Jeffrey R Thompson

Jeffrey R Thompson
Natural History Museum, London · Department of Earth Sciences

PhD

About

66
Publications
10,722
Reads
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326
Citations
Introduction
My interests center on macroevolutionary trends in the history of life, and much of my work uses echinoderms as a model system. I am interested in the interplay between development and evolution, including the evolution of genetic regulatory networks that direct development. I also have active research focusing on mass extinction events, paleoecology and taphonomy. I implement interdisciplinary approaches in my work from analysis of fossil specimens to genomic analysis and developmental biology.
Additional affiliations
March 2019 - present
University College London
Position
  • Fellow
September 2018 - February 2019
Baylor University
Position
  • PostDoc Position
August 2013 - August 2018
University of Southern California
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (66)
Article
Full-text available
Establishing a timeline for the evolution of novelties is a common, unifying goal at the intersection of evolutionary and developmental biology. Analyses of gene regulatory networks (GRNs) provide the ability to understand the underlying genetic and developmental mechanisms responsible for the origin of morphological structures both in the developm...
Article
Full-text available
Echinoids, or sea urchins, are rare in the Palaeozoic fossil record, and thus the details regarding the early diversification of crown group echinoids are unclear. Here we report on the earliest probable crown group echinoid from the fossil record, recovered from Permian (Roadian-Capitanian) rocks of west Texas, which has important implications for...
Article
Mechanistic understanding of evolutionary divergence in animal body plans devolves from analysis of those developmental processes that, in forms descendant from a common ancestor, are responsible for their morphological differences. The last common ancestor of the two extant subclasses of sea urchins, i.e., euechinoids and cidaroids, existed well b...
Article
Full-text available
The Permian–Triassic bottleneck has long been thought to have drastically altered the course of echinoid evolution, with the extinction of the entire echinoid stem group having taken place during the end-Permian mass extinction. The Early Triassic fossil record of echinoids is, however, sparse, and new fossils are paving the way for a revised inter...
Article
The Permian is regarded as one of the most crucial intervals during echinoid evolution because crown group echinoids are first widely known from the Permian. New faunas provide important information regarding the diversity of echinoids during this significant interval as well as the morphological characterization of the earliest crown group and lat...
Article
The echinoids of the order Bothriocidaroida represent the initial burst of sea urchin diversification. They were the first echinoids to achieve widespread biogeographical dispersal and achieved high levels of species richness compared to other clades of stem group echinoids. Following long-standing controversy regarding their phylogenetic affinitie...
Article
Full-text available
Echinoids are key components of modern marine ecosystems. Despite a remarkable fossil record, the emergence of their crown group is documented by few specimens of unclear affinities, rendering their early history uncertain. The origin of sand dollars, one of its most distinctive clades, is also unclear due to an unstable phylogenetic context. We em...
Article
Echinoderms are characterized by a distinctive high-magnesium calcite endoskeleton as adults, but elements of this have been drastically reduced in some groups. Herein, we describe a new pentaradial echinoderm, Yorkicystis haefneri n. gen. n. sp., which provides, to our knowledge, the oldest evidence of secondary non-mineralization of the echinoder...
Article
Full-text available
The fossil record is notoriously imperfect and biased in representation, hindering our ability to place fossil specimens into an evolutionary context. For groups with fossil records mostly consisting of disarticulated parts (e.g., vertebrates, echinoderms, plants), the limited morphological information preserved sparks concerns about whether fossil...
Preprint
Full-text available
Echinoids are key components of modern marine ecosystems. Despite a remarkable fossil record, the emergence of their crown group is documented by few specimens of unclear affinities, rendering their early history uncertain. The origin of sand dollars, one of its most distinctive clades, is also unclear due to an unstable phylogenetic context. We em...
Article
Full-text available
Free-swimming planktonic larvae are a key stage in the development of many marine phyla, and studies of these organisms have contributed to our understanding of major genetic and evolutionary processes. Although transitory, these larvae often attain a remarkable degree of tissue complexity, with well-defined musculature and nervous systems. Amongst...
Article
The Cincinnatian (Katian) of the Cincinnati Tri-State area is widely regarded as one of the most fossiliferous sections known (Meyer and Davis, 2009). Echinoderms from these strata include well-described asteroids, crinoids, cyclocystoids, edrioasteroids, glyptocystoids, mitrates, and ophiuroids. John Pope discovered a partially articulated echinod...
Article
Full-text available
Background Understanding the molecular and cellular processes that underpin animal development are crucial for understanding the diversity of body plans found on the planet today. Because of their abundance in the fossil record, and tractability as a model system in the lab, skeletons provide an ideal experimental model to understand the origins of...
Preprint
Full-text available
Free-swimming planktonic larvae are a key stage in the development of many marine phyla, and studies of these organisms have contributed to our understanding of major genetic and evolutionary processes. Although transitory, these larvae often attain a remarkable degree of tissue complexity, with well-defined musculature and nervous systems. Amongst...
Preprint
Full-text available
Understanding the molecular and cellular processes that underpin animal development are crucial for understanding the diversity of body plans found on the planet today. Because of their abundance in the fossil record, and tractability as a model system in the lab, skeletons provide an ideal experimental model to understand the origins of animal div...
Conference Paper
Although squamates have an extensive fossil record spanning over 242 million years, a substantial number of fossil squamate generic and specific diagnoses are based on isolated and often incompletely-preserved skeletal specimens. This apparent bias represents a major hurdle in understanding squamate evolution through geologic time, and is a consist...
Article
Full-text available
Phylogenomic and paleontological data constitute complementary resources for unravelling the phylogenetic relationships and divergence times of lineages, yet few studies have attempted to fully integrate them. Several unique properties of echinoids (sea urchins) make them especially useful for such synthetizing approaches, including a remarkable fo...
Article
Quantifying morphological evolution is key to determining the patterns and processes underlying the origin of phyla. We constructed a hierarchical morphological character matrix to characterize the radiation and establishment of echinoderm body plans during the early Paleozoic. This showed that subphylum-level clades diverged gradually through the...
Preprint
Full-text available
Several unique properties of echinoids (sea urchins) make them useful for exploring macroevolutionary dynamics, including their remarkable fossil record that can be incorporated into explicit phylogenetic hypotheses. However, this potential cannot be exploited without a robust resolution of the echinoid tree of life. We revisit the phylogeny of cro...
Article
Full-text available
The mass occurrence of turritelline gastropod shells from the Lower Miocene of southern Germany allows for detailed studies of their palaeoecology, transport mechanisms, preservation potentials and the reconstruction of nutrient regimes. Changes in the fabric of the gastropod‐dominated beds are used to reconstruct a generally deepening environment...
Article
The archaeocidarids comprise the most derived stem group echinoids and have long been regarded as closely related to the crown group. The fossil record of echinoids in the Palaeozoic is, however, poor, so details surrounding the initial divergence of crown group echinoids are not well constrained. In order to better understand the phylogenetic rela...
Article
Full-text available
The end-Permian mass extinction (∼252 Ma) was responsible for high rates of extinction and evolutionary bottlenecks in a number of animal groups. Echinoids, or sea urchins, were no exception, and the Permian to Triassic represents one of the most significant intervals of time in their macroevolutionary history. The extinction event was responsible...
Article
Full-text available
The multiplicity of cell types comprising multicellular organisms begs the question as to how cell type identities evolve over time. Cell type phylogenetics informs this question by comparing gene expression of homologous cell types in distantly related taxa. We employ this approach to inform the identity of larval skeletogenic cells of echinoderms...
Article
Reconstructing the evolutionary assembly of animal body plans is challenging when there are large morphological gaps between extant sister taxa, as in the case of echinozoans (echinoids and holothurians). However, the inclusion of extinct taxa can help bridge these gaps. Here we describe a new species of echinozoan, Sollasina cthulhu, from the Silu...
Article
A wealth of knowledge exists concerning echinoid substrate preference in recent and post-Paleozoic environments, however, relatively little is known of the environmental distribution and paleoecology of echinoids during the Paleozoic. The Paleozoic echinoids encompass the vast majority of the echinoid stem group, and were generally rare, but often...
Article
Many of the most diverse clades of Late Palaeozoic echinoids (sea urchins) originated in the Devonian period. Our understanding of diversity dynamics of these Late Palaeozoic clades are thus informed by new systematic descriptions of some of their earliest members. The Proterocidaridae are a diverse and morphologically distinct clade of stem group...
Article
We document a diverse ichnoassemblage from marine interbeds of the Lower Triassic terrestrial succession in the Houzhougongmiao (HZGM) section of Shaanxi Province, northwestern China. Integrated biostratigraphic data (bivalve, palynology and conchostracan) reveals that the ichnofossil-bearing marine beds are Griesbachian (Induan, Early Triassic) in...
Article
The relative influences of extrinsic compared to intrinsic drivers of evolutionary change have long been theorized and debated in the fossil record. Ecological recoveries from mass extinction events present records in which to examine these contrasts. Competition in a low diversity world, reproductive strategy, reconstruction of trophic systems and...
Article
Extinction and delayed recovery during the end-Permian extinction and Early Triassic has been linked to environmental instability brought on by volcanic outgassing and greenhouse conditions, but the relative importance of the myriad of environmental stressors at this time on recovery dynamics is not well understood. Previous workers have documented...
Article
Paleozoic echinoids are exceptionally rare, and little is known of their paleoenvironmental distribution. The echinoid fauna of the Fort Payne Formation (Late Osagean, Early Viséan) of south-central Kentucky is documented. Four genera, ? Archaeocidaris , Lepidocidaris, ? Lepidesthes , and an unidentified lepidocentrid, were recovered and represent...
Article
Articulated echinoids are rare in Palaeozoic strata. In order to gain a better understanding of palaeodiversity and community composition, it is more than useful to incorporate disarticulated specimens into estimates of such metrics. It has been demonstrated that disarticulated ossicles of echinoids from the post-Palaeozoic can be diagnostic at the...
Article
Full-text available
Diverse sampling of organisms across the five major classes in the phylum Echinodermata is beginning to reveal much about the structure and function of gene regulatory networks (GRNs) in development and evolution. Sea urchins are the most studied clade within this phylum, and recent work suggests there has been dramatic rewiring at the top of the s...
Article
A new species of the genus Archaeocidaris is described from the Marble Falls Formation of San Saba County, Texas, USA. This species, Archaeocidaris marmorcataractensis new species is the fourth species of Archaeocidaris described from relatively complete test material from the Pennsylvanian of North America. The test, spines and elements of the Ari...
Article
Crinoids were relatively unaffected by the end-Devonian Hangenberg mass extinction event. Major clades of Devonian durophagous fishes suffered significant extinctions, however, and the dominant surviving clades were biting or nipping predators. In part as a response to the Hangenberg event, early Mississippian crinoids underwent an adaptive radiati...
Article
Crinoid faunas from the Lower Devonian of South America are poorly known. Two new taxa are described from the Emsian Icla Formation at Cerro Kochis in the Cochabamba Department: the rhodocrinitid, Lutocrinus boliviaensis n. gen. n. sp. and Griphocrinus pirovanoi n. sp. Two additional camerates are reported from the Emsian Belèn Formation of the Alt...

