Department of Biology & Biochemistry

Professor of Evolutionary Palaeobiology

4 South 1.06


Tel: +44 (0) 1225 383504 


Professor Matthew Wills


Current Research

Members of my group are variouslly using the fossil record to answer questions about large scale, ‘macroevolutionary’ processes. Between us, we are interested in how fossils can be useful in building phylogenies, how groups diversify though ‘design space’, and how shifts in developmental programs can underpin the largest, macroevolutionary changes.

Projects being undertaken by current members of my lab include:

  • The phylogeny of Eumalacostraca using molecules, morphology and fossils
  • Testing macroevolutionary trends, particularly patterns of disparity through time
  • The congruence of phylogeny and stratigraphy
  • The quality of phylogentic data
  • How ‘shaky’ are phylogenetic trees including fossils?
  • Fossilisation filters and the Tree of Life
  • Building a supertree of arthropods
  • Ontogenetic disparity and the evolution of molluscs


To improve our understanding of some of the deepest branches in animal evolution, and to evaluate the contribution that fossil make to resolving these.

To test the validity of putative macroevolutionary trends (e.g., early high morphological disparity and increasing complexity).


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