Lecturer
School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sc
University College Cork
Cork
Ireland

T: +353-21-490-3000
E: maria.mcnamara@ucc.ie
                                                                    

1st May 2013 – present: Lecturer in Geology, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University College Cork, Ireland. Visiting Fellow at the School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, UK. Consultant at the Dept. of Geology & Geophysics, Yale University, CT, USA

Sept 2012 – April 2013: Researcher in Palaeobiology, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, UK

Oct 2009 – Aug 2012: Marie Curie Research Fellow, Dept. of Geology & Geophysics, Yale University, USA

Aug 2008 – Aug 2009: Geopark Geologist, Burren Geopark, Clare County Council, Ennistymon, Co. Clare, Ireland

Dec 2006 – July 2008: IRCSET Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Geological Sciences, University College Dublin, Ireland

Dec 2002 – Nov 2006: IRCSET Postgraduate Researcher, School of Geological Sciences, University College Dublin

June – Aug 2002: Volunteer Field Geologist, British Geological Survey, Murchison House, West Mains Rd., Edinburgh

Sept 1998 – June 2002: Bachelor of Earth Science (Hons), 1:1. Department of Geology, National University of Ireland

I work on the preservation and palaeobiology of exceptionally preserved fossils. My research lies at the interface of the geological, biological and physical sciences and encompasses the fields of taphonomy, anatomy, sedimentology, evolutionary biology, organic geochemistry, inorganic geochemistry and applied optics.

My research combines fossil-based and experimental approaches to investigating the processes of decay and soft tissue preservation that control patterns in the fossil record of various vertebrate and invertebrate taxa. Key research areas include:

(1) Lacustrine-hosted exceptional biotas

(2) Organic preservation of decay-prone tissues          

(3) Fossil structural colours

(4) Pigmentary colours in fossil insects and feathers                                  
 ProjectFunding
Body
Start DateEnd DateAward
Evolution of 3D photonic crystals.Irish Research Council01-MAR-1430-NOV-14€5,620.00
The Taphonomy of colour in fossil insects and feathers.European Union01-SEP-1331-AUG-17€100,000.00

Peer Reviewed Journals

 YearPublication
(2014)'Cryptic iridescence in a fossil weevil generated by single diamond photonic crystals'
Maria E. McNamara, Vinod Saranathan, Emma Locatelli, Heeso Noh, Derek Briggs, Patrick Orr, Hui Cao (2014) 'Cryptic iridescence in a fossil weevil generated by single diamond photonic crystals'. Journal Of The Royal Society Interface, 11 [DOI] [Details]
(2014)'A Jurassic ornithischian dinosaur from Siberia with both feathers and scales'
Godefroit, P,Sinitsa, SM,Dhouailly, D,Bolotsky, YL,Sizov, AV,McNamara, ME,Benton, MJ,Spagna, P (2014) 'A Jurassic ornithischian dinosaur from Siberia with both feathers and scales'. Science (New York, N.Y.), 345 :451-455 [DOI] [Details]
(2014)'What big eyes you have: the ecological role of giant pterygotid eurypterids'
Anderson, RP,McCoy, VE,McNamara, ME,Briggs, DEG (2014) 'What big eyes you have: the ecological role of giant pterygotid eurypterids'. Biology Letters, 10 [DOI] [Details]
(2013)'The fossil record of insect color illuminated by maturation experiments'
McNamara, M.E., Briggs, D.E.G., Orr, P.J., Gupta, N.S., Locatelli, E.R., Qiu, L., Yang, H., Wang, Z., Noh, H., Cao, H. (2013) 'The fossil record of insect color illuminated by maturation experiments'. Geology, [DOI] [Details]
(2013)'Experimental maturation of feathers: implications for reconstructions of fossil feather colour'
McNamara, M.E., Briggs, D.E.G., Orr, P.J.O., Field, D., Wang, Z. (2013) 'Experimental maturation of feathers: implications for reconstructions of fossil feather colour'. Biology Letters, [DOI] [Details]
(2013)'The taphonomy of colour in fossil insects and feathers'
McNamara, M.E. (2013) 'The taphonomy of colour in fossil insects and feathers'. Palaeontology, 56 :557-575 [DOI] [Details]
(2012)'The original colours of fossil beetles'
McNamara, M.E., Briggs, D.E.G., Orr, P.J., Noh, H., Cao, H. (2012) 'The original colours of fossil beetles'. Proceedings of The Royal Society B, 279 :1114-1121 [DOI] [Details]
(2012)'The controls on the preservation of structural color in fossil insects'
McNamara, M.E., Briggs, D.E.G., Orr, P.J. (2012) 'The controls on the preservation of structural color in fossil insects'. Palaios, 27 :443-454 [DOI] [Details]
(2012)'What controls the taphonomy of exceptionally preserved taxa – environment or biology? A case study using exceptionally preserved frogs from the Miocene Libros Konservat-Lagerstätte, Spain'
McNamara, M. E., Orr, P. J., Kearns, S., Alcalá, L., Anadón, P., Peñalver, E. (2012) 'What controls the taphonomy of exceptionally preserved taxa – environment or biology? A case study using exceptionally preserved frogs from the Miocene Libros Konservat-Lagerstätte, Spain'. Palaios, 27 :63-77 [DOI] [Details]
(2011)'Fossilized biophotonic nanostructures reveal the original colors of 47 million-year-old moths'
McNamara, M.E., Briggs, D.E.G., Orr, P.J., Wedmann, S., Noh, H., Cao, H. 2011. (2011) 'Fossilized biophotonic nanostructures reveal the original colors of 47 million-year-old moths'. Plos Biology, 9 [DOI] [Details]
(2011)'Biological controls upon the physical taphonomy of exceptionally preserved salamanders from the Miocene of Rubielos de Mora, northeast Spain'
McNamara, M.E., Orr, P.J., Manzocchi, T., Alcalá, L., Anadón, P. & Peñalver, E. (2011) 'Biological controls upon the physical taphonomy of exceptionally preserved salamanders from the Miocene of Rubielos de Mora, northeast Spain'. Lethaia, 45 :210-226 [DOI] [Details]
(2010)'Organic preservation of fossil musculature with ultracellular detail'
McNamara, M.E., Orr, P.J., Kearns, S., Alcalá, L., Anadón, P., Peñalver, E. (2010) 'Organic preservation of fossil musculature with ultracellular detail'. Proceedings of The Royal Society B, 277 :423-427 [DOI] [Details]
(2009)'Soft tissue preservation in Miocene frogs from Libros (Spain): Insights into the genesis of decay microenvironments'
McNamara, M. E., Orr, P. J., Kearns, S., Alcalá, L., Anadón, P., Peñalver, E. (2009) 'Soft tissue preservation in Miocene frogs from Libros (Spain): Insights into the genesis of decay microenvironments'. Palaios, 24 :104-117 [DOI] [Details]
(2009)'Exceptionally preserved tadpoles from the Miocene of Libros, Spain: Ecomorphological reconstruction and the impact of ontogeny upon taphonomy'
McNamara, M.E., Orr, P.J., Kearns, S., Alcalá, L., Anadón, P., & Peñalver, E. (2009) 'Exceptionally preserved tadpoles from the Miocene of Libros, Spain: Ecomorphological reconstruction and the impact of ontogeny upon taphonomy'. Lethaia, 43 :290-306 [DOI] [Details]
(2006)'High fidelity preservation of bone marrow in c. 10 million year old amphibians'
McNamara, M. E., Orr, P. J., Kearns, S., Alcalá, L., Anadón, P., Peñalver, E (2006) 'High fidelity preservation of bone marrow in c. 10 million year old amphibians'. Geology, 34 :641-644 [DOI] [Details]

