4 Jan 2021

Tiffany recently hosted a virtual taphonomy conference aimed at early career researchers. With over 50 speakers from 15 different countries, the meeting covered a variety of topics – from modern tar seep taphonomy to the taphonomy of vertebrate consumulites!

11 Jan 2021

Ninon was able to attend the inauguration of the first online PalAss Annual Conference this year, and also delivered a talk  about the Irish Devonian crustacean Oxyuropoda. This all happened live from her bedroom in France, due to the conference proximity with Christmas time! This allowed her to make great contact with people abroad planning to work further on fossils from county Kilkenny!

18 Jan 2021

Hannah is back in the home office, and while she is waiting for the ground to no longer be frozen and for COVID-cases to go down to be able to continue her fieldwork, she is working on her review paper on metal contamination of urban soils in Europe using many, MANY spreadsheets – it’s a good thing she loves analysing data!

25 Jan 2021

Restrictions might still be in place but that doesn’t stop the group meeting virtually for Palaeo Discussion Group every week!

1 Feb 2021

After her holidays, Aude has started working on a new paper and has wrapped up her decay experiments. The latest decayed samples (in the pink sample holder on the photo) will soon be ready for analysis. Exciting!

8 Feb 2021

Daniel has been grinding sediment samples that he took from the Geiseltal specimens. This future material analysis will reveal the depositional environment of the Geiseltal Lagerstätte.

15 Feb 2021

Maria is doing FTIR of fossil samples in the lab. After a year of lockdown, finally collecting some new data.

22 Feb 2021

This week the group met with fellow melanin lovers in Sweden to talk about their recent paper on the impact of maturation on melanin preservation in fossils!

1 Mar 2021

After embedding the samples of her decaying frog skin experiment, Ninon went to the lab to collect and prepare the results of her second experiment on the mineralization of these same skins.

8 Mar 2021

This week, Hannah is in the process of identifying and getting permission to sample urban parks in County Wexford. Previous research has indicated that soils in this area are potentially high in cadmium and antimony. Her own research in the coming months will give us exact levels of each metal.

15 Mar 2021

A robin – just starting to decompose. Naomi found it by the side of the road, took it home, put it under the shed, and will keep it there for a few weeks, exposed to insects, microbes, moisture and warmth, to get some nice bones from it. No waste in this research group where rotting stuff is cool!

22 Mar 2021

Aude has been trained at preparing and sectioning samples for transmission electron microscopy. The photo on the right shows her practicing at the ultramicrotome last week and the photo on the left shows a sample being sectioned to a very thin thickness (200 nm) with a glass knife.

29 Mar 2021

Daniel will become a BEES Postgraduate Representative very soon. Hannah, the recent Postgraduate Representative, kindly shared her knowledge with Daniel about duties, ongoing projects and how to keep the Postgrad community happy or improve their situation. “Who you gonna call??” :)

6 Apr 2021

Sometimes you need a break from rocks / video calls and just need… flowers! Here’s to spring, vaccinations and life opening back up again.

12 Apr 2021

Tiffany attended this year’s Synchrotron Radiation in Art & Archaeology conference, which featured some super cool research on the chemistry of Munch’s paint!

19 Apr 2021

Ireland’s coastline has a diverse geology. As the lockdown restrictions eased, Hannah ventured down to Garretstown Beach near Kinsale and took some time to appreciate the beauty of it all!

21 Apr 2021

An early peacock butterfly spotted during the weekend by Naomi – it was also enjoying the lovely sunny warm weather we’ve been having over the last week! Just look at those eyespots!

4 May 2021

Aude has recently been imaging the soft tissues that she had decayed in the lab, using scanning electron microscopy. This will help her to understand how the structure of soft tissues, here bird feathers and lizard skin, changes before fossilization.

10 May 2021

Daniel refreshes his knowledge by (re)watching an SEM online webinar to analyse his fossil frog samples from the Geiseltal Lagerstätte soon.

17 May 2021

The key to finishing up a PhD in palaeontology is having great support. Tiffany is enjoying the ease of lockdown restrictions by taking weekend walks around Cork with a few friends.

24 May 2021

Maria recently gave a talk for the Pint of Science event on fossils!

31 May 2021

This week, Hannah gave a virtual update to her funding bodies, iCRAG and GSI, of her work on urban soils in Cork city. These meetings are always a great opportunity to get feedback from other researchers and to stay connected, even during COVID times.

8 Jun 2021

We may still be working from home as much as possible, but that doesn’t mean Naomi can’t keep an eye out for wildlife elsewhere instead of the usual walk into the office – this includes spiders in the garden shed!

14 Jun 2021

Recently, Aude had a welcome break from her research by joining UCC geology students in the field, in Myrtleville, County Cork. The group logged Upper Devonian channel and floodplain deposits, and Quaternary periglacial and glacial sediments. Aude really appreciated the refresher on sedimentology logging in such a beautiful place.

23 Jun 2021

Naomi attended an online lecture this evening on the life, times and legacy of Mary Anning, by Dr Ed Jarvis.

30 Jun 2021

Give that thing a rest! Daniel submitted a paper manuscript last night, so he and his computer will have a break today.

