Patterns of osteological variation in extant herpetofauna are poorly understood for many species. Documenting and studying these patterns of variation is important for interpreting the fossil record. I aim to further our understanding of osteological variation in extant species and apply this knowledge for studying fossils.
Often, morphological identifications of fossil herpetofauna can only be made reliably above the species level. I use ancient DNA as a tool for uncovering past diversity that is not available when using morphology alone. In addition, I use aDNA as a method for reconstructing past population dynamics in herpetofaunal species in response to a changing environment.
With many extant species facing the threat of extinction in a rapidly changing world, it is imperative that we understand how extant biota respond to environmental changes. The fossil record gives us a glimpse into how past biota responded to changes and can inform modern conservation efforts. I study how past herpetofauna responded to environmental changes in order to provide insights on how we may expect current populations to respond.