Graduate Student Bios
Title: PhD Student, Integrated Biosciences
Office: ASEC B202
My research interests include biological interactions in the fossil record, invertebrate palaeontology, and systematics. I am currently studying the evolution of mating systems over geologic time using enigmatic small branchiopod crustaceans called clam shrimp. These freshwater crustaceans are distributed globally and are found in the fossil record on every continent, the oldest of which is dated to the Late Devonian some 350 million years old. In an integrated palaeontological and biological approach I aim to understand the evolution of the several different mating systems that are known in living clam shrimp. I employ contemporary morphometric techniques to quantify differences in carapace shape between the different sexes in order to diagnose sex systems in fossil populations and also to shed some light on taxonomic affiliations of fossil species. I also intend to integrate molecular data with fossil data to elucidate divergence times between species in to produce estimates of how long such shifts in sex system take. Finally, I aim to characterize the interplay between sex system and environment through fieldwork by comparing the occurrence of different clam shrimp fauna and sex systems in assemblages representing different palaeonvironmental settings. I am also designing taphonomic experiments involving desiccation and hydrologic erosion in order to elucidate sources of bias and differential preservation in the fossil record of clam shrimp. The vagaries of preservation present a source of error that is important to account for in morphological studies.
2007 - Msc (DIC) Advanced Methods in Taxonomy and Biodiversity, Imperial College London (UK) 2005 - BSc (Hons) Biology, University of Northampton (UK)
Astrop, T. in press, Phylogeny and Evolution of Mecochiridae (Decapoda: Reptantia: Glypheoidea): an Integrated Morphometric and Cladistic Approach, Journal of Crustacean Biology