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Staff Profiles

Melanie Hopkins

Assistant Curator, Invertebrate Paleontology, Division of Paleontology
Assistant Professor, Richard Gilder Graduate School


Curriculum Vitae (short version)

  • Education

      • University of Chicago, Ph.D., 2010
      • Stanford University, B.S., 2002
  • Research Interests

    Research Interests

      Dr. Hopkins’s research focuses on the study of morphological evolution in the fossil record. She combines species-level phylogenetic analysis with high-resolution biostratigraphy in order to create frameworks for testing hypotheses about the role of geographic variation, ontogenetic variation, and modularity in the evolution of different clades. She also studies the interaction between different measures of diversity and the circumstances under which morphological, taxonomic, and functional diversity are decoupled. She has dabbled in global change biology and paleoecology and remains interested in niche evolution, particularly in its potential association with morphological evolution and speciation. Other recent projects demonstrated pervasive mosaic evolution throughout the fossil record, and explored how decisions made by scientists regarding what traits to measure influence the study of rates and modes of evolution.

      Dr. Hopkins’s taxonomic interest lies with arthropods. Most of her research focuses on the paleobiology and early evolutionary history of trilobites, but she has also studied variation in extant fiddler crabs. Her research makes use of a variety of quantitative methods, most notably geometric morphometrics. Many projects are specimen based and rely on the extensive use of museum and new field collections. Other projects have made use of community databases, such as the Paleobiology Database. She is active in field work, particularly the Great Basin of the western U.S.

  • Publications

  • Teaching Experience

    Teaching Experience

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