Comparative breathing mechanics in the Archosauria

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Earth Atmospheric and Env Sciences

Abstract

The origin of Aves in one of the great transitions in vertebrate evolution. Modern birds possess a highly derived respiratory system with a rigid lung with air sacs that evolved from their dinosaur ancestors. Understanding the evolution of these respiratory structures is complicated as soft tissues rarely fossilise so inference must be made from skeletal elements and computational reconstruction techniques. Hard skeletal remains known to relate to respiratory mechanics (uncinate processes and gastralia) are well known but poorly described in the Archosuar fossil record. In this project we will combine functional morphometrics with state of the art imaging scanning and physiological techniques to develop a 3-Dimensional model of the evolution of respiratory mechanics in the lineage to modern birds. This project will combine data from museum collections with high performance computing to allow unprecedented insights into the functioning of these basal structures.

Publications

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Brocklehurst RJ (2018) Vertebral morphometrics and lung structure in non-avian dinosaurs. in Royal Society open science

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Brocklehurst RJ (2017) Rib kinematics during lung ventilation in the American alligator (): an XROMM analysis. in The Journal of experimental biology

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011208/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1618718 Studentship BB/M011208/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2019 Robert Brocklehurst
 
Description XROMM of Breathing in Archosaurs 
Organisation Brown University
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Expertise in 3D modelling and data analysis. Intellectual input into the project, and resulting publications.
Collaborator Contribution Access to equipment, expertise and training (world leaders in the application of XROMM technology). Also included access to data and intellectual input.
Impact The main outcome of this collaboration is in the form of scientific papers, the first of which is already published (10.1242/jeb.156166) and several others are in preparation.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Interview for i24News 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interviewed about my research on a live TV broadcast for the i24News channel.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Interview with New Scientist 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interviewed by New Scientist magazine regarding my research. Resulting article was published online and in print
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.newscientist.com/article/2183495-bird-like-lungs-may-have-helped-dinosaurs-rule-the-worl...
 
Description Interview with Science magazine 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interviewed by Science magazine about my research. Article published online and in print.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/10/superlungs-gave-dinosaurs-energy-run-and-fight?
 
Description PDS in the Pub 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact ~20 postgraduate students attended an informal talk on my PhD research. The event involved students with backgrounds in both sciences and humanities. There were questions and discussion afterwards.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Palaeontology Online Article 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Wrote a piece on my PhD research for the website www.palaeontologyonline.com, which is aimed at non-specialists interested in any aspect of palaeontology. Friends and colleagues who read the piece, including those who did not have a background in science, asked questions afterwards and expressed increased interest in the subject area.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.palaeontologyonline.com/articles/2017/fossil-focus-archosaur-respiratory-system-breathin...