I have a background in evolutionary biology, palaeontology, and vertebrate comparative anatomy. I use the fossil record to determine the past composition of bird faunas, focusing on research questions on the palaeobiology, functional morphology, phylogenetic relationships, and other aspects of the evolutionary history of different avian lineages, especially shorebirds, seabirds, and other aquatic and semi-aquatic birds. My work is currently focused on understanding the links between patterns in avian evolution, ecology, and extinction, and environmental changes driven by climate fluctuations during the pre-Quaternary (before 2.5 million years ago), particularly in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Presently, my primary research is centred on our Marsden-funded project “Avian diversity in the aftermath of the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K/Pg) mass extinction: Zealandia as a hub for the evolution of marine birds”. The aim of this project is to understand the evolutionary processes that drove avian diversification after the Cretaceous/Paleogene mass extinction using the exquisite marine bird fossil record from North Canterbury.