Thomas Cullen
Department of Geosciences
Assistant Professor

Research Areas: Paleobiology, Paleoecology, Paleoenvironments, Geochemistry, Sedimentology, Osteohistology

Office: 2055 Beard Eaves Coliseum

Lab: 2129 Beard Eaves Coliseum

Address: 2050 Beard Eaves Coliseum
Auburn, AL 36849

Phone: (334) 844-4934

Fax: (334) 844-4295



Ph.D., Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto
M.Sc., Earth Sciences, Carleton University
B.Sc., Earth Sciences, Carleton University

Professional Employment
Assistant Professor, Auburn University
2023 - Present
NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow, Carleton University
2021 - 2022
Postdoctoral Scholar, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Field Museum

Research and Teaching Interests

My research uses fossil and extant data from multiple spatiotemporal scales to understand ecosystem structure and interactions, the autecology and life history of the organisms within these systems, how they responded to environmental perturbations, and how these factors influenced macroevolutionary and biodiversity patterns in deep time contexts. I use a combination of research methods, both field- and lab-based, including geochemical analyses, osteohistology, multi-variate statistics and quantitative biodiversity metrics, sedimentology, morphometrics and taxonomy, and modern analogue ecological surveys.

If you are an undergraduate student, graduate student, or postdoc that is interested in working with me, please email me at to discuss opportunities.

Selected Publications

  1. Cullen, T.M., Longstaffe, F.J., Wortmann, U.G., Huang, L. and Evans, D.C., 2023. Anomalous 13C enrichment in Mesozoic vertebrate enamel reflects environmental conditions in a “vanished world” and not a unique dietary physiology. Paleobiology, pp.1-15.
  2. Cullen, T.M., Zhang, S., Spencer, J. and Cousens, B., 2022. Sr‐O‐C isotope signatures reveal herbivore niche‐partitioning in a Cretaceous ecosystem. Palaeontology65(2), p.e12591
  3. Cullen, T.M., Longstaffe, F.J., Wortmann, U.G., Huang, L., Fanti, F., Goodwin, M.B., Ryan, M.J. and Evans, D.C., 2020. Large-scale stable isotope characterization of a Late Cretaceous dinosaur-dominated ecosystem. Geology48(6), pp.546-551.
  4. Cullen, T.M., Canale, J.I., Apesteguía, S., Smith, N.D., Hu, D. and Makovicky, P.J., 2020. Osteohistological analyses reveal diverse strategies of theropod dinosaur body-size evolution. Proceedings of the Royal Society B287(1939), p.20202258.
  5. Cullen, T.M. and Evans, D.C., 2016. Palaeoenvironmental drivers of vertebrate community composition in the Belly River Group (Campanian) of Alberta, Canada, with implications for dinosaur biogeography. BMC Ecology16(1), pp.1-35.

Last updated: 01/27/2023