Dr Xiaoya Ma

Dr Xiaoya Ma

Research Fellow, NERC

Department: Earth Sciences
Division: ES Invertebrates and Plants Palaeobiology
Phone: +44-(0)20 79425142 5142
http://scholar.google.co.uk
http://www.researchgate.net

Specialisms

Cambrian ecdysozoans: priapulids, Phylogeny & Taphonomy, lobopodians and arthropods Neuropalaeontology: fossilised brains, nervous systems and sensory organs Taxonomy

Summary

My primary research interest is to understand the origin and early evolution of animal life, especially the major branching events during animal evolution. Cambrian fossils provide direct insight into the early radiation of animal life and are crucial for addressing some fundamental questions: When and how did major animal groups evolve? What were the evolutionary sequences of key morphological innovations? How did animals adapt to their ecological and environmental changes? Therefore, I use interdisciplinary approaches to study the morphology, phylogeny, taphonomy and paleoecology of a broad range of Cambrian ecdysozoans from exceptionally well-preserved fossil assemblages, such as the Chengjiang and the Burgess Shale Lagerstätten.

Qualifications

Degrees

PhD in Palaeontology, University of Leicester, United Kingdom, 2005 - 2009

MSc (Hons) in Zoology, Yunnan University, China, 2003 - 2005

BSc (Hons) in Biology, Yunnan University, China, 1999 - 2003

Employment history

Academic

NERC Independent Research Fellow, The Natural History Museum, London, Department of Earth Sciences, United Kingdom, 2014 - 2019

Postdoctoral Research Assistant, The Natural History Museum, London, Department of Earth Sciences, United Kingdom, 2011 - 2014

Honorary Researcher, University of Leicester, Department of Geology, United Kingdom, 2009 - 2012

Non-academic

Library Assistant, University of Leicester, Library, 2007 - 2011

Highlighted publications

Ma X, Edgecombe GD, Hou X, Goral T, Strausfeld NJ (2015) Preservational Pathways of Corresponding Brains of a Cambrian Euarthropod. Current Biology, 25 (22) : 2969 - 2975. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.09.063

Ma X (2015) Palaeontology: Hallucigenia's head. Nature, 523 (7558) : 38 - 39. doi: 10.1038/nature14627

Ma X, Edgecombe GD, Legg DA, Hou X (2014) The morphology and phylogenetic position of the Cambrian lobopodian Diania cactiformis. JOURNAL OF SYSTEMATIC PALAEONTOLOGY, 12 (4) : 445 - 457. doi: 10.1080/14772019.2013.770418

Ma X, Aldridge RJ, Siveter DJ, Siveter DJ, Hou X, et al. (2014) A New Exceptionally Preserved Cambrian Priapulid From The Chengjiang Lagerstätte. Journal of Paleontology, 88 (2) : 371 - 384. doi: 10.1666/13-082

Ma X, Cong P, Hou X, Edgecombe GD, Strausfeld NJ (2014) An exceptionally preserved arthropod cardiovascular system from the early Cambrian. Nature Communications, 5 : doi: 10.1038/ncomms4560

Ma X, Hou X, Aldridge RJ, Siveter DJ, Siveter DJ, et al. (2012) Morphology of Cambrian lobopodian eyes from the Chengjiang Lagerstätte and their evolutionary significance. Arthropod Structure & Development, 41 (5) : 495 - 504. doi: 10.1016/j.asd.2012.03.002

Grants

Cambrian Nervous Systems for Reconstructing the Arthropod Tree of Life
Role: Principal investigatorMa X
Funding: NERC
Total value £428,643 (to Museum £428,643)
Dates: 2014 - 2020

Publications

Strausfeld NJ, Ma X, Edgecombe GD, Fortey RA, Land M, Liu Y, Cong P, Hou X (2016) Arthropod eyes: The early Cambrian fossil record and divergent evolution of visual systems. Arthropod Structure and Development, 45 : 152 - 172. doi: 10.1016/asd/2015.07.005

Strausfeld NJ, Ma X, Edgecombe GD, Fortey RA, Land MF, Liu Y, Cong P, Hou X (2016) Arthropod eyes: The early Cambrian fossil record and divergent evolution of visual systems. Arthropod Structure & Development, 45 (2) : 152 - 172. doi: 10.1016/j.asd.2015.07.005

Edgecombe GD, Ma X, Strausfeld NJ (2015) Unlocking the early fossil record of the arthropod central nervous system. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370 (1684) : 20150038 - 20150038. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2015.0038

Ma X, Edgecombe GD, Hou X, Goral T, Strausfeld NJ (2015) Preservational Pathways of Corresponding Brains of a Cambrian Euarthropod. Current Biology, 25 (22) : 2969 - 2975. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.09.063

Ma X (2015) Palaeontology: Hallucigenia's head. Nature, 523 (7558) : 38 - 39. doi: 10.1038/nature14627

Cong P, Ma X, Hou X, Edgecombe GD, Strausfeld NJ (2014) Cong et al. reply. Nature, 516 (7530) : E3 - E4. doi: 10.1038/nature13861

Cong P, Ma X, Hou X, Edgecombe GD, Strausfeld NJ (2014) Brain structure resolves the segmental affinity of anomalocaridid appendages. Nature, 513 (7519) : 538 - 542. doi: 10.1038/nature13486

Ma X, Edgecombe GD, Legg DA, Hou X (2014) The morphology and phylogenetic position of the Cambrian lobopodian Diania cactiformis. JOURNAL OF SYSTEMATIC PALAEONTOLOGY, 12 (4) : 445 - 457. doi: 10.1080/14772019.2013.770418

Ma X, Aldridge RJ, Siveter DJ, Siveter DJ, Hou X, Edgecombe GD (2014) A New Exceptionally Preserved Cambrian Priapulid From The Chengjiang Lagerstätte. Journal of Paleontology, 88 (2) : 371 - 384. doi: 10.1666/13-082

Ma X, Cong P, Hou X, Edgecombe GD, Strausfeld NJ (2014) An exceptionally preserved arthropod cardiovascular system from the early Cambrian. Nature Communications, 5 : doi: 10.1038/ncomms4560

García-bellido DC, Edgecombe GD, Paterson JR, Ma X (2013) A ‘Collins’ monster’-type lobopodian from the Emu Bay Shale Konservat-Lagerstätte (Cambrian), South Australia. Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology, 37 (4) : 474 - 478. doi: 10.1080/03115518.2013.792456

Tanaka G, Hou X, Ma X, Edgecombe GD, Strausfeld NJ (2013) Chelicerate neural ground pattern in a Cambrian great appendage arthropod. Nature, 502 (7471) : 364 - 367. doi: 10.1038/nature12520

Ma X, Hou X, Aldridge RJ, Siveter DJ, Siveter DJ, Gabbott SE, Purnell MA, Parker AR, Edgecombe GD (2012) Morphology of Cambrian lobopodian eyes from the Chengjiang Lagerstätte and their evolutionary significance. Arthropod Structure & Development, 41 (5) : 495 - 504. doi: 10.1016/j.asd.2012.03.002

Ma X, Hou X, Edgecombe GD, Strausfeld NJ (2012) Complex brain and optic lobes in an early Cambrian arthropod. Nature, 490 (7419) : 258 - 261. doi: 10.1038/nature11495

Hou X-G, Aldridge RJ, Siveter DJ, Siveter DJ, Williams M, Zalasiewicz J, Ma X-Y (2011) An Early Cambrian Hemichordate Zooid. Current Biology, 21 (7) : 612 - 616. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.03.005

Legg DA, Ma X, Wolfe JM, Ortega-hernández J, Edgecombe GD, Sutton MD (2011) Lobopodian phylogeny reanalysed. Nature, 476 (7359) : E1 - E1. doi: 10.1038/nature10267

Ma X, Hou X, Baines D (2010) Phylogeny and evolutionary significance of vermiform animals from the Early Cambrian Chengjiang Lagerstätte. Science China Earth Sciences, 53 (12) : 1774 - 1783. doi: 10.1007/s11430-010-4084-y

Ma X, Hou X, Bergström J (2009) Morphology of Luolishania longicruris (Lower Cambrian, Chengjiang Lagerstätte, SW China) and the phylogenetic relationships within lobopodians. Arthropod Structure & Development, 38 (4) : 271 - 291. doi: 10.1016/j.asd.2009.03.001

Xian-guang H, Bergström J, Xiao-ya M, Jie Z (2006) The Lower Cambrian Phlogites Luo & Hu re-considered. GFF, 128 : 47 - 51.

Hou X-G, Stanley G, Zhao J, Ma X-Y (2005) Cambrian anemones with preserved soft tissue from the Chengjiang biota, China. Lethaia, 38 : 193 - 203.

Hou X-G, Ma X-Y, Zhao J, Bergström J (2004) The lobopodian Paucipodia inermis from the Lower Cambrian Chengjiang fauna, Yunnan, China. Lethaia, 37 (3) : 235 - 244. doi: 10.1080/00241160410006555

Courses taught

MSc: MSc Taxonomy & Biodiversity: Palaeobiology Module


2/2016 - 3/2016.

Invited and keynote speaker

Invited speaker, Deep Thoughts from Deep Time—Central Nervous Systems of Cambrian Panarthropods, 16th Annual Meeting of Japanese Society of Evolutionary Studies:

Deep Thoughts from Deep Time—Central Nervous Systems of Cambrian Panarthropods, IGCP Project 591-Field Workshop 2014:

Origin and Early Diversification of Arthropod Visual Systems, The 4th International Palaeontological Congress:

Introduction

Summary

My primary research interest is to understand the origin and early evolution of animal life, especially the major branching events during animal evolution. Cambrian fossils provide direct insight into the early radiation of animal life and are crucial for addressing some fundamental questions: When and how did major animal groups evolve? What were the evolutionary sequences of key morphological innovations? How did animals adapt to their ecological and environmental changes? Therefore, I use interdisciplinary approaches to study the morphology, phylogeny, taphonomy and paleoecology of a broad range of Cambrian ecdysozoans from exceptionally well-preserved fossil assemblages, such as the Chengjiang and the Burgess Shale Lagerstätten.

Qualifications

Degrees

PhD in Palaeontology, University of Leicester, United Kingdom, 2005 - 2009

MSc (Hons) in Zoology, Yunnan University, China, 2003 - 2005

BSc (Hons) in Biology, Yunnan University, China, 1999 - 2003

Employment history

Academic

NERC Independent Research Fellow, The Natural History Museum, London, Department of Earth Sciences, United Kingdom, 2014 - 2019

Postdoctoral Research Assistant, The Natural History Museum, London, Department of Earth Sciences, United Kingdom, 2011 - 2014

Honorary Researcher, University of Leicester, Department of Geology, United Kingdom, 2009 - 2012

Non-academic

Library Assistant, University of Leicester, Library, 2007 - 2011

Highlighted publications

Ma X, Edgecombe GD, Hou X, Goral T, Strausfeld NJ (2015) Preservational Pathways of Corresponding Brains of a Cambrian Euarthropod. Current Biology, 25 (22) : 2969 - 2975. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.09.063

Ma X (2015) Palaeontology: Hallucigenia's head. Nature, 523 (7558) : 38 - 39. doi: 10.1038/nature14627

Ma X, Edgecombe GD, Legg DA, Hou X (2014) The morphology and phylogenetic position of the Cambrian lobopodian Diania cactiformis. JOURNAL OF SYSTEMATIC PALAEONTOLOGY, 12 (4) : 445 - 457. doi: 10.1080/14772019.2013.770418

Ma X, Aldridge RJ, Siveter DJ, Siveter DJ, Hou X, et al. (2014) A New Exceptionally Preserved Cambrian Priapulid From The Chengjiang Lagerstätte. Journal of Paleontology, 88 (2) : 371 - 384. doi: 10.1666/13-082

Ma X, Cong P, Hou X, Edgecombe GD, Strausfeld NJ (2014) An exceptionally preserved arthropod cardiovascular system from the early Cambrian. Nature Communications, 5 : doi: 10.1038/ncomms4560

Ma X, Hou X, Aldridge RJ, Siveter DJ, Siveter DJ, et al. (2012) Morphology of Cambrian lobopodian eyes from the Chengjiang Lagerstätte and their evolutionary significance. Arthropod Structure & Development, 41 (5) : 495 - 504. doi: 10.1016/j.asd.2012.03.002

Projects

Grants

Cambrian Nervous Systems for Reconstructing the Arthropod Tree of Life
Role: Principal investigatorMa X
Funding: NERC
Total value £428,643 (to Museum £428,643)
Dates: 2014 - 2020

Publications

Publications

Strausfeld NJ, Ma X, Edgecombe GD, Fortey RA, Land M, Liu Y, Cong P, Hou X (2016) Arthropod eyes: The early Cambrian fossil record and divergent evolution of visual systems. Arthropod Structure and Development, 45 : 152 - 172. doi: 10.1016/asd/2015.07.005

Strausfeld NJ, Ma X, Edgecombe GD, Fortey RA, Land MF, Liu Y, Cong P, Hou X (2016) Arthropod eyes: The early Cambrian fossil record and divergent evolution of visual systems. Arthropod Structure & Development, 45 (2) : 152 - 172. doi: 10.1016/j.asd.2015.07.005

Edgecombe GD, Ma X, Strausfeld NJ (2015) Unlocking the early fossil record of the arthropod central nervous system. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370 (1684) : 20150038 - 20150038. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2015.0038

Ma X, Edgecombe GD, Hou X, Goral T, Strausfeld NJ (2015) Preservational Pathways of Corresponding Brains of a Cambrian Euarthropod. Current Biology, 25 (22) : 2969 - 2975. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.09.063

Ma X (2015) Palaeontology: Hallucigenia's head. Nature, 523 (7558) : 38 - 39. doi: 10.1038/nature14627

Cong P, Ma X, Hou X, Edgecombe GD, Strausfeld NJ (2014) Cong et al. reply. Nature, 516 (7530) : E3 - E4. doi: 10.1038/nature13861

Cong P, Ma X, Hou X, Edgecombe GD, Strausfeld NJ (2014) Brain structure resolves the segmental affinity of anomalocaridid appendages. Nature, 513 (7519) : 538 - 542. doi: 10.1038/nature13486

Ma X, Edgecombe GD, Legg DA, Hou X (2014) The morphology and phylogenetic position of the Cambrian lobopodian Diania cactiformis. JOURNAL OF SYSTEMATIC PALAEONTOLOGY, 12 (4) : 445 - 457. doi: 10.1080/14772019.2013.770418

Ma X, Aldridge RJ, Siveter DJ, Siveter DJ, Hou X, Edgecombe GD (2014) A New Exceptionally Preserved Cambrian Priapulid From The Chengjiang Lagerstätte. Journal of Paleontology, 88 (2) : 371 - 384. doi: 10.1666/13-082

Ma X, Cong P, Hou X, Edgecombe GD, Strausfeld NJ (2014) An exceptionally preserved arthropod cardiovascular system from the early Cambrian. Nature Communications, 5 : doi: 10.1038/ncomms4560

García-bellido DC, Edgecombe GD, Paterson JR, Ma X (2013) A ‘Collins’ monster’-type lobopodian from the Emu Bay Shale Konservat-Lagerstätte (Cambrian), South Australia. Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology, 37 (4) : 474 - 478. doi: 10.1080/03115518.2013.792456

Tanaka G, Hou X, Ma X, Edgecombe GD, Strausfeld NJ (2013) Chelicerate neural ground pattern in a Cambrian great appendage arthropod. Nature, 502 (7471) : 364 - 367. doi: 10.1038/nature12520

Ma X, Hou X, Aldridge RJ, Siveter DJ, Siveter DJ, Gabbott SE, Purnell MA, Parker AR, Edgecombe GD (2012) Morphology of Cambrian lobopodian eyes from the Chengjiang Lagerstätte and their evolutionary significance. Arthropod Structure & Development, 41 (5) : 495 - 504. doi: 10.1016/j.asd.2012.03.002

Ma X, Hou X, Edgecombe GD, Strausfeld NJ (2012) Complex brain and optic lobes in an early Cambrian arthropod. Nature, 490 (7419) : 258 - 261. doi: 10.1038/nature11495

Hou X-G, Aldridge RJ, Siveter DJ, Siveter DJ, Williams M, Zalasiewicz J, Ma X-Y (2011) An Early Cambrian Hemichordate Zooid. Current Biology, 21 (7) : 612 - 616. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.03.005

Legg DA, Ma X, Wolfe JM, Ortega-hernández J, Edgecombe GD, Sutton MD (2011) Lobopodian phylogeny reanalysed. Nature, 476 (7359) : E1 - E1. doi: 10.1038/nature10267

Ma X, Hou X, Baines D (2010) Phylogeny and evolutionary significance of vermiform animals from the Early Cambrian Chengjiang Lagerstätte. Science China Earth Sciences, 53 (12) : 1774 - 1783. doi: 10.1007/s11430-010-4084-y

Ma X, Hou X, Bergström J (2009) Morphology of Luolishania longicruris (Lower Cambrian, Chengjiang Lagerstätte, SW China) and the phylogenetic relationships within lobopodians. Arthropod Structure & Development, 38 (4) : 271 - 291. doi: 10.1016/j.asd.2009.03.001

Xian-guang H, Bergström J, Xiao-ya M, Jie Z (2006) The Lower Cambrian Phlogites Luo & Hu re-considered. GFF, 128 : 47 - 51.

Hou X-G, Stanley G, Zhao J, Ma X-Y (2005) Cambrian anemones with preserved soft tissue from the Chengjiang biota, China. Lethaia, 38 : 193 - 203.

Hou X-G, Ma X-Y, Zhao J, Bergström J (2004) The lobopodian Paucipodia inermis from the Lower Cambrian Chengjiang fauna, Yunnan, China. Lethaia, 37 (3) : 235 - 244. doi: 10.1080/00241160410006555

Teaching and students

Courses taught

MSc: MSc Taxonomy & Biodiversity: Palaeobiology Module


2/2016 - 3/2016.

Impact and outreach

Invited and keynote speaker

Invited speaker, Deep Thoughts from Deep Time—Central Nervous Systems of Cambrian Panarthropods, 16th Annual Meeting of Japanese Society of Evolutionary Studies:

Deep Thoughts from Deep Time—Central Nervous Systems of Cambrian Panarthropods, IGCP Project 591-Field Workshop 2014:

Origin and Early Diversification of Arthropod Visual Systems, The 4th International Palaeontological Congress: