Visiting Assistant Professor, Geology
David Birlenbach's research is focused on the intersection of evolution and ecology. His research utilizes the fossil record to better understand biotic and abiotic influences on the evolution of mammalian species and changes in community structure over time. He is also interested in the relationship between the morphology of extant organisms and their ecology. This has led to projects that deal with how shape and morphological features are used to predict aspects of an organism's niche, including its diet, size, and locomotion. One of the aims of this research is to leverage what is learned in modern systems to characterize the paleoecology of extinct organisms and track changes across time and space. His research blends fieldwork, museum collections, and a variety of analytical methods to better understand changes in Earth's systems and processes and how they affect mammals on geologic time scales.