Prof David Harper, BSc, ARSM (Imperial College, London) 1975, PhD (Queen’s University, Belfast) 1979, DSc (Queen’s University, Belfast) 2005, C.Geol., EurGeol.
Postdoctoral Fellow (University of Oslo) 1980
Postdoctoral Fellow (University of Dundee) 1981-1984
Lecturer-Reader in Palaeontology and Stratigraphy (University College, Galway) 1984-1998
Professor in Palaeontology (University of Copenhagen) 1998-2011
Deputy Head-Head of Geology (Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen) 2002-2011
Elected Foreign Member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, 2004
Einstein Professor, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2008.
Principal of Van Mildert College, Durham University
Career Research Highlights
My initial research on the stratigraphy and palