Dr Tom Stubbs is an evolutionary biologist interested in biodiversity and anatomy. Tom first graduated from the University of Sheffield (BSc Environmental Science), before moving to the University of Bristol for postgraduate studies in evolution and palaeobiology (MSc, PhD). Since 2015, Tom held two postdoctoral research positions in Bristol and was promoted to a senior postdoctoral researcher in 2020. Tom then joined the Open University as a Lecturer in Biology in 2023.
Tom’s research uses the fossil record and living animals to explore the uneven distribution of biodiversity across the Tree of Life and through geological time. Tom has worked on crocodiles, marine reptiles, dinosaurs, birds, lizards and snakes, mammals, and fish, to understand how diverse groups rise and fall, and how new evolutionary innovations emerge.
The key theme underlying all Tom’s research is the study of anatomical evolution. Tom researches the evolution of morphological variety (disparity) over large geological timescales. This includes dynamics during evolutionary radiations, the evolution of ecological innovations, and extinction events. Currently, Tom is exploring large-scale patterns of morphological change inclusively across all tetrapods (amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals), covering both living (~580 families) and extinct (>1000 families) animals in a universal framework.