16 Dec 2019

Daniel is having a wonderful time at Palass 2019 – here is a photo of his poster presentation and one of him and Ninon getting a selfie with some dinosaurs!

9 Dec 2019

Here’s a crinoid artfully reconstructed by pupils from Ballyvongane N.S. on one of our outreach visits!

2 Dec 2019

Naomi is keeping all of the paperwork for the new microbeam lab in check!

24 Nov 2019

Ninon recently had the opportunity to visit Cork schools with Chris and Maria! She was happy to help pupils to learn more about Irish fossils, and to work out the problems faced by palaeontologists when finding fossilized organisms.

18 Nov 2019

As part of the Palaeogroup’s new fossil CSI public engagement project, here’s Luke speaking to local children at Mayfield Library in Cork about how UV light and X-rays can be used to reveal the hidden chemical fingerprints of fossilized soft tissues.

11 Nov 2019

Crinoid puppet made with fleece fabric and feathers for the new SFI outreach project ‘Fossil Crime Scene’, handmade by Fleur!

4 Nov 2019

Chris is preparing materials for the rollout of the fossil CSI public engagement project into local schools!

29 Oct 2019

Valentina organised this group photo of Maria, Tiffany and herself during their trip to Paris for the advance synchrotron imaging workshop!

21 Oct 2019

Tiffany just returned from a workshop on the use of synchrotron based techniques on cultural heritage and ancient materials at the SOLEIL light source in Paris, France. It was ‘brilliant’!

14 Oct 2019

Yesterday was the premiere of the SFI Discover programme project “Ireland’s Fossil Heritage – unlocking our palaeontological heritage”. Daniel, Ninon, Chris and Luke presented the exhibition at Munster Science Fair!

7 Oct 2019

A selection of coprolites ready for our upcoming public outreach events!

30 Sep 2019

Happy palaeos at SVPCA 2019 on the Isle of Wight, where Tiffany, Valentina and Maria presented and where Valentina won best talk!

23 Sep 2019

The team out in force at Culture Night 2019 (last Friday) at the School of BEES’ annual interactive event!

16 Sep 2019

This week Luke has started preparing new fossil beetle scales for electron microscopy. The fossils have been stored in glycerin and so need to be washed in a series of ethanol baths before experiments can begin.

9 Sep 2019

Ninon, Fleur and Dr Paddy Orr (UCD) have been leading experiments this summer at the Diamond synchrotron in Oxford for Ninon’s research project. They have been scanning minute fragments of skin from 40 Ma old frogs and snakes for high resolution tomography and ran ~100 different scans.

2 Sep 2019

Here is Fleur preparing play dough for a visit from RTÉ to film a documentary! The play dough was modeled and spread out into layers and put at the bottom of a plastic bucket. Children could then kids apply different pressures on on the play dough with dinosaur-shaped toys and feet to make their own dinosaur footprints!

26 Aug 2019

Chris and a very cute contingent of helpers for our outreach events!

19 Aug 2019

Valentina is ready to present her work at the SVPCA conference this September!

12 Aug 2019

Thomas is currently analysing synchrotron data investigating the chemistry of fossil insects.

6 Aug 2019

Aude recently gave an oral presentation, “Taphonomy of Middle Jurassic dinosaur bone beds (Kulinda, Russia)” at the meeting of the EAVP in Belgium.

29 Jul 2019

Here is Tiffany preparing to sample a 55 million year old fossil feather from Denmark for analysis at the synchrotron.

22 Jul 2019

Here are some lower Cretaceous critters from the Crato Formation in Brazil!

15 Jul 2019

James and research assistant Lisa recently visited Prof. Dong Ren’s lab at the Capital Normal University Beijing, China, to study and photograph the colour patterns on the wings of Jurassic insects.

8 Jul 2019

Daniel and Aude attended the 17th meeting of the EAVP (European Association of Vertebrate Palaeontologists) held at the Royal Belgian Museum of Natural Sciences in Brussels last week. This museum is famous for exhibiting eight complete Iguanodon skeletons in a glass cage. These herbivorous dinosaurs lived in what is now the Mons region (western Belgium) during the Early Cretaceous. Daniel presented his poster entitled ” Taphonomy of anurans from the Eocene Geiseltal Konservat-Lagerstätte (Germany)” – see photo below!

1 Jul 2019

Preparing fossils for the journey into the hutch at SSRL to catch some X-rays!

24 Jun 2019

Ninon joined the team in April, for a duration of two years. She is working on the integument of phosphatised Eocene amphibians and reptiles from France. She has been studying the fossils of Quercy frogs, salamander and snakes “mummies” at the Poitiers CT-scan to look at some of their scales and skin inner preservation. Some of the fossils look like they might be still alive although they are more than 30 million years old, with eyes preserved in original direction! After selecting the most promising skin areas, Ninon and Maria went to Paris to sample them for upcoming analyses of synchrotron microtomography early July.


17 Jun 2019

As part of the Pint of Science festival, where scientists present their research to the general public in cities around the globe, Luke delivered a talk highlighting the potential of the light-scattering nanostructures found in extant insects, cephalopods and even fruits to inspire novel optical technologies, examples of which include non-pigmented, chemical free cosmetics, colour-changing textile sensors, and octopus-inspired adaptive camouflage!

11 Jun 2019

Some of the research group went to the JEOL UK headquarters in Hertfordshire for a workshop as an introduction to SEM and related analytical techniques.

4 Jun 2019

The School of BEES Research Day was held last week. Here are some of our group presenting their work!

27 May 2019

Valentina was in Benvento, Italy last week where the Italian Palaeontological Society held their annual conference. She presented her work via an oral presentation. “Ciro” the famous dinosaur (Scipionyx samniticus) was the special guest of the conference! It was found together with plenty of exceptionally preserved vertebrates in Pietra Roja. Today the site is one Italy’s most famous fossil Lagerstätten.


22 May 2019

Thomas and Maria took part in this year’s highly successful Pint of Science event in Cork city – bringing science to the people over a pint.

13 May 2019

Tiffany recently visited Hook Head Lighthouse to photograph fossils for our new outreach program. To the right is a lovely coral she found!

7 May 2019

Chris is dissecting the eyes from a sturgeon!

29 Apr 2019

Aude is making some cuttings on the bark of a conifer to get some resin samples for analysis!

24 Apr 2019

Daniel took the opportunity during our Palaeo-Discussion Group meeting to tell us all about his previous work and his current PhD!

15 Apr 2019

James recently attended the Care and Conservation of Insect Collections course at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

8 Apr 2019

Spotted on the second year undergrad fieldtrip to Dingle – Pseudorhizocretes from Wine Strand.

1 Apr 2019

The group is after getting a new 3D printer for outreach materials!


25 Mar 2019

Luke spent this week at the Swiss Light Source (SLS) at the Paul Scherrer Institute. The X12SA beamline at SLS specialises in several techniques including ptychographic nanotomography which Luke is using to create detailed 3D images of fossilised beetle scales. This technique is very similar to CT scanning used by hospitals to image patients – X-ray images are taken from many different angles surrounding the beetle scales and the cross-sectional ‘slices’ through the scale are reconstructed to create a 3D image. The setup at SLS is optimised to create scans with nanometre-scale resolution which will elucidate the light scattering structures within Luke’s samples.

18 Mar 2019

Members of palaeogroup went to visit one of our laboratory equipment suppliers last week at Perkin-Elmer in London, as part of the 223rd IRDG (Infrared & Raman Discussion Group). Maria, Fleur and Tiffany were also offered the opportunity to visit the demonstration laboratory which houses numerous high-tech medical and laboratory equipment and still proudly displays one of their first manufactured Infrared Spectrophotometers: ”the Infracord” (see below)!

11 Mar 2019

Chris is helping Tiffany work through some XAS data!

6 Mar 2017

Congratulations to Tiffany who won the prize for Young Researcher Best Oral Presentation at the Irish Geological Research Meeting last weekend!

Also, Maria, Tiffany and Valentina were chosen to feature in UCC’s campaign to promote Women in Science!

25 Feb 2019

Thomas graduated and received his PhD last month! He is pictured here with his supervisor Prof. Sarah Gabbott.

18 Feb 2019

Paulina is currently doing preliminary studies of Glen River Park in Cork!

11 Feb 2019

Aude travelled to France last month to investigate a specimen collection of fossilised tree resin (amber). She will study the structure and composition of their organic inclusions. She is pictured below examining some of this Burmese amber, containing a section of feather, which happens to be 100 million years old!

4 Feb 2019

Tiffany is beavering away in the lab! This week she is tracking the degradation of feather keratin using immunohistochemistry.

28 Jan 2019

Maria and Daniel were using our brand new SEM during the week!

21 Jan 2019

Last week James and Chris taught the undergraduates about phylogenetics using a variety of different biscuits!

14 Jan 2019

Daniel, along with other geology students from BEES, represented the UCC stand at the BT Young Scientist exhibition last week!

7 Jan 2019

New screens and a preliminary data analysis for the New Year using lots of colours and stats at SSRL!

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