Emily G.Mitchell (She/Her)

Assistant Professor and Curator of Invertebrates , Department and Museum of Zoology, University of Cambridge
  • Department and Museum of Zoology, University of Cambridge
  • United Kingdom

About Emily G.Mitchell

My research investigates the role of ecological processes on evolution through deep-time, from the first animal communities of the Ediacaran, to the present. The first animal communities are found in the Ediacaran time period, 580 million years ago, which consisted of sessile benthic organisms that lived in the deep-sea. Therefore, to understand how macro-ecology has changed through deep-time, I study a wide range of different benthic communities from the fossil record and in the modern Antarctic and deep-sea. To collect fossil data in the field, I use novel field-based laser-scanning techniques from aerospace to digitally capture entire rock surfaces. My work on modern systems uses data collected using AOV and ROVs to create 3D digital models. Through the application of statistical and mathematical ecology to the fossil and modern benthic communities, I reconstruct how species interact with each other and their environment, and what the driving factors behind these interactions are. These results then feed into theoretical models to explore how these relationships influence macro-evolutionary patterns over the last 580 million years.

Subject

Community ecology Ecological networks Palaeoecology Theoretical ecology

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Ediacaran height: How the first large organisms used their body-size to prosper

One of the most important and perplexing questions we face is why life on Earth suddenly became macroscopic after over three billion years of only microbial life. This innovation is captured in the fossil record by Ediacaran macrofossils, found 585-540 million years ago. Our study of some the oldest of these deep-sea communities shows that they used they newly-developed large body-size to increase dispersal and colonisation potential, rather than to out-compete each other for food.

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Comment on Conferences 2018
Jan 06, 2018

Crossing the Palaeontology - Ecology  Gap (CPEG) 30-31st August, University of Leeds. 

A conference to bring together ecologists and palaeoecologists to discuss our shared research interests such as mass extinctions, biogeography, evolutionary ecology and environmental changes. Register your interest at www.cpeg.org.uk