“Investigating the evolution of invertebrate trace fossils in marine tetrapod bone.”
PhD project title:
The influence of large vertebrate nekton falls on marine biodiversity and evolution.
I am examining the fossil invertebrate traces associated with Mesozoic marine reptile and Cenozoic whale bone, with an emphasis on the bone-eating worm Osedax. The trace fossils represented in these assemblages represent different ecological roles within the community assemblage and can aid in reconstructing marine environments and food webs.
Osedax in particular is an ecosystem engineer important to the modulation of energy and spatial resources within these ecosystems. By tracing the distribution and origins of this taxon alongside other forms of marine bioerosion in the fossil record, we can gain insight into changing environments and the structure of food webs through deep time.