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Dr Tiffany Slater

I am a palaeobiologist interested in the preservation of ancient biomolecules. I use an experimental approach to investigate whether different biomolecules, such as pigments and proteins, can survive fossilisation and which chemical techniques are appropriate for their detection (e.g., Raman, FTIR and XANES spectroscopy, immunohistochemistry, etc.).


  • Slater, T.S., Ito, S., Wakamatsu, K., Zhang, F., Sjövall, P., Jarenmark, M., Lindgren, J., McNamara, M.E., 2023. Taphonomic experiments reveal authentic molecular signals for fossil melanins and verify preservation of phaeomelanin in fossils. Nature Communications14, 5651. DOI:

  • Slater, T.S., Edwards, N.P., Webb, S.M., Zhang, F., McNamara, M.E., 2023. Preservation of corneous β-proteins in Mesozoic feathers. Nature Ecology and Evolution7, 1706-1713.

  • McNamara, M.E., Rossi, V., Slater, T.S., Rogers, C.S., Ducrest, A.-L., Dubey, S., Roulin, A., 2021. Decoding the Evolution of Melanin in Vertebrates. Trends in Ecology and Evolution36, 430-443. DOI:

  • Slater, T., Ashbrook, K., Kriwet, J., 2020. Evolutionary relationships among bullhead sharks (Chondrichthyes, Heterodontiformes). Papers in Palaeontology, 6, 425-437. DOI:

  • Slater, T.S., McNamara, M.E., Orr, P.J., Foley, T.B., Ito, S., Wakamatsu, K., 2019. Taphonomic experiments resolve controls on the preservation of melanosomes and keratinous tissues in feathers. Palaeontology63, 103-115. DOI:

  • Slater, T., Duffin, C.J., Hildebrandt, C., Davies, T.G., Benton, M.J., 2016. Microvertebrates from multiple bone beds in the Rhaetian of the M4-M5 motorway junction, South Gloucestershire, U.K. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association127, 464–477. DOI: 1016/j.pgeola.2016.07.001.


  • July 2022 – present: ERC Postdoctoral researcher at University College Cork, Ireland.

  • July 2017 – June 2022: PhD (Geology) at University College Cork, Ireland. PhD thesis: “Taphonomy of Feathers”.

  • June 2016 – July 2016: Visiting researcher at the University of Vienna, Austria.

  • May 2015 – July 2015: Visiting researcher at the University of Bristol, United Kingdom.

  • September 2014 – May 2017: BSc (Hons) 1st class in Biology at the University of Worcester, United Kingdom. BSc Thesis: “Sharks with question marks: Examining the intrarelationships of bullhead sharks (Chondrichthyes: Heterodontiformes)”.

  • December 2013 – May 2014: Undergraduate researcher at the University of Cincinnati, USA.

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