Jennifer Botha-Brink

Department of Karoo Palaeontology
National Museum
PO Box 266
(w): +27 (0) 51 447 9609

Research Themes


Research Interests

My research interests are in Permo-Triassic palaeobiology and palaeoecology, focusing on the life history responses of extinct vertebrates to environmental change. Using the Permo-Triassic Mass Extinction (PTME) as a model, I use a variety of techniques, including biostratigraphy, morphology and osteohistology, to test theories regarding differential species survival during mass extinctions. The Karoo Basin of South Africa contains the most complete record of the Permo-Triassic Mass Extinction on land and as such provides a unique opportunity for investigating the dynamics of the post-extinction environment during the Early Triassic.One of my special interests is osteohistology, the study of fossil bone microstructure. The palaeohistology of fossil animals is one of the most powerful avenues for investigating the biology of extinct vertebrates. Given its ability to provide novel information about the phylogenetic, ontogenetic and functional components of fossil hard tissues, this technique can deliver fresh insight into the palaeobiology and palaeoecology of the Karoo vertebrates associated with the Permo-Triassic Mass Extinction. I use palaeohistology as an investigative technique for testing hypotheses about the biology of Permo-Triassic vertebrates associated with the extinction event in South Africa and the differential survival of those living during the harsh, arid, unpredictable post-extinction environment. In this way, I aim to assess the manner in which vertebrate life history traits change in response to dramatic environmental perturbation.


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