Dr Alex Dunhill

Dr Alex Dunhill


I am a Lecturer in Palaeobiology in the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds.

My research focuses on large scale macroevolutionary and macroecological processes through deep time with a particular emphasis on late Palaeozoic and early Mesozoic mass extinction events and the accuracy of biodiversity data obtained from the fossil record. I am a member of the Earth Surface Science Institute and the Palaeo@Leeds Research Group.

I have a PhD from the University of Bristol and I am a graduate of the University of Sheffield. Prior to my appointment at Leeds, I was a Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Research Fellow in the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath.


  • Admissions Tutor for BSc/MGeol in Environmental Science and Meteorology and Climate Science

Research interests

  • Biodiversity and extinction in the time of Pangaea
  • Application of network methods to palaeobiological data
  • Palaeobiogeography
  • Extinction risk and conservation palaeobiology
  • Testing the quality of the fossil record
  • Mesozoic brachiopod macroevolution

Current projects

Previous projects

Research students


  • Bethany Allen (NERC DTP PhD, SEE Leeds) Biodiversity in the extreme world of Pangaea
  • Adam Woodhouse (NERC DTP PhD, SEE Leeds) Death in the Oceans:extinction risk in the marine realm
  • Armin Elsler (NERC DTP, Bristol) Early tetrapod evolution: Red Queen or Court Jester?
  • Emily Turner (MGeol student; SEE Leeds) The Late Triassic mass extinction in northern Sicily
  • Isobel Fortune (MEnvSci; SEE Leeds) Reconstructing Late Jurassic food webs in the marine Kimmeridge Clay formation
  • Karolina Zarzyczny (PalAss Undergraduate Intern, SEE Leeds) Reconstructing food webs across the Toarcian Ocean Anoxic Event


  • Dr Fiona Walker (NERC PhD CASE BGS, Bristol) Taxonomic diversity in the fossil record: sampling and real richness
  • Aislinn Vickers-Arrigo (Undergraduate dissertation student, SEE Leeds) Biogeography of the early Toarcian Ocean Anoxic Event
  • Fiona Pye (PalAss Undergraduate Intern, SEE Leeds) Survival of the smallest? Trends in brachiopod size across the End-Triassic mass extinction
  • Jack Creighton (MGeol student, SEE Leeds) Hot enough to die! A study of latitudinal biodiversity in terrestrial tetrapods following the End-Permian mass extinction
  • Cian Grace (MGeol student, SEE Leeds) Hot enough to die! A palaeolatitudinal biodiversity study of marine vertebrates following the end-Permian mass extinction
  • Holly Narey (Undergraduate dissertation student, Bath) Mesozoic dinosaur biogeography: A network approach
  • Terri Cleary (MSc Student, Bristol) Completeness metrics, sampling biases, and the fossil record of the Ichthyosauria
  • Dr Dan Driscoll (MSc student, Bristol) The Mosasaur record: Through the lens of fossil completeness
  • Kara Ludwig (MSc student, Bristol) Investigating Cynodontia: Quality of the fossil record and the roots of mammalian diversity
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD in Geology (University of Bristol)
  • MEnvSci (1st class) University of Sheffield

Professional memberships

  • The Palaeontological Association (Ordinary Council Member)
  • British Ecological Society
  • European Geoscience Union
  • Yorkshire Geological Society

Student education

I teach foundation year geology, introductory geology and palaeontology, as well as palaeobiology and evolution.

Research groups and institutes

  • Earth Surface Science Institute
  • Palaeo@Leeds

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>