14 Dec 2020

Fabulous Silurian chondrites in an offshore sequence near Clogher Strand, Dingle. Maria came across these during fieldwork at the weekend.

7 Dec 2020

Daniel recently received an EAVP Research Grant worth €1000! His project (“An exceptional middle to late Permian tetrapod track fauna of Pangean Euramerica (Hornburg Formation, Germany)”) will involve him leading an excavation in cooperation with local museums, universities and the regional authorities in central Germany in summer of 2021. The photos show the preliminary excavation site from 2013 (Daniel’s MSc thesis) not far from the planned excavation site and some trace fossils (tetrapod tracks, arthropod tracks, jellyfish imprints) from the local area. Congratulations Daniel!

30 Nov 2020

In the past weeks, Aude has been working on her decay and maturation experiments. She collected the decayed and / or matured samples, took photos and then prepared the samples for electron microscopy. The photo on the left shows a sample of decayed and matured lizard skin in tree resin and the one on the right shows a tiny piece of decayed lizard skin embedded in artificial resin in silicone moulds for transmission electron microscopy. Aude will now have to trim and section all the samples before imaging them.

23 Nov 2020

Naomi has all her meetings with Maria now that most people are working from home – this one was a good opportunity to congratulate Maria on being recently promoted to Professor!!

16 Nov 2020

Hannah has collected more soil samples from parks around Cork city, come rain or shine, with the auger (pictured below). The colour differences between the soil samples are obvious, but for more detailed analysis she is continuing to conduct lab experiments. While sieving her soil samples she also found some plastic fragments.

9 Nov 2020

Ninon started her experimental work on the decay and mineralization of vertebrate skins. For this, she is using three species of frogs that she is dissecting on the belly side. The skin fragments are then placed in jars with water enriched with sediments and bacterial loads. She then samples each skin fragment every 10 days to analyse the structures preserved within those skins using histological and TEM thin sections.

2 Nov 2020

Shengyu took some photos when she joined Palaeo Discussion Group last week outside our SEM lab!

26 Oct 2020

Tiffany’s back in full swing in the lab – resin embedding samples, preparing glass knives and cutting ultrathin sections, oh my!

20 Oct 2020

Chris and Maria just published a new paper in Palaeontologyhttps://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/pala.12506.

12 Oct 2020

Daniel and Maria recently completed two days of teaching and demonstrating in the field with 3rd year students in Dingle last week. They saw beautiful rocks as part of the stunning landscape along the cliffs of Inch Beach, Wine Strand and Clogher Strand. The students learned in which environment the rocks were formed hundreds of millions of years ago and how to map those rocks. The weather was quite sunny without any rain, but the Atlantic Sea was wild!

Daniel also noted that his favourite rock of the trip was a very pretty welded tuff; an igneous rock formed by the compaction and cementation of volcanic ash or dust. It outcrops not far from Ferriter’s Cove.

5 Oct 2020

Last week Aude (and Ninon too!) went to The Gearagh in County Cork to collect sediment and water that she will soon use for experiments. The Gearagh, also called the Wooden River, is a nature reserve displaying hundreds of stumps from ancient trees, today submerged by the River Lee. Aude will use sediment and water from that beautiful place to recreate natural conditions for the decay of vertebrate soft tissues. The same week, Aude also went to the lab to prepare amber samples for imaging and molecular analyses. She embedded the samples in resin to facilitate their analysis.

28 Sep 2020

Fleur recently updated the lab’s inventory. Lots of organisation!

21 Sep 2020

Hannah has started collecting her soil samples in the field using an auger. She then analysed her samples in the lab for soil pH (pictured below), bulk density, Loss-on-ignition and for any traces of heavy metals using the handheld XRF. Exciting times!

14 Sep 2020

A summer day spent in the beautiful and romantic city of Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet, in the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale for Valentina to take some samples of the famous Mene rhombea, a 50 million-year-old fish preserving traces of skin, eyespot and (hopefully) internal organs.

7 Sep 2020

Ninon is in Ireland after spending the last few months in France and remembered she could use dead woodlice from her place to assist with her studies on some of the Devonian Irish fossils she is working on! Back in the lab soon!

31 Aug 2020

Tiffany found some lovely fossil corals while camping in Mayo (pictured left, with her partner doing all the labour in the background) and hiking in the Burren (pictured right, with her titchy feet for scale).

24 Aug 2020

First day back in the lab for Shengyu!

17 Aug 2020

Not having much access to our office and lab does not mean that we can’t fossil-hunt in Cork City! Here are some that Naomi found!

10 Aug 2020

A first for Maria – a plenary lecture via Zoom for the recent Microscopy and Microanalysis virtual meeting (originally planned for Milwaukee, Illinois).

