The Council

The Council 2021-2022

Please use the contact us form to contact council members.


Dr Caroline J. Buttler

Caroline Buttler is Head of Palaeontology at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales. Her research is focused on Palaeozoic bryozoans, especially the order Trepostomata, examining the systematics and taxonomy of these colonial animals, as well as their ecology and biogeography. Recent projects include investigating bryozoan and gastropod symbiosis, and the sclerobionts associated with the oldest known trepostome bryozoan. She is also interested in the conservation and care of geological material in museum collections.


Dr Nigel R. Ainsworth

Nigel is an industrial micropalaeontologist at Palaeodate Limited, with over 40 years experience as a biostratigrapher and a lithostratigrapher. He completed a BSc at the University of Aston in Birmingham, followed by an MSc at the University College Wales, Aberystwyth and a PhD at Trinity College, Dublin.  He has specialised in Mesozoic foraminifera, ostracods and radiolaria, mainly within Northwest Europe and the East Coast of Canada, although his earlier MSc thesis concentrated on Tertiary deep-sea ostracods from the Indian Ocean. He is currently involved in a number of academic publications, including co-authoring part of the Jurassic offshore stratigraphy for southern England and Ireland.

Vice President

Professor Susan Evans

Professor of Vertebrate Morphology and Palaeontology, UCL.  After a BSc in Zoology, she completed a PhD at UCL on Jurassic rhynchocephalian material from Welsh fissure deposits. Since then she has continued to work mostly on small Mesozoic reptiles (mainly lepidosaurs and choristoderes) and amphibians from around the world. Susan is interested in their morphological evolution and phylogeny, as well as their diversification and biogeography. As many of the groups she works on have living representatives, or at least analogues, the fossil data can be integrated with morphological, developmental, and biomechanical data from modern animals.

Vice President

Dr Yves Candela

Yves Candela is a specialist in Ordovician brachiopods. He studied in Brest (France) and Galway (Republic of Ireland) as ERASMUS student. In 2000 he graduated with a PhD from the National University of Ireland, Galway. Since 2005, he is working as curator in the Natural Sciences Department at the National Museum of Scotland. He is actively working on brachiopod faunas from Laurentia, Gondwana, Avalonia and Baltica. Other aspects of research include palaeobiogeography, palaeoecology and systematics. He is also actively involved in outreach organising events in the museum but also with local schools.


Dr Tim McCormick

Tim McCormick is a geoscience data specialist at the British Geological Survey. His work focuses on developing systematic and stratigraphic data, geoscience ontologies and vocabularies, and ‘FAIR’ (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) data. He teaches databases and data management in the UK and abroad.

Tim gained a PhD from the University of Glasgow in 1995 studying trilobite evolution. He worked as a postdoctoral research assistant at the University of Birmingham, The Natural History Museum, London, and the University of Glasgow before joining BGS in 2000.


Dr Susan Beardmore

Dr Sue Beardmore is a specialist in skeletal preservation of vertebrate fossils. During PhD research at University College, Dublin, she developed a semi-quantitative method of assessing the articulation and completeness of Triassic reptiles from Monte San Giorgio, also applied to Jurassic ichthyosaurs from the Posidonia Shale and pterosaurs from Solnhofen-type deposits of Germany among other studies.


Her most recent employment was at National Museums Scotland, as the John Ellerman Project Curator investigating fossil and natural science collections in Scottish museums. Her previous roles include developing the Recognised Collection of fossils at Elgin Museum, Moray, and move projects at Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Sue has been a palaeontology volunteer (field work) for the Natural History Museum of Utah since 2003.


Dr Peter R. Crowther

Dr Peter Crowther’s PhD and post-doc research on graptolite ultrastructure in 1970s Cambridge was followed by 15 years working for a motley trio of local authority museums (Peterborough, Leicestershire and Bristol).

In 1995 he joined the curatorial staff of the Ulster Museum, Belfast, retiring in 2012 as Head of Natural Sciences (for what by then had become National Museums Northern Ireland). After a spell on PalSoc Council in the early 1990s, he returned as co-editor in 2016.


