposium of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy Conference. Oral Presentation
  • Nicholls, E-L. 2008. Fossil Sharks and Their ‘Mid’ Cretaceous Ecosystems. 20th International Congress of Zoology. Poster Presentation
  • Nicholls, E-L. 2008. Ptychodontidae- From whence they came. Evolution and Diversity of Chondrichthyans. Oral Presentation
  • Nicholls, E-L. 2008. Rocking the Boat Over Raising Awareness: UK Aquaria in Shark Conservation. 12th European Elasmobranch Association Conference. Poster Presentation
  • Nicholls, E-L. 2008. Shared Ocean: Shared Motion: the Global Responsibility of Shark Conservation. 12th European Elasmobranch Association Conference. Oral Presentation
  • Nicholls, E-L. 2008. Sharks as Indicators of Trophic Structure within ‘Mid’ Cretaceous Watermasses. Evolution and Diversity of Chondrichthyans Conference. Poster Presentation
  • Nicholls, E-L. 2008. The Role of UK Aquaria in Global Shark Conservation. Shark Biology and Conservation Conference, Zoological Society of London. Poster presentation
  • Nicholls, E-L. and Smith, M. P. 2008. Sharks Indicate a Lagoonal Environment for Dinosaur Remains. 56th Symposium of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy Conference. Oral Presentation
  • Nicholls, E-L. and Underwood, C. J. 2008. Blood, Sweat and Scars for Life- The Complications of Comparative Shark Material. 17th Symposium of Palaeontological Preparation and Conservation Conference. Oral Presentation
  • Nicholls, E-L. and Ward, D. J. 2008. Elucidating the Systematic Affinities of Palaeocarcharias. 56th Symposium of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy Conference. Poster Presentation
  • Nicholls, E-L. and Ward, D. J. 2008. The Case of the Lamnid-Orectolobe. Where does Palaeocarcharias belong? 20th International Congress of Zoology. Oral Presentation
  • Nicholls, E-L. 2007. Emergency remedial conservation of homeless mammoth material. 16th Symposium of Palaeontological Preparation and Conservation. Oral presentation
  • Nicholls, E-L. 2007. How the ‘mid’ Cretaceous transgressive episode affected elasmobranch palaeobiogeography. First International Palaeobiogeography Symposium. Oral presentation
  • Nicholls, E-L. 2007. Modeling ‘pacing’ in captive Sand Tiger sharks. 11th Annual European Elasmobranch Conference. Poster presentation
  • Nicholls, E-L. 2007. Sharks as indicators of ‘mid’ Cretaceous ecology. 11th Annual European Elasmobranch Conference. Oral presentation
  • Nicholls, E-L. 2007. Sharks as indicators of trophic structure within ‘mid’ Cretaceous watermasses. 55th Symposium of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy. Oral presentation
  • Nicholls, E-L. 2007. Systematic affinities and morphology of a poorly known chondrichthyan from the Upper Cretaceous. 8th International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology. Oral presentation
  • Nicholls, E-L. 2007. Using Cretaceous shark ecology as a model for the effects of climate change. Set for BRITAIN National Science and Engineering Award. Poster presentation
  • Nicholls, E-L., Pisani, D. and Benton, M. J. 2006. Testing the phylogeny of extant and fossil Crocodylia. Progressive Palaeontology Conference. Oral presentation
  • Nicholls, E-L., Pisani, D. and Benton, M. J. 2006. Testing the phylogeny of extant and fossil Crocodylia. 54thSymposium of Vertebrate Palaeontology & Comparative Anatomy. Poster presentation
  • Nicholls, E-L. and Smith, M. P. 2006. The palaeoecology of Hornsleasow, based on microfauna and flora. Progressive Palaeontology Conference. Poster presentation
  • Orcutt, J. and Nicholls E-L. 2006. Collecting biases and the completeness of the dinosaur fossil record. Progressive Palaeontology Conference. Oral presentation
  • Nicholls, E-L. 2006. Using the Palaeobiogeography of early placentals to test the hypothesis of ‘Afrotheria’. Palaeogeography and Palaeobiogeography: Biodiversity in Space and Time Conference. Poster presentation

Publications

  • Nicholls, E-L. 2008. The Ancestry Tale of Sharks. Shark Focus, Magazine of the Shark Trust.
  • Nicholls, E-L. 2008. When is a Shark a Ray? Shark Focus, Magazine of the Shark Trust.

Honours and Awards

  • Nominated for the House of Commons Westminster Medal ― Part of ‘SET for BRITAIN’ held at the Houses of Parliament, 2007
  • Palaeontological Association Prize ―Palaeontological Association, 2004
  • Lapworth Museum of Geology Scholarship (Funded a month long archival project) ― The Lapworth Museum of Geology, 2003
  • Lapworth Museum of Geology Scholarship (Funded a month long archival project) ― The Lapworth Museum of Geology, 2002

Memberships

  • British Arachnological Society
  • Captive Animal Protection Society
  • Gorilla Organisation
  • International Rhino Foundation
  • Natural History Museum, London
  • Palaeontological Association
  • Save the Rhino
  • Shark Trust, The
  • Society of Vertebrate Palaeontology
  • Zoological Society of London