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Dr. Richard Butler joins the GeoBio-Center as a DFG Emmy Noether Junior Research Group Leader

20.09.2011

Dr. Richard Butler joins the GeoBio-Center from September 2011 for five years as a DFG Emmy Noether Junior Research Group Leader. He gained his Ph.D in 2007 from the University of Cambridge and has since worked as a researcher at the Natural History Museum (London) and the Bayerische Staatssammlung für Paläontologie und Geologie. His research team will focus on the early evolutionary radiation and rise to ecological dominance during the Triassic (250–200 million years ago) of Archosauromorpha, a major group of vertebrates that include birds, crocodiles, dinosaurs and pterosaurs. They will also examine the impact of the major mass extinctions at the Permian/Triassic and Triassic/Jurassic boundaries in driving this radiation. The research team will initially consist of Dr. Butler and two Ph.D students, and will use cutting edge morphological and analytical approaches, such as microCT scanning and web-based morphological databases, to address outstanding taxonomic and phylogenetic questions. Moreover, the team will use quantitative techniques to analyse and model macroevolutionary and biogeographical patterns, including changes in taxonomic and morphological diversity and body size evolution. This research program will involve collaborations with researchers in Europe, the USA, South America, China and Russia, and will be linked with an ongoing field program co-led by Dr. Butler in the Triassic of Portugal.