Prof. Maria McNamara
I am Professor of Palaeontology at the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at University College Cork. My primary research interests are in the field of soft tissue preservation in fossils, with particular focus on fossil colour and on feather evolution. I use advanced microbeam and spectroscopic techniques to explore the ultrastructure and chemistry of soft tissues in fossils and their extant analogues, with a strong emphasis on taphonomic experiments to help bridge the gap between ancient and modern materials. My current research on ancient biomolecules, including melanin and keratin, is supported in part by two ERC grants (Starting and Consolidator Grants). I’m committed to public engagement to help diversify palaeontology and STEM more broadly and to inspire an appreciation of the natural world amongst the public.
Recent research highlights
Recent research highlights include a major review of melanin evolution in vertebrates, experimental insights into melanin taphonomy (see Rogers et al., 2021; Rossi et al., 2020; Rossi et al., 2021; Slater et al., 2019) and the discovery of branched feathers in pterosaurs. A summary of my research can be found here.
Wiley Analytical Science profile: https://analyticalscience.wiley.com/do/10.1002/was.00020153 (credit to Rebecca Pool at Wiley Analytical Science)
My full list of publications can be found here: Publications.
- 2020: Professor, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University College Cork (UCC), Ireland.
- 2016 – 2020: Senior Lecturer in Geology, School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University College Cork (UCC), Ireland.
- 2013 – 2016: College Lecturer, School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University College Cork (UCC), Ireland.
- 2012 – 2013: Postdoctoral researcher, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, UK.
- 2009 – 2012: Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow, Dept. of Geology & Geophysics, Yale University, USA.
- 2008 – 2009: Geopark Geologist, Geological Survey of Ireland.
- 2006 – 2008: IRCSET Postdoctoral Fellow, UCD School of Geological Sciences, University College Dublin.
- 2007: PhD, University College Dublin. PhD Thesis: “Comparative taphonomy of lacustrine-hosted exceptional faunas from the Miocene of NE Spain”.
- 2002: BSc (Hons) 1:1, Earth Science, Dept. of Geology, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland.