Discovery, origins and evolution

A kelp forest underwater with the sky and island above the water

A kelp forest © Katharine Moore/

We are experiencing unprecedented global environmental change.

From the origins of the solar system to the evolution of new species, our work and collections are helping us understand the response of ecosystems to this change.

Size matters: responding to environmental change

Predicting the impact of our rapidly changing climate on body size using well-preserved fossils.

Research on reef corals

Studying fossil corals to understand the biological consequences of past environmental changes. 




Studying chondrite meteorites in our collection to learn about conditions in the early solar system and the processes that formed the planets.

Extraterrestrial H20 hunters

Exploring new analytical techniques to determine the origins and history of water on planet Earth.

The Moon

Looking at lunar meteorites and Apollo samples to learn more about the origin and early evolution of the Moon. 

The changing Sun

Studying data from ground and satellite-based instruments to better understand current solar activity. 


The role of behaviour in evolution

Interrogating how species behaviour has the potential to lead morphological evolution.

Morphological development and evolution of bony fishes

Studying the morphological development of bony fishes and how it has changed over evolutionary time.

Evolution of the snake visual system

Asking what the biology of snake vision can tell us about snake evolution and the evolution of vertebrate visual systems.

Co-evolution of plants and soils

Comparing 400-million-year-old fossil soils and modern analogues to learn more about the early evolution of life on land.

UK biodiversity

Creating molecular and digital tools to explore undiscovered biodiversity.

Anthropocene and sustainability

Exploring new sources of food, predicting the spread of disease and finding scarce elements.