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UCMP welcomes Charles Marshall

Charles Marshall
Charles Marshall
 
This January, we welcome Charles Marshall as the new Director of the UCMP! Charles joins the faculty of the Department of Integrative Biology, coming from Harvard, where he was a Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, as well as a curator of Invertebrate Paleontology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Originally from Australia, Charles did his undergraduate work at the Australian National University and his Masters and Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. He is excited to be living in California — "It's fun to be back in an actively tectonic setting—you can feel the geology around you!"

"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 favorite taxa include echinoderms and sarcopterygians (especially lungfish). 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.

In addition to solving such complex problems, Charles enjoys teaching students at all levels and playing soccer. Charles' wife, Swee Peck Quek, is also a biologist, and is a Berkeley alum, with a B.A. in Integrative Biology. She also holds a Ph.D. in Biology from Harvard and a M.Sc. in Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health. Charles and Swee Peck are expecting their first child in February. Join us in welcoming Charles and his growing family to the UCMP community!

Thanking Roy Caldwell

Roy's cake
 
At the close of 2009, Roy Caldwell stepped down from his position as UCMP Director. Roy served as Interim Director in 2005 and was appointed full Director the following year. His administrative experience and skills, enhanced by his quiet wisdom and passion for science, were a good match for UCMP and provided the leadership qualities needed during tough economic times. Thankfully, Roy isn't going anywhere — he will continue to serve as a Faculty Curator at the museum, as PI of both the Understanding Evolution and Understanding Science projects, and he remains a professor in the Department of Integrative Biology. The UCMP held a party in Roy's honor at the end of December and presented him with a cast of a Smilodon skull — a small token of appreciation for all that he has done for UCMP. Many, many thanks, Roy!

See more photos from Roy's party on Flickr.
 

Photo of Charles Marshall by Swee Peck Quek; cake photo by Jennifer Skene