Donald Davesne

Donald Davesne

Postdoctoral Research Assistant
Tel: +44 (0) 1865 272026

I’m a palaeobiologist and systematist mainly interested in the assembly of modern vertebrate biodiversity, the reconstruction of phylogenies (evolutionary trees) and the evolution of morphological traits in deep time. My research focuses on teleosts, a group of ray-finned fishes representing half of extant vertebrates.

During my PhD (2012-2015), I investigated the phylogeny and early evolution of acanthomorph teleosts (spiny-rayed fishes), using a combination of morphological, palaeontological and molecular evidence. I later worked on the evolution of Lampridiformes (oarfish and allies), studying early fossil representatives to infer the evolution of morphological traits.

My current project aims to better understand the link between genotype and phenotype and its role in evolutionary diversification, in the specific case of the teleost whole-genome duplication. Using an innovative approach combining cutting-edge 3D histology and phylogenetic methods on a sample of Mesozoic fossils and extant representatives, the goal will be to precisely constraint this genomic event in time and in the evolutionary tree.


  • BSc Life Sciences (Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie, Paris, 2010)
  • MSc (Hons) Systematics, Evolution, Palaeobiodiversity (UPMC/Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris, 2012)
  • PhD “The phylogeny of acanthomorph teleosts: palaeontological and molecular approaches” (Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris, Sept. 2015)
  • NERC postdoctoral research assistant, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford (Feb.-Sept. 2016)
  • Leverhulme postdoctoral research assistant, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford (Oct. 2016-)
  • Junior Research Fellow, Wolfson College, University of Oxford (Jan. 2017-)


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