Dr Benjamin C. Moon

Ben is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bristol who focuses on the evolution of marine reptiles through the Mesozoic. He combines taxonomy, phylogenetics, CT scanning and big data to explore changes in body plan and ecology with increasing interest in how different organisms take advantage of evolutionary opportunity.

Publicity Officer

Miss Emma Bernard

Emma is the Curator of the Fossil Fish Section at the Natural History in London. She has 15 years’ experience working in UK regional and national museums. Her work focuses on the digitisation of museum collections as well as investigating and unlocking information of historic collections. She is currently involved in research projects on British Jurassic micro vertebrate fauna and the Cenomanian/Turonian ocean anoxic event (OAE2) and the ramifications this had on lamniform shark species.

Web Officer

Dr Tony Butcher

Tony is Course Leader for Palaeontology at the University of Portsmouth, teaching a wide variety of topics from micropalaeontology to field mapping.  He is a specialist in Palaeozoic palynology (organic-walled microfossils), in particular the chitinozoans, and uses these fossils for solving geological problems such as palaeoenvironmental analysis and biostratigraphy.

Ordinary Council Members

Dr Neil L. Clark

Curator of Palaeontology at The Hunterian, University of Glasgow. After a BSc in Geology at the University of Edinburgh, he completed a PhD at the University of Glasgow on Carboniferous Crustacea from the excavations near Glasgow in the 1980s. Since then he has worked on many groups of fossils and continues to work on Carboniferous Crustacea as well Middle Jurassic dinosaurs and their context in Scotland. Working in the museum environment, Neil is interested in all aspects of Scottish palaeontology and public engagement having started the Scottish Geology Festival in 1990, being a member of the PalAlba research group and also a past president of the Geological Society of Glasgow.

Dr Laura Cotton

Laura is the Curator of Palaeontology at the Natural History Museum of Denmark. Her research focuses on understanding the responses of the shallow marine shelf to rapid climate perturbations of the Cenozoic. Though her principal specialism is in larger benthic foraminifera, she also works with a wide range of calcifying shelf organisms. Alongside this, she collaborates on developing novel geochemical proxies to obtain temperatures and ocean geochemistry records directly from the shallow marine realm.

Dr Sam Giles

Sam Giles is a vertebrate palaeontologist with an interest in the anatomy, relationships, and macroevolution of Palaeozoic and Mesozoic fossil fishes. Her research uses x-ray imaging (CT scanning) to unlock the external and internal anatomy of living and fossil vertebrates. She is interested in the origins and evolutionary success of different bony vertebrate groups and the evolution of key features in the vertebrate body plan. Her work has led to major revisions in our understanding of origins of gnathostomes, osteichthyans, and teleosts, some of the most species-rich vertebrate clades.

Dr Alex Liu

Alex is a Lecturer in Palaeobiology at the University of Cambridge. His research investigates the interval of geological time encompassing the origin and radiation of animals, with a particular focus on the Ediacaran macrobiota. His research incorporates aspects of palaeoecology, systematics, taphonomy, ichnology, sedimentology and geochemistry, and aims to better understand the biology of Ediacaran organisms, and ultimately the causes and consequences of animal evolution.

Dr Elsa Panciroli

Elsa is a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at the University of Oxford Museum of Natural History, and Associate Researcher at National Museums Scotland. She uses X-ray tomography and digital visualisation to understand the anatomy and growth of the first mammals and their closest relatives. This work helps us understand the assembly of mammal traits, and how they have contributed to the group’s ongoing evolutionary success.

Dr Imran Rahman

Imran Rahman is a Principal Researcher at the Natural History Museum. His research is broadly concerned with the origin and early evolution of animals, with a particular focus on Palaeozoic echinoderms. He uses X-ray tomography and computer simulations to obtain new insights into the form, function and phylogeny of extinct species, with implications for uncovering the assembly of major body plans.