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Charles Marshall
Curator/Professor, Integrative Biology

Charles Marshall


Phone: (510) 642-1821

Web page:

His research: "I am interested in how paleontology informs our understanding of the history of life, especially the processes that control it," Charles says. He has broad research interests, including integrating both paleontological and molecular phylogenetic data to look at speciation and extinction rates at different times in the past. A confessed math-lover, he also develops quantitative methods to compensate for the incompleteness of the fossil record; his work looks at the rapidity and timing of mass extinctions, diversification, and the calibration of molecular clocks. His research also has a strong empirical component — he has published papers on the functional morphology of diverse taxa, including fossil plants, marine invertebrates, and the fish-amphibian transition. His current research examines the synergy of tectonic processes, climate change, and changes in diversity on geologic timescales, as well as the importance of new genomic data in our understanding of the Cambrian explosion.

Other interests: Charles enjoys teaching students at all levels and playing soccer. His favorite taxa include echinoderms and sarcopterygians (especially lungfish).


Contreras, D.L., I.A.P. Duijnstee, S.L. Ranks, C.R. Marshall, C.V. Looy. 2017. The evolution of dispersal strategies in conifers: convergence and divergence in the morphology of diaspores. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics. 24:93−117.  Read it

Barnosky, A.D., E.L. Lindsey, N.A. Villavicencio, J.E. Bostelmann, E.A. Hadly, J. Wanket, and C.R. Marshall. 2016. Variable impact of Late Quaternary defaunation in causing ecological state shifts in North and South America. PNAS. 113:856-861.  Read it

Barnosky, A.D., E.L. Lindsey, N.A. Villavicencio, J.E. Bostelmann, E.A. Hadly, J. Wanket, C.R. Marshall,. 2015. Variable impact of Late Quaternary defaunation in causing ecological state shifts in North and South America. PNAS 201505295  Read it

Huynh, T.L., D. Evangelista and C.R. Marshall. 2015. Visualizing the fluid flow through the complex skeletonized respiratory structures of a blastoid echinoderm. Palaeontologia Electronica 18.1.14A: 1-17.  Read it

Lindsey, E.L., N.A. Villavicencio, A.D. Barnosky, C.R. Marshall. The disappearance of Pleistocene megafauna from the South American pampas and the effects of different analytical methods on interpreting extinction dynamics. Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting. Dallas, TX. October 2015.

Marshall, C.R., E.L. Lindsey, N.A. Villavicencio, A.D. Barnosky. 2015. A quantitative model for distinguishing between climate change, human impact, and their synergistic interaction as drivers of the late-Quaternary megafaunal extinctions. In P.D. Polly, J.J. Head, and D.L. Fox (eds.), Earth-Life Transitions: Paleobiology in the Context of Earth System Evolution. The Paleontological Society Papers 21. Yale Press, New Haven, CT.

Valentine, J. W., and C. R. Marshall. 2015. Fossil and transcriptomic perspectives on the origins and success of metazoan multicellularity. Pp. 31-46 in I. Ruiz-Trillo, and A. M. Nedelcu (eds.) The evolution of multicellularity. Advances in Marine Genomics 2, Springer, Dordrecht.

Villavicencio, N.A., E.L. Lindsey, F. Martin, L. Borrero, P. Moreno, C.R. Marshall, A.D. Barnosky. 2015. Combination of humans, climate, and vegetation change triggered Late Quaternary megafauna extinction in the Ultima Esperanza region, southern Patagonia, Chile. Ecography, 38: 001-016.  Read it

Cllites, E.C., M.B. Goodwin, C.R. Marshall. 2014. Making the former USGS Menlo Park invertebrate collection digitally accessible through the University of California Museum of Paleontology. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol.46, No.6, p.701.  Read it

Barnosky, A. D., Nicholas Matzke, Susumu Tomiya, Guin Wogan, Brian Swartz, Tiago Quental, Charles Marshall, Jenny L. McGuire, Emily L. Lindsey, Kaitlin C. Maguire, Ben Mersey, Elizabeth A. Ferrer. 2011. Has the Earth's sixth mass extinction already arrived? Nature 471:51-57  Read it

Nagalingum, N.S., C.R. Marshall, T.B. Quental, H.S. Rai, D.P. Little and S. Mathews. 2011. Recent Synchronous Radiation of a Living Fossil. Science 334: 796-799.

Quental, T.B. and C.R. Marshall. 2011. The molecular phylogenetic signature of clades in decline. PLoS ONE 6(10): e25780. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0025780.

Vila, R., C.D. Bell, R. Macniven, B. Goldman-Huertas, R.H. Ree, C.R. Marshall, S. Balint, K. Johnson, D. Benyamini, and N. Pierce. 2011. Phylogeny and palaeoecology of Polyommatus blue butterflies show Beringia was a climate-regulated gateway to the New World. Proceedings of the Royal Society, B 278 doi: 10.1098/rspb.2010.2213.

Liow, L.H., T.B. Quental, and C.R. Marshall. 2010. When can decreasing diversification rates be detected with molecular phylogenies and the fossil record? Systematic Biology, 59:646-659.

Marshall, C.R. 2010. Marine biodiversity dynamics over deep time. Science, 329:1156-1157.

Marshall, C.R. 2010. The Next 150 Years: Towards a Richer Theoretical Biology. In: Evolution After Darwin: the First 150 Years, Bell, M.A., W.F. Eanes, D.J. Futuyma, J.S. Levinton (eds.). Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MA.

Marshall, C.R. 2010. Using confidence intervals to quantify the uncertainty in the end-points of stratigraphic ranges. In: Quantitative Methods in Paleobiology, J. Alroy and G. Hunt (eds.). The Paleontological Society Papers, 16:291-316.

Marshall, C.R. and J.W. Valentine. 2010. The importance of preadapted genomes in the origin of the animal bodyplans and the Cambrian explosion. Evolution, 64: 1189-1201.

Quek, S.-P., B.A. Counterman, P. Albuquerque de Moura, M.Z. Cardoso, C.R. Marshall, W.O. McMillan, and M.R. Kronforst. 2010. Dissecting comimetic radiations in Heliconius reveals divergent histories of convergent butterflies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 104:7134-7138.

Quental, T.B. and C.R. Marshall. 2010. Diversity dynamics: molecular phylogenies need the fossil record. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 25:434-441. Notes: Been the Featured article on the TREE web site since May, 2010

Schmidtling, R.C. and C.R. Marshall. 2010. Three dimensional structure and fluid flow through the hydropsire of the blastoid echinoderm, Pentremites rusticus. Journal of Paleontology, 84:109-117.