Changing Environments, Biotas and Ecosystems Through Time, Emphasizing the Proterozoic Eon (2500-545 million ybp) and the Late Mesozoic to mid-Cenozoic Eras (120-30 million ybp)
Patricia Vickers-Rich’s research centers on understanding the changes in the biota of Earth during the late Proterozoic, at a time when complex animals first appeared and the major animal phyla were differentiating. Her studies look for correlations between such biotic change, ocean chemistry, climate and plate tectonic effects on continental relationships and ocean basin geography. Her work also on the development of the modern Australian biota involves an understanding of its origins in the late Mesozoic and Cenozoic, noting the events over the past 150 million years, where Australia at first lay alongside Antarctica far south of its present position, then severed its ties and drifted in isolation north from its polar and cool temperate position and now into the arid horse latitudes and tropics. Her field areas include SW Africa (particularly Namibia in a joint program with the Namibian Geological Survey), the Eastern European Platform including the White Sea and Siberia (in conjuncion with the Paleontological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences), NW Argentina and the Flinders Range of South Australia (with the South Australian Museum). She also works with Tom Rich (Museum Victoria) on the polar biotas of Southern Australia of Early Cretaceous age and is involved in public science education, bringing cutting edge science into primary and secondary schools, refugee camps in destabilized areas of the world. She is the Founding Director of the Monash Science Centre on the Clayton campus of Monash University.
O Mundo PerdidoTimor-Leste's Lost World Exhibition
Prof. P. Vickers-Rich
A joint project with the Monash Science Centre to set up an exhibition on the geologic history of Timor-Leste for the Timorese as a beginning for the restoration of the National Museum of Timor-Leste. Primary funding for this from ConocoPhillips allowed both exhibition work and field expeditions to collect material, which assisted in postgraduate joint field work between Monash University and the University of Western Australia. Other funding provided by Monash University and logistics by the Australian Defence Force.
The Rise and Fall of the Ediacaran Biota: The Namibian conclusion?
Prof. Patricia Vickers-Rich, K. H. Hoffmann, Prof. Mike Hall, Dr Mikhail Fedonkin, Dr Soren Jensen, Prof. Ulf Linnemann, National Geographic Society ($US29,500), 2008-2009.
A project which explores the environmental and biotic factors that led to the extinction of the successful Ediacaran biota of the Neoproterozoic some 540 million years ago examining the youngest of these metazoan assemblages in west Africa. Several undergraduate and graduate student projects are part of this project)
The Rise and Fall of the Vendian (Ediacaran) biota.
Prof. Patricia Vickers-Rich, Dr Mikhail Fedonkin, Dr Jim GehlingUNESCO International Geological Correlation Project 493, 2003-2009. ($350,000+)
Funding provided by grants from the UNESCO IGCP program, exhibition income and corporate/private support. In kind support for logistics from the Saudi Arabian Geological Survey, the Namibian Geological Survey, the Paleontological Institute (Russia), and the University of Tucuman in excess of $100,000. Website: www.geosci.monash.edu.au/precsite This project has been a multidisciplinary and multinational project involving 26 countries and more than 120 research scientists and students examining and refining the understanding of Neoproterozoic sedimentary sequences bearing early metazoans. It has resulted in two professional books, several international conferences and a significant collection of original research publications.
Was there an unusual environment with equally remarkable inhabitants in Early Cretaceous southeast Australia?
Prof. P. Vickers-Rich, Dr T. Rich, L. Kool, N. van Klaveren, D. Pickering
After more than two decades of effort, there is strong evidence that Early Cretaceous southeastern Australia was inhabited by a remarkably diverse polar terrestrial vertebrate fauna adapted to the coldest environment known to have existed anywhere in the late Mesozoic. In this unusual terrestrial habitat for that time, temnospondyl amphibians and allosaurid dinosaurs survived long after becoming extinct elsewhere. Here, too, are found what may be the oldest known and yet remarkably advanced placental mammals, the group to which we belong. To further corroborate or refute these hypotheses, some of which are highly contentions, is the aim of this project.