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Shawn O'Donnell



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Personal profile

Research Interests

I am interested in biological, anthropological and geological perspectives on approaching the question Why are things the way they are? These interests encompass the historical development of and processes that shape present and past patterns of biodiversity, as well as our roles in those processes and in biodiversity conservation. I am particularly interested in present-day tropical botany and forest ecology, as well as palaeobotanical examination of vegetation history, human-environment interactions and phytogeography. I am developing three strands of research along a current and future career path: using late Quaternary fossil pollen sequences to track impacts of past land use upon vegetation histories and to provide extended baseline data for conservation prioritisation and ecological restoration; using the Cenozoic plant fossil record to examine inter-plate dispersals of tropical angiosperm clades; and using modern pollen as a taxonomic tool in the context of plant conservation.


  • International Science and Engineering Excellence Award, Queen Mary University of London, 2016-17.
  • Graduate Research Fellowship, Association for Environmental Archaeology, UK, 2015.
  • Evans Fellowship, Division of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge, 2011 & 2013.
  • Smuts Research Grant, Commonwealth Studies, University of Cambridge, 2011.

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Research Output

An 11 000-year-old giant muntjac subfossil from Northern Vietnam: implications for past and present populations

Stimpson, C. M., Utting, B., O'Donnell, S., Huong, N. T. M., Kahlert, T., Manh, B. V., Khanh, P. S. & Rabett, R. J., 13 Mar 2019, In : Royal Society Open Science. 6, 3, 18 p., 181461.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
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