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Dr Emily Rayfield

Dr Emily Rayfield

Dr Emily Rayfield
BA(Oxon), PhD(Cantab)

Reader in Palaeobiology

Area of research

How skeletal mechanics influences morphological evolution and the relationship between form and function in hard tissues

Office IC23
Wills Memorial Building,
Queen's Road, Clifton BS8 1RJ
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 954 5644

Summary

My research focuses on how skeletal mechanics influences morphological evolution and the relationship between form and function in hard tissues - primarily, but not exclusively, the vertebrate skull.

My research uses the engineering technique finite element analysis (FEA) to deduce skeletal stress and strain during function. In particular I am interested in how FEA can inform on functional behaviour in individual taxa and elucidate functional ecology and morphological changes across evolutionary transitions such as the origin of birds and mammals. Such studies are constrained by my research on FE-validation in birds, testing how accurately our FE-models approach reality.

My group takes advantage of our facilities in tomography reconstruction, FEA software, histological thin-section preparation and strain gauge analysis.

Teaching

I am responsible for the M-Level courses EASC M0024 Biomechanics and Functional Morphology, and M0036 Vertebrate Palaeobiology and Evolution, available to all single and joint honours students and to students on the MSc Palaeobiology course. 

I am unit organiser for the Evolution of Earth and Life subunit of the Level 1 Geology 1 unit EASC 10001 and also teach on the first year Arran field trip during the Easter vacation. 

I supervise a number of MSc Palaeobiology research projects each year, and teach occasional lectures on other taught courses. 

Keywords

  • skeletal mechanics
  • evolution
  • finite element analysis

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

Courses

Dr Rayfield currently teaches 6 courses:

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