Dr Daniel Thomas staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (09) 414 0800  ext. 43595

Dr Daniel Thomas PhD, BSc(Hons 1st Class) Geol, BSc(Hons 1st Class) Zool

Senior Lecturer in Zoology (Vertebrate)

Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences

I am an ornithologist and an applied chemist with a deep interest in evolutionary biology. I have followed my interests from New Zealand to South Africa and on the the United States, and I have studied modern and fossil birds, as well as ancient humans, dinosaurs and other groups. I am particularly interested in ancient events that have driven bird evolution. Birds have deep scientific and cultural importance for New Zealand and several species are high priorities for conservation. Exploring the evolutionary origins of New Zealand birds is the priority of my research at Massey University.

Professional

Contact details

  • Location: 5.11, Building 5
    Campus: Albany

Qualifications

  • Doctorate - University of Otago (2009)
  • Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours in Geology - University of Otago (2005)
  • Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours in Zoology - University of Otago (2005)

Prizes and Awards

  • Catalyst: Seeding General grant - Royal Society of New Zealand (2017)
  • Unlocking Curious Minds Funding - Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, New Zealand. (2017)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

Vertebrate Biology (060809)

Analytical Chemistry (030100)

Palaeontology (incl. Palynology) (040308)

Thematics

Resource Development and Management

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Analytical Chemistry (030100):
Biological Sciences (060000):
Chemical Science (030000):
Earth Sciences (040000): Geology (040300): Palaeontology (incl. Palynology) (040308):
Vertebrate Biology (060809): Zoology (060800)

Keywords

Chemometrics

Feather pigmentation

Raman spectroscopy

Vertebrate paleontology

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 3 2

Current Projects

Project Title: O tatou tamariki, nga Kaitiaki Taiao. Our children, our environmental guardians (Unlocking Curious Minds)

Date Range: 2017 - 2017

Funding Body: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Project Team:

