Ready To Start: Old News and New Beginnings

So… It’s been a while.

Last time I was on here I was exhausted and disorientated (and just a little bit drunk) during the hand in of my MSci project. And although I can’t really believe it, that was a good 8 months or so ago. And those 8 months have really (and I mean really) flown by. I know I’ve been a bit negligent in that missing period, but I’m keen to set things right and get this good old blog back on track. And in tern that means I’ve got a lot of catching up to do for you all!

The (semi) final cut of my project. It'll be available soon, honest!

The (semi) final cut of my project. It’ll be available soon, honest!

So my project is done and handed in; what’s next for the completeness of pterosaurs? Well you’ll be pleased to know that my work actually made sense and got some results, and as such is in the process of being writing up for publication, hopefully in either the online journal PLOS One or Palaeobiology. It’s being written by myself, my supervisor Phil Mannion and Richard Butler, an all round expert in vertebrate palaeontology and should be finished soon… though my fingers are crossed. The only problem with this is I can’t really talk about my results as such until my research is published. However, I can catch up where I left off, and fill you in on the methods and statistical techniques I used and the numerous problems I ran into. So don’t worry, there’s still plenty to come from this project!

As for the rest of the summer, my time was spent in a number of ways. I had the very exciting experience of accompanying Dan Collins, another PhD student from Imperial, on a trip to Brunei in Borneo as a field assistant. I was there for 5 and a half weeks, during which time I assisted Dan with his PhD fieldwork on onshore-offshore transitions of the Miocene sediments, in particular assessing whether processes were fluvial, tide or wave dominated (or some kind of crazy combination!). It was hard work, but immensely rewarding, and I was treated to being in an area with some of the best sedimentary geology I’ve ever seen. I also spent a lot of time moving house, finally watching The Wire (oh my goooooodddd) and preparing for the next stage of my education…

Sunset at our first Outcrop in Brunei.

Sunset at our first outcrop in Brunei.

…which nicely links in to my final update, also known as the big news; I am currently writing this post from my new chair, at my new desk, in my new pod (etc etc) as a PhD student of Imperial College London. Yup, I finally succumbed to the inevitable and decided to spend another three years at this fine institution. I know I’m being a bit self deprecating, but I am truly thrilled to be here. For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to undertake a PhD, and it does feel very surreal to actually be starting out on the long and winding road to being a Doctor of Palaeontology. The PhD application process was a long and stressful one and I’m sure there’ll be a blog post on here about it in the future, but I found a really excellent project and supervisor. I won’t say too much on what I’m doing as it’s bound to change even within the first few weeks, but my current line of study is looking at assessing biodiversity in epicontinental seas, and specifically looking at taphonomic, environmental and anthropological bias and ecosystem patterns to see if generating diversity curves for these environments is even possible in the first place. It’s daunting to put it mildly; it’ll entail generating an enormous database that will be used for statistical analysis and a lengthy spell of time in the field traversing from New Mexico up to Ontario. But where’s the fun in doing something easy?

The Western Interior Seaway during the Campanian, the Epicontinental sea I will be focusing on for my project.

The Western Interior Seaway during the Campanian, the Epicontinental sea I will be focusing on for my project.

But where does this leave this blog? Well I think I’m going to follow in the fine tradition set by my fellow palaeontology colleague Jon and have this blog carry on into my PhD life. The aim of breaking down what I’m doing and explaining it to a non scientific audience will be exactly the same, but I’ll also be documenting life as a PhD student in London and hopefully giving you all an insight into what it’s like and how the process is carried out. And hopefully I’ll be a bit better at updating these things!

I’ve talked enough for now, so I’ll leave you for the time being. A good start all round.

Todays’ post title comes from this great song.

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3 responses to “Ready To Start: Old News and New Beginnings

  1. Hey, quicky: We asked the dudes at PLoS the other day, and they said they’re fine if you want to submit a pre-print to something like arXiv, Figshare, or PeerJ, and still submit to them. (It’s the pre-peer reviewed version of your manuscript, which you ‘publish’ for free). Richard should be able to give you a few more details if you’re up for it!

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    • Interesting! I may well do that then. I think the results might change a little bit anyway as I am redoing the analysis counting for additional stuff, but as a preliminary report I would like to put it up and at least generate some interest. Will chat to Richard/Phil about it. Thanks!

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  2. Brilliant blog! Guess you had a good day! Got box for your Wii stuff so all dust free! Had my yearly check up at hospital – all ok, don’t have to go back till next October! Have a good evening, love mum x

    Sent from my iPhone

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