Dr Robert Goodall

Microbial succession and diversity through decay as it relates to the fossil record, and dietary analysis in modern and fossil marine mammals using 3D microtextural anlaysis.
Robert Goodall 2 (cropped)

Honorary Research Fellow

Email: rhg10@le.ac.uk

Personal details

I am an Honorary Fellow, working as part of the Palaeobiology group, within the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment, at the University of Leicester. I recently finished my PhD investigating dietary variability in marine mammals and methodological variability in 3D microtextural analysis, and I have just finished my first Post-Doctoral position working with Professor Mark Purnell on research into decay and preservation of soft bodied fossils.

Current Research


I am currently working on two separate research topics.

I am investigating how microbial communities (bacteria, archaea, fungi) found in and around an animal change as it undergoes decay following death. I am focusing on Cephalochordates, specifically the lancelet (Amphioxus), amplifying specific genes (16S prokaryotes, ITS eukaryotes) from the microbial community to investigate how the species assemblage and abundances change through decay, both in the animal and in the surrounding sediment.

I am also carrying our research into marine palaeo-ecology based on tooth surface microtextures, and this is where my main research interest lies. Investigating the dietary evolution of marine mammals, specifically early whales (stem cetaceans, and stem mysticetes/odontocetes) from the Oligocene/Eocene.

Whale Evolution


  • Purnell, M, A., Goodall, R, H., Thomson, S., and Metthews, C, J, D. (In Press).Tooth microwear texture in odontocete whales: variation with tooth characteristics and implications for dietary analysis. Biosurface and Biotribology. doi:10.1016/j.bsbt.2017.11.004
  • Zhang, H., Wang, Y., Janis, C. M., Goodall, R. H., and Purnell, M. A. (2016). An examination of feeding ecology in Pleistocene proboscideans from southern China (Sinomastodon, Stegodon, Elephas), by means of dental microwear texture analysis. Quaternary International. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2016.07.011.
  • Goodall, R. H., Darras, L. P., and Purnell, M. A. (2015). Accuracy and precision of silicon based impression media for quantitative areal texture analysis. Scientific reports, 5. doi:10.1038/srep10800.

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