Book Chapters

 YearPublication
(2010)'The Libros biota'
McNamara, M.E. (2010) 'The Libros biota' In: Geologia de Teruel. Teruel, Spain: Instituto de Estudios Turolenses. [Details]

Honours and Awards

 YearTitleAwarding Body
2010Palaios Best Paper of 2009 Palaios
2009British Science Association Charles Lyell Award for Science Communication British Science Association
2005Irish Geological Research Meeting Best Oral Presentation Irish Geological Association
2005The Palaeontological Association President's Prize The Palaeontological Association
2003The Palaeontological Association President's Prize The Palaeontological Association

Professional Associations

 AssociationFunctionFrom / To
The Palaeontological Association member/
International Palaeontological Association member/
Geological Society of America member/
Paleontological Society member/

Outreach Activities

 Description

August 2014: Presented modules on palaeontology as part of the UCC Eureka! Science summer camps for children (7-11 yrs). March 2014: Taught modules on palaeontology to secondary school students Feb 2014: featured in an episode of the BBC series: ‘Fossil wonderlands: nature’s hidden treasures’. Nov 2013: Hosted the ‘Prehistoric colours’ exhibit (see below) at the Geologists’ Association Festival of Geology, London. Nov 2013: Presented the ‘Prehistoric colours’ exhibit (see below) at the Discovery Science Festival, Cork. July 2013: Selected to exhibit at the 2013 Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition. I was the lead co-ordinator for ‘Prehistoric colours in fossil insects and feathers’. The exhibit was subsequently selected by the British Council to represent the UK at the World Science and Technology fair (Bangkok, Aug 2013). 2009 –2012: Volunteer at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, New Haven, CT 06520, USA. Delivered biweekly interactive classes entitled ‘Rocks and Minerals’ to schoolchildren. Participated in the annual 'Meet the Scientist' event at the annual Peabody Museum Open Day.
(4) Participated as a judge in the annual 'Paleoknowledge Bowl' (palaeontology competition for kindergarten schoolchildren). 2008– 2009: Developed geoscience modules for primary and second-level school students and geotourism-related businesses; co-ordinated a 7-day geoscience festival; developed educational materials for geosites within the Burren-Cliffs of Moher Geopark, Ireland. Published the following commercially available booklets through Burren Connect, Ennistymon, Co. Clare: (1) McNamara, M.E. & Hennessy, R.W. 2010. Stone, water and ice: the Geology of the Burren region, Ireland. 32 pp. (2) Hennessy, R.W., McNamara, M.E., & Hoctor, Z. 2010. Stone, water and ice: a geology trip through the Burren. 64 pp. (3) Hennessy, R.W., McNamara, M.E., & Hoctor, Z. 2010. Stone, water and ice: geoscience modules for primary level. 51 pp. + multimedia CD.