I am a quantitative palaeobiologist and ecologist, and Assistant Professor of Paleobiology at Auburn University. I started off in my hometown of Ottawa, Canada, attending Carleton University for a BSc and MSc in Earth Sciences while working at the Canadian Museum of Nature, before doing my PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto and Royal Ontario Museum. I followed that with postdoctoral work at the Field Museum in Chicago, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, and then an NSERC postdoctoral fellowship back at Carleton University, prior to my current position in Auburn. In 2020 I was also elected to the College of Fellows of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
My research uses fossil and extant data from multiple spatiotemporal scales to understand ecosystem structure and interactions, the autecology and life history of the organisms within these systems, how they responded to environmental perturbations, and how this influenced macroevolutionary and biodiversity patterns.
My current primary focus is the terrestrial ecosystems of North America during the Middle to Late Cretaceous, as this was a period of high biodiversity, frequent environmental changes and faunal turnovers, unusual biogeographic patterns in large vertebrates, and was truncated by a major mass extinction. To answer my research questions I use a combination of tools, including quantitative biodiversity ordinations, stable isotope analyses, osteohistology, sedimentology, morphometrics, and modern analogue ecological studies.
In addition to my research, I am heavily involved in educational & public outreach programs, as well as museum exhibit and education program development. I also pursue photography as a hobby & use it to document the interesting places my work takes me.
Students and postdocs interested in working in my lab can reach out to me via the 'Contact Me' page, or by contacting me using the email address listed on my Auburn faculty page: https://www.auburn.edu/cosam/departments/geosciences/geosciences-faculty/cullen/index.htm.