4 Aug 2020

Back from holidays: Daniel is catching up with the Geiseltal frogs!

27 Jul 2020

Chris using SMAK to look at XRF data from the synchrotron.

20 Jul 2020

Continuing on with the trend of showing our home office spaces, Naomi is back to work this week after a few days off and is catching up on emails, orders, invoices… The usual suspects!

13 Jul 2020

Hannah is working on her first PhD publication and is busy reviewing literature on heavy metals in urban soils.

6 July 2020

Before lockdown, Ninon got trapped out of Ireland (closing of borders) while she was visiting collaborators in Switzerland to study a Devonian Irish fossil arthropod. She had to reach her family in France, where she has been now for 4 months.

She introduced Oxyuropoda to its supposed modern cousins – woodlice – that she found during her gardening. The meeting went along pretty well, despite a little disappointment on the side of Oxyuropoda finding out about the reality of its terrestrial grandchildrens’ size… (!) In the meantime Ninon’s paper-writing is progressing and she’ll finally be back to Cork in August.

29 Jun 2020

When she’s not writing up during lockdown, Tiffany has been finding more feathers from birds of prey than usual on her morning jogs!

23 Jun 2020

Maria was featured on the iCRAGorama podcast today!

22 Jun 2020

Dr Valentina Rossi successfully defended her PhD thesis last week. Big congratulations to Dr Rossi on her great achievements!

15 Jun 2020

Shengyu’s insect specimens for her experiments!

8 Jun 2020

Fleur is working from home and setting up a lab space to work on her feather samples!

2 Jun 2020

Grant writing lockdown heatwave-style!

25 May 2020

Chris is working on the revisions for his next paper.

19 May 2020

Daniel has just been awarded Postgraduate Research Grant by the International Association of Sedimentologists (IAS) for a project entitled “Sedimentological controls on the taphonomy of the Eocene Geiseltal Konservat-Lagerstätte, Germany”.

Well done Daniel!

15 May 2020

Valentina has just been awarded a grant (Borsa di studio SPI 2020) from the Società Paleontologica Italiana! She will be studying the fossil Mene rhombea from “La Pesciara” Bolca Biota in Italy.

Well done Valentina!

4 May 2020

Virtual PDG time!

27 Apr 2020

Valentina is working on digitising the sedimentary log in Illustrator from the first locality (Jianchengou, China) during her fieldwork in 2018.

9 Mar 2020

Maria, Naomi and Fleur attended the Irish Laboratory Awards 2020 in Dublin last week! Maria had a nomination for “Best Research Laboratory” and Naomi was a short-listed nominee for “Best Laboratory Staff Member”. Unfortunately we didn’t win this year but we still had a great night at the awards ceremony!


2 Mar 2020

Hannah and Daniel were at the IGRM in Athlone last week – here’s what they had to say!

H: Hannah joined the team in January 2020. She presented her PhD research plan and proposed methods at the 63rd Irish Geological Research Meeting in Athlone this weekend with her poster entitled “The impact of organic matter on heavy metal bioavailability: experimental and field-based approaches”.

D: It was Daniel’s first IGRM. He gave a talk about the skeletal taphonomy of fossil anurans from the Geiseltal Collection (Germany) which won a Highly Commended award! The 63rd IGRM was a great meeting of not-only Irish scientists spanning all fields of geosciences.

24 Feb 2020

Maria spoke to Dr Naomi Lavelle at the Irish Examiner about gender balance in STEM – see article below!


17 Feb 2020

Maria was working on a post for RTÉ’s Brainstorm platform – the link is now available (or select the image below)!

10 Feb 2020

Ninon obtained a 2019 Sylvester-Bradley Award from the Palaeontological Association for £1,500. Her project is entitled ‘Investigating the enigmatic Devonian arthropod Oxyuropoda’. With this grant, Ninon aims at discovering the actual lineage of this 370 Myo freshwater animal, found in County Kilkenny at the end of the nineteenth century. Here she is, posing with the fossil, loaned from the National Museum of Ireland, before starting to study it in March with Swiss colleagues!

3 Feb 2020

Fleur was training at UCC’s Bioscience Institute, with a cryostat for cutting tissues using the free-floating technique!

27 Jan 2020

The Swiss Light Source have chosen images of Luke’s fossil insect scales to form part of their annual calendar!

20 Jan 2020

Tiffany received a commendation for her poster on fossil feathers at the Palaeontological Association Annual Meeting in Spain!

13 Jan 2020

The research team had a stand at this year’s BT Young Scientist Exhibition in Dublin again – and they even met Micheál Martin TD!

6 Jan 2020

Naomi helped to prepare Tiffany’s feather samples for analysis in Japan!

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