David Polly is associate director of the Environmental Resilience Institute and the Prepared for Environmental Change Grand Challenge initiative. A vertebrate paleontologist, evolutionary biologist and geologist by training, he studies how environmental change affects animals and plants and interacts with other systems, such as rivers and landscapes.
Polly works with fossil mammals from the Cenozoic Era — 65 million years ago to the present. He is an interdisciplinary scientist, rooted firmly in evolution biology, anatomy, ecology and geology. His research is on the evolutionary relationships of vertebrate animals and on their evolutionary and ecological responses to environmental change in Earth’s deep time history.
Polly received his B.A. in paleontology in the Plan II Program at the University of Texas-Austin in 1987 and his Ph.D. in paleontology from the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California-Berkeley in 1993. Previously he held positions at University of Michigan-Ann Arbor as well as St. Bartholomew’s and Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London.
Areas of Expertise
Paleontology, evolution, mammals, vertebrates, environmental change, morphometrics, phylogenetics, three-dimensional scanning, paleoecology, macroecology, quantitative paleontology.