19 Dec 2016

The research group attended the Palaeontological Association’s Annual Meeting in Lyon last week.

12 Dec 2016


5 Dec 2016

Saoirse has been busy examining the microstructures of modern feathers under the light microscope to help her gain an understanding of prehistoric feathers for her thesis.

28 Nov 2016

Here are the members of the fossil colour team along with various undergraduate and postgraduate volunteers talking about insects, dinosaurs and more at the Cork Science Exhibition in Blackpool!


21 Nov 2016

Nidia is in the middle of tumbling experiments! This type of procedure is used to simulate the transportation of sediment and biological matter (gravel and insect cuticle, in this instance) by water in a lake-shore environment.

14 Nov 2016

Our research group was joined by a TV crew in the lab today! They were recording an upcoming documentary on prominent Irish female scientists.

7 Nov 2016

Chris is dissecting a thornback ray for melanin extraction!

1 Nov 2016

Here is our new technical research assistant Giliane Odin looking at the elytra of beetles through a spectrophotometer in order to characterize colours!

24 Oct 2016

Our new postdoc James Jepson studying images of Jurassic fossil insects from Daohugou, China, looking at the different colour patterns preserved on their wings.

17 Oct 2016

Valentina was in the Natural History Museum of London to take samples from reptile and amphibian fossils, and managed to get a photo with a stegosaur on the way!

10 Oct 2016

A great afternoon visit to Cork University Hospital for outreach in the children’s ward!

3 Oct 2016

Last week Maria McNamara and PhD student Nidia Álvarez Armada presented papers at the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America in Denver, Colorado – see links below:


26 Sep 2016

Here is Chris at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto having fun in the fossil vertebrate collections!

23 Sep 2016

“After all this waiting, this is what it must feel like to have a baby” – Nidia said at the moment of taking her samples out after 6 months of decay!

19 Sep 2016

Naomi is doing lots of SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) work this week on her pollen samples!

12 Sep 2016

Chris is looking happy with his recent delivery of Ciona larvae! Ciona is a genus of sea squirt, and the darkened area of the test tube contains 300 of the larvae!

5 Sep 2016

Plenty of chemicals and calculations today in our lab, as Odhrán is currently undertaking enzymatic extraction of melanin experiments.

29 Aug 2016

Time for Valentina to analyze her data! Let’s discover awesome things!

22 Aug 2016

72 feathers later, Saoirse is about to conduct her final experiment to examine what kind of effects simulating preservation might have on modern feathers.


16 Aug 2016

Odhrán (another new intern!) has been busy preparing his decay experiment. It is finally going in!

9 Aug 2016

Our new research intern Amy Muir has been busy working on several taphonomic experiments in the lab – here she is decanting solutions under a nitrogen atmosphere.

2 Aug 2016

Naomi has lots of samples to get through! The murky liquid being used is simulated peat bog water, in order to see its effect(s) on different pollen species over time.

26 Jul 2016

Chris is preparing to dissect and then extract melanin from amphioxus, a basal chordate thought to be similar in appearance to some of our earliest ancestors. Amphioxus only has the pigment melanin in its ‘eye spot’, a light sensing organ near to its mouth.

12 July 2016

After twenty-four hours of waiting, Saoirse finally has removed her feather samples from the furnace. She is very eager to see the results of her first of many experiments.

8 July 2016

Nidia is very excited with the synchrotron data of her Parnassius apollonius!

4 July 2016

One of our undergraduates, Vitor, is preparing resin for the analysis of cephalopod specimens.

28 Jun 2016

Here is our new post doc Chris Rogers helping to set up our new micro welder in the lab.

21 Jun 2016

Maria is hard at work welding gold capsules for maturation experiments.

13 Jun 2016

Valentina is surrounded by new technology!

5 Jun 2016

Here’s Valentina getting to grips with her sample analyses in San Francisco!

23 May 2016

Nidia was presenting during the weekend at Progressive Palaeontology 2016, a conference hosted by Oxford University Natural History Museum.

16 May 2016

Here we are in action loading samples at beamline 11-2 at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource facility in California.


3 May 2016

What’s cooking up in Valentina’s lab? Stay tuned for the next installment!

26 Apr 2016

Yesterday we were at Manchester University running some samples on the ToF-SIMS with our colleague Nick Lockyer. Here you can see Nick loading up the samples. Exciting stuff!

22 Apr 2016

Phew! Maria is just back from the European Geosciences Congress at Vienna, where she presented a poster with colleague Daniel Field of Yale University, titled ‘Maturation experiments reveal bias in the fossil record of feathers’. More interesting results to follow!

Maria McNamara Research Group

Experimental and analytical taphonomy

School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES), University College Cork (UCC), Butler Building, Distillery Fields, North Mall, Cork, T23 TK30, Ireland