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Projects

Projects (2)
Project
Echinoids (sea urchins) have long been used as a model group to understand the devastating effects of the end-Permian mass extinction on the macroevolutionary history of metazoans. The goal of this project is to revise our understanding of echinoid macroevolutionary dynamics using systematics, phylogenetic comparative methods, and estimates of paleodiversity to understand the role of the end-Permian mass extinction in shaping the post-Palaeozoic evolutionary history of sea urchins. Furthermore, by using echinoid paleodiversity and morphology, we hope to understand the environmental causes and consequences of species loss during the end-Permian extinction event.
Project
Paleo-biodiversity studies have become of increasing interest and numerous manuscripts have been published dealing with global diversity trends throughout the Phanerozoic. However, data used in these studies mostly derive from databases that may contain various biases and therefore distort statistical analysis. Moreover, Fossil Lagerstätten are commonly excluded although the quality of preservation and information is much better than in other deposits - fossil assemblages from Lagerstätten reflect the composition of former living communities to a much higher degree. The Phanerozoic is marked by two long-term cooling events. One of these is the Late Paleozoic Ice Age (LPIA) with its major onset in the middle to late Mississippian (Lower Carboniferous) and ending in the mid-Sakmarian (Permian). This project focuses on the paleo-biodiversity during the Upper Carboniferous (Pennsylvanian), i.e. during a large part of the LPIA. Instead of purely using information from databases three fossil Lagerstätten (here Lagerstätten is used in terms of exceptionally preserved fauna; e.g. original shell material, color patterns, delicate ornamentation, minute larval shells) are sampled. These localities were influenced by the glacio-eustatic regime during the LPIA and are, from the American Midcontinent, the Finis Shale (Virgilian) and the Buckhorn Asphalt Quarry (Desmoinesian) and, from the Appalachian Basin, the Kendrick Shale (Morrowan). One objective of this project is to study true biodiversities and ecological structures within deposits of exceptionally preserved fossils based on the fact that such deposits depict a more complete image of the original fossil assemblage than other localities. Stanley & Powell (2003) found that during the Pennsylvanian the rates of origination and extinction were depressed and that the global biodiversity remained relatively stable, whereas Alroy et al. (2008) found a general decrease in this period. Therefore, as the second objective, it will be tested if these previous results are visible in Lagerstätten from the Pennsylvanian as well: Do we also see depressed origination and extinction rates or decreasing biodiversity or are the results presented by Stanley & Powell (2003) and Alroy et al. (2008) caused by biases in their data, as for example by faunas of less quality of preservation? Furthermore, diversity dynamics will be studied by analyzing the Carboniferous-Permian faunal turnover. Which taxa control the diversities? The local marine paleo-temperatures within each profile will be investigated. Isotope-analyses will be carried out for the Finis Shale, the Buckhorn Asphalt Quarry, and the Kendrick Shale. Temperature and diversity will be cross correlated to shed light on the relation of temperature and biodiversity during the LPIA to answer the question 'How does the living environment react to global cooling?'.