- MGeol (University of Leeds)
- PhD / DPhil (University of Bristol)
I got into science via Palaeontology, because I was always interested in how and why evolution changes the shapes of animals over time. I studied Geology as an undergraduate, but during my PhD on biomechanical finite element validation, I realised that palaeontology could benefit from more data about modern animals, and started to drift towards the Biological Sciences; it’s also much easier to study living dinosaurs (birds) than it is to study extinct ones! I joined the University of Hull as a lecturer in Zoology in 2019, albeit one with a disproportionately high number of rocks in their office.
Innovation and elaboration on the avian tree of life
Guillerme, T., Bright, J. A., Cooney, C. R., Hughes, E. C., Varley, Z. K., Cooper, N., …Thomas, G. H. (2023). Innovation and elaboration on the avian tree of life. Science Advances, 9(43), Article eadg1641. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.adg1641
Three-dimensional visualization of predatory gastropod feeding teeth with synchrotron scanning
Herbert, G. S., Hill, S. A., Pio, M. J., Carney, R., Carlson, A., Newham, E., & Bright, J. A. (2023). Three-dimensional visualization of predatory gastropod feeding teeth with synchrotron scanning. Journal of morphology, 284(10), Article e21633. https://doi.org/10.1002/jmor.21633
Quantitative investigation of pengornithid enantiornithine diet reveals macrocarnivorous ecology evolved in birds by Early Cretaceous
Miller, C. V., Pittman, M., Wang, X., Zheng, X., & Bright, J. A. (2023). Quantitative investigation of pengornithid enantiornithine diet reveals macrocarnivorous ecology evolved in birds by Early Cretaceous. iScience, 26(3), Article 106211. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2023.106211
Is shape in the eye of the beholder? Assessing landmarking error in geometric morphometric analyses on live fish
Moccetti, P., Rodger, J. R., Bolland, J. D., Kaiser-Wilks, P., Smith, R., Nunn, A. D., …Joyce, D. A. (2023). Is shape in the eye of the beholder? Assessing landmarking error in geometric morphometric analyses on live fish. PeerJ, 11, Article e15545. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.15545
Diet of Mesozoic toothed birds (Longipterygidae) inferred from quantitative analysis of extant avian diet proxies
Miller, C., Pittman, M., Wang, X., Zheng, X., & Bright, J. A. (2022). Diet of Mesozoic toothed birds (Longipterygidae) inferred from quantitative analysis of extant avian diet proxies. BMC biology, 20(1), Article 101. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12915-022-01294-3
I am broadly interested in the relationship between skeletal form and function throughout evolution, and the extent to which form can be used to predict function (or not…) in the feeding structures of extant and extinct animals. I am also interested in how the skeleton is constrained by non-functional factors, like evolutionary or developmental history. I look at these questions using birds as a study group, but because I’m probably more interested in the overarching themes than I am in the birds themselves (gasp!), I often find myself tinkering around in other animal groups where we could use the same computational methods to investigate a really interesting skeletal structure or evolutionary question. In particular, I use techniques like geometric morphometrics and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to try to understand form and function, respectively. An important aspect of this is ground-truthing finite element models with experimental bone strain and material properties data. For this, I team up with the Department of Engineering to conduct validation studies.
Understanding functional performance in bird skulls: advanced computational modelling to investigate cranial biomechanics and kinesis
BBSRC Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Counc
1 September 2023
I would happily work with PhD students interested in bird functional or morphological evolution, and/or finite element validation, and am currently supervising students working on bird cranial kinesis (Amber Wagstaffe) and the dietary ecology of fossil birds (Case Miller – HKU). I do not currently have funding for new projects, but would be keen to talk to prospective students about ways to work together to get funding for project ideas that they have.