Research Outputs

Journal

Thomas, DB., & Ksepka, DT. (2016). The Glen Murray fossil penguin from the North Island of New Zealand extends the geographic range of Kairuku. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand. 46(3-4), 200-213
[Journal article]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB., Hiscox, JD., Dixon, BJ., & Potgieter, J. (2016). 3D scanning and printing skeletal tissues for anatomy education. Journal of Anatomy. 229(3), 473-481
[Journal article]Authored by: Potgieter, J., Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB., Hauber, ME., Hanley, D., Waterhouse, GIN., Fraser, S., & Gordon, KC. (2015). Analysing avian eggshell pigments with Raman spectroscopy. Journal of Experimental Biology. 218(17), 2670-2674
[Journal article]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB. (2014). Ancient origins and multiple appearances of carotenoid-pigmented feathers in birds. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society. 281(1788), 20140806
[Journal article]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB., Nascimbene, PC., Dove, CJ., Grimaldi, DA., & James, HF. (2014). Seeking carotenoid pigments in amber-preserved fossil feathers. Scientific Reports. 4
[Journal article]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Canoville, A., Thomas, DB., & Chinsamy, A. (2014). Insights into the habitat of Middle Permian pareiasaurs (Parareptilia) from preliminary isotopic analyses. Lethaia. 47(2), 266-274
[Journal article]Authored by: Thomas, D.
France, CAM., Thomas, DB., Doney, CR., & Madden, O. (2014). FT-Raman spectroscopy as a method for screening collagen diagenesis in bone. Journal of Archaeological Science. 42(1), 346-355
[Journal article]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB., McGraw, KJ., James, HF., & Madden, O. (2014). Non-destructive descriptions of carotenoids in feathers using Raman spectroscopy. Analytical Methods. 6(5), 1301-1308
[Journal article]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB., & Ksepka, DT. (2013). A history of shifting fortunes for African penguins. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 168(1), 207-219
[Journal article]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB., McGoverin, CM., McGraw, KJ., James, HF., & Madden, O. (2013). Vibrational spectroscopic analyses of unique yellow feather pigments (spheniscins) in penguins. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. 10(83)
[Journal article]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB., Fordyce, RE., & Gordon, KC. (2013). Evidence for a krill-rich diet from non-destructive analyses of penguin bone. Journal of Avian Biology. 44(2), 203-207
[Journal article]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Ksepka, DT., & Thomas, DB. (2012). Multiple cenozoic invasions of Africa by penguins (Aves, Sphenisciformes). Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 279(1730), 1027-1032
[Journal article]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Chinsamy, A., Tunogllf, C., & Thomas, DB. (2012). Dental microstructure and geochemistry of Mosasaurus hoffmanni (Squamata: Mosasauridae) from the Late Cretaceous of Turkey. Bulletin de la Societe Geologique de France. 183(2), 85-92
[Journal article]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB., Chinsamy, A., Conard, NJ., & Kandel, AW. (2012). Chemical investigation of mineralisation categories used to assess taphonomy. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 361-362, 104-110
[Journal article]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Chinsamy, A., Thomas, DB., Tumarkin-Deratzian, AR., & Fiorillo, AR. (2012). Hadrosaurs Were Perennial Polar Residents. Anatomical Record. 295(4), 610-614
[Journal article]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB., & Fordyce, RE. (2012). Biological Plasticity in Penguin Heat-Retention Structures. Anatomical Record. 295(2), 249-256
[Journal article]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Fukuda, K., Thomas, DB., Frew, RD., & Fordyce, RE. (2012). Antarctic glaciation recorded in Early Miocene New Zealand foraminifera. Marine Micropaleontology. 92-93, 52-60
[Journal article]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB., McGoverin, CM., Chinsamy, A., & Manley, M. (2011). Near infrared analysis of fossil bone from the Western Cape of South Africa. Journal of Near Infrared Spectroscopy. 19(3), 151-159
[Journal article]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB., & Chinsamy, A. (2011). Chemometric analysis of EDXRF measurements from fossil bone. X-Ray Spectrometry. 40(6), 441-445
[Journal article]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB., Ksepka, DT., & Fordyce, RE. (2011). Penguin heat-retention structures evolved in a greenhouse Earth. Biology Letters. 7(3), 461-464
[Journal article]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB., McGoverin, CM., Fordyce, RE., Frew, RD., & Gordon, KC. (2011). Raman spectroscopy of fossil bioapatite - A proxy for diagenetic alteration of the oxygen isotope composition. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 310(1-2), 62-70
[Journal article]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Fordyce, RE., & Thomas, DB. (2011). Kaiika maxwelli, a new early eocene archaic penguin (Sphenisciformes, Aves) from Waihao Valley, South Canterbury, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics. 54(1), 43-51
[Journal article]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB., & Schallenberg, M. (2008). Benthic shear stress gradient defines three mutually exclusive modes of non-biological internal nutrient loading in shallow lakes. Hydrobiologia. 610(1), 1-11
[Journal article]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB., & Fordyce, RE. (2007). The heterothermic loophole exploited by penguins. Australian Journal of Zoology. 55(5), 317-321
[Journal article]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB., Fordyce, RE., Frew, RD., & Gordon, KC. (2007). A rapid, non-destructive method of detecting diagenetic alteration in fossil bone using Raman spectroscopy. Journal of Raman Spectroscopy. 38(12), 1533-1537
[Journal article]Authored by: Thomas, D.

Book

Burns, KJ., McGraw, KJ., Shultz, AJ., Stoddard, MC., & Thomas, DB. (2017). Advanced methods for studying pigments and coloration using avian specimens. In MS. Webster (Ed.) The Extended Specimen: Emerging Frontiers in Collections-Based Ornithological Research. (pp. 3.1 - 3.79). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press
[Chapter]Authored by: Thomas, D.

Conference

Chandler, L., Qian, J., Wu, O., & Thomas, DB. (2014). Novel 1064 dispersive confocal Raman microscope for pigment identification at sub-micron spatial scales. , SCIX Conference 2014
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB., & Ksepka, DT. (2014). The Glen Murray penguin, an Oligocene giant from the North Island. , Geosciences 2014 Conference
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB., James, HF., & McGraw, KJ. (2013). Non-destructive, in situ analysis of avian plumage pigments using Raman spectroscopy.. , Joint meeting of American Ornithologists’ Union and Cooper Ornithological Society
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB., McGraw, KJ., McGoverin, CM., & James, HF. (2013). Vibrational spectroscopic analyses of unique yellow feather pigments (spheniscins) in penguins.. , Joint meeting of American Ornithologists’ Union and Cooper Ornithological Society.
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Chandler, L., Qian, J., Wu, O., & Thomas, DB. (2013). Novel 1064 nm dispersive Raman spectrometer and Raman microscope for non-invasive pigment analysis.. , 7th International Conference on the application of Raman spectroscopy in Art and Archaeology Ljubljana, Slovenia: Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB., James, HF., Carrano, MT., & Madden, O. (2012). SEARCHING FOR EVIDENCE OF FOSSIL FEATHER COLOR WITH SPECTROSCOPY. In JOURNAL OF VERTEBRATE PALEONTOLOGY Vol. 32 (pp. 183 - 184). , 72nd Annual Meeting of the Society-of-Vertebrate-Paleontology: TAYLOR & FRANCIS INC
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB., McGoverin, CM., & Chinsamy, A. (2011). Near Infrared Spectroscopy of fossil antelope bone from South Africa. , 15th International Conference on Near Infrared Spectroscopy
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Ksepka, D., & Thomas, D. (2011). EVIDENCE FOR MULTIPLE CENOZOIC INVASIONS OF AFRICA BY PENGUINS (AVES, SPHENISCIFORMES). In JOURNAL OF VERTEBRATE PALEONTOLOGY Vol. 31 (pp. 139 - 139). : SOC VERTEBRATE PALEONTOLOGY
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, D., Brink, J., & Chinsamy-Turan, A. (2011). CHEMICAL EVIDENCE DEMONSTRATES A THERMAL SPRING DEPOSITIONAL ENVIRONMENT FOR THE FLORISBAD HOMININE SKULL. In JOURNAL OF VERTEBRATE PALEONTOLOGY Vol. 31 (pp. 204 - 204). : SOC VERTEBRATE PALEONTOLOGY
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB. (2010). Evolution of heat retention in penguins. , 70th Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Annual Meeting: Pittsburgh PA, USA
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Fox-Dobbs, K., Thomas, DB., & Koch, P. (2010). Paleoenvironmental and paleoecological interpretations of isotopic records derived from Eastern Beringian caribou antlers. , 70th Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Annual Meeting
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Chinsamy, A., Tumarkin-Deratzian, A., Thomas, DB., & Fiorillo, A. (2010). The bone microstructure of the polar hadrosaurs from the North Slope of Alaska. Oral presentation.. , 70th Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Annual Meeting
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB., Chinsamy, A., McGoverin, CM., & Manley, M. (2010). Fossil preservation at Swartklip 1 and Elandsfontein Main. , Langebaanweg 2010, changing landscapes and biotas of the Cape West Coast.
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB., McGoverin, CM., Fordyce, RE., Frew, RD., & Gordon, KC. (2009). Analytical quality of fossil bone established using Raman spectroscopy. , Climatic and Biotic Events of the Paleogene Conference
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, D., Gordon, K., Fordyce, RE., & Frew, R. (2008). RAMAN SPECTROSCOPY OF FOSSIL AND SYNTHETIC APATITES TRACKS DIAGENETIC ALTERATION IN FOSSIL BONE USED FOR ISOTOPE STUDIES. In JOURNAL OF VERTEBRATE PALEONTOLOGY Vol. 28 (pp. 151A - 152A). , 68th Annual Meeting of the Society-of-Vertebrate-Paleontology: SOC VERTEBRATE PALEONTOLOGY
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB., Fordyce, RE., & Frew, RD. (2007). Oxygen isotopic evidence for the evolution of the humeral plexus. , Sixth International Penguin Conference
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Thomas, D.
Thomas, DB., Fordyce, RE., & Frew, RD. (2007). Preliminary findings from an investigation into the origin of penguin wing regional heterothermy. , Fifth Conference on the Secondary Adaptations of Tetrapods to Life in Water,
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Thomas, D.

Supervision and Teaching

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
CoSupervisor 1 0

Teaching

Teaching Contributions

Current Doctoral Supervision

CoSupervisor of:

  • Wesley Webb - PhD
    Cultural evolution of song diversity in New Zealand bellbird (Anthornis melanura)

Media and Links

Media

  • 30 May 2014 - Online
    Smithsonian Science: Carotenoids in feathers
    http://smithsonianscience.org/2014/05/feather-pigments/
  • 28 Nov 2015 - Radio
    Fossil find reveals new giant penguin
    Radio New Zealand interview
  • 28 Nov 2014 - Newspaper
    Ancient penguin was a giant of NZ birdlife
    New Zealand Herald interview
  • 22 Apr 2013 - Online
    Smithsonian Science: Yellow Penguin Feathers
    http://smithsonianscience.org/2013/04/yellow-pigment-in-penguin-feathers-is-chemically-distinct-spectoscopic-studies-show/
  • 11 Sep 2014 - Newspaper
    Rare penguin fossil gets 3D scanning treatment
    Waikato Times interview

Other Links

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