I’m a postodoctoral researcher funded by the German Research Foundation (own research position / Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, eigene Stelle).
Evolutionary transitions of lifestyle (e.g., for a terrestrial lineage to switch to an aquatic environment) encompass some of the major events that shaped biodiversity. I use comparative methods to study the evolutionary acquisitions associated with these transitions and to identify adaptations. I focus on bone tissue, analysing its structure at scales spanning from microanatomy to histology. I preponderantly use micro-computed tomography (µCT) and develop image analysis methods and tools to quantify the disparity of bone structure across broad taxonomic scales.
Bone structure was suggested to provide various functional adaptations in both extant and extinct species. Indeed, as a mineralized tissue, bone has the advantage of being well preserved in the fossil record (even at the cellular level), which gives crucial insights for the understanding of vertebrate evolution. But one should not see bone as a dead tissue, as it is able to adjust its structure during the life of an individual, as part of its phenotypic plasticity. This motivates important questions regarding the macro-evolutionary implications of environmentally-induced variation.