5 Jul 2021

Hannah presented the main findings of her literature search at the 31st Irish Environmental Researchers Colloquium (Environ 2021). The theme was ‘Healthy Planet, Healthy Communities’ and how our research contributes to that. Tackling urban soil metal contamination is one of many ways in which we can ensure long-term health of communities and our planet. Her paper will show findings on the current extent of urban soil metal contamination across Europe, the gaps in the data and how we can address both of those issues.

12 Jul 2021

Aude has recently been working with her colleague Larissa on 3D modeling of rocks for an outreach project. They have taken plenty of photos of rocks and fossils from Cork area that will later be uploaded on a website dedicated to Cork’s geoheritage.

16 Jul 2021

Reading a 1000-page document is not so bad when your office looks like this:

19 Jul 2021

20,000 times magnification and beyond. Daniel is discovering fossil textures that are build up from modules as tiny as microns (one-millionth of a meter and one-thousandth of a millimeter).

26 Jul 2021

Undergraduate field research in Co. Wexford: sun, sea and zillions of fossils. What an amazing place to do your thesis project!

3 Aug 2021

Here is Luke doing one last day of microspectrophotometry on subfossil weevil scales before taking up a new position with the British Geological Survey!

9 Aug 2021

Recently, Hannah helped out with the Forensic Geology workshop organised by Girls into Geoscience (GiG) and iCRAG. The participants had to solve a fictional murder mystery scenario and match sediment traces that were found on the victim with those found on four suspects. Sediment traces led the participants around the Island of Ireland, from Skellig Michael to the Giants Causeway, which was a great way to explore the diverse geology found across Ireland.

16 Aug 2021

Naomi visited Hook Head, County Wexford today, and spotted lots of different fossils including brachiopods, bryozoans, corals and crinoids!

23 Aug 2021

Aude was on holidays in Belgium recently, and accompanied her dad, an astronomy enthusiast, to observe the night sky. She observed the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and different constellations like Cassiopeia and Cygnus. The sky was super clear with optimal conditions to see the Perseids, a meteor shower observable in the sky at this time of the year.

30 Aug 2021

Daniel had lovely holidays on the Aran Islands where he watched out for fossils (e.g. corals and brachiopods) in the Burren limestone.

6 Sep 2021

Jess is the newly appointed science engagement officer for the SFI Discover-funded project ‘Ireland’s Fossil Heritage’. She has been in the lab recently photographing our fossil collection in preparation for exciting science engagement events.

13 Sep 2021

Feels great to be back around the offices in UCC again!


20 Sep 2021

This week Hannah was back out in the field collecting urban soil samples from the Loughmahon Community Park and the Douglas Community Park. A local resident shared that Loughmahon Community Park is one of the oldest parks in the area and that it used to be an orchard for a local convent. Some of the trees in that park may well be over 100 years old (unfortunately none of those gorgeous trees are shown in the picture, so you’ll have to visit the park yourself to have a look at them!).

27 Sep 2021

Naomi is helping Hannah with her soil sample pH analyses!

4 Oct 2021

Aude is glad to be back in the office after more than a year working mainly from home. She is preparing something very exciting involving big extinct creatures…

11 Oct 2021

Daniel got visitors during the week and went with them to the Beara Peninsula to look at the giant tree ferns on Garnish Island and the copper mining museum in Allihies. They also went for a quick dip into the ocean.

Daniel in west cork under palm trees and on a beach


18 Oct 2021

Jess has been busy visiting amazing places around Ireland where you can find fossils, including Hook Head, the Malahide coast, the Burren, Loughshinny, and more! She has photographed some beautiful fossils in preparation for the launch of Ireland’s Fossil Heritage website, which will feature lots of information about Irish fossils, coming soon!

25 Oct 2021

When we are clearing out the lab, we must pause and admire the beautiful fossils!

1 Nov 2021

Hannah was back in County Wexford to sample three more urban parks – the pile of dirt in the picture shows the volume of samples that are then analysed in the Lab in UCC straight away over a 2-week period. 15 out of 20 sites are done, so the end is near! For anyone visiting Wexford, the Edenvale Woods and Waterfall are a lovely spot for a walk and view, and are also shown in the panorama picture.

8th Nov 2021

Zixiao is completing his training on the SEM and getting excited for commencing his postdoc research!

15 Nov 2021

UCC was looking very autumnal today!

22 Nov 2021

This week Aude has been working with Maria on a new manuscript that will hopefully be published very soon. Stay tuned!

29 Nov 2021

Daniel and Chris were recently involved in an outreach project about Irish fossils which is led by group member Jess.


6 Dec 2021

Jess was in the field recently, at Myrtleville Beach, filming a video for the new Ireland's Fossil Heritage website. Check out the welcome video now at https://www.ucc.ie/en/fossil-heritage/!

13 Dec 2021

Bea joined the team less than two months ago and is starting to get settled in (both in Ireland and the lab!). After doing a lot of reading during her first weeks, she was happy to join the rest of the team for a great Christmas gathering.

20 Dec 2021

The future of taphonomic experiments at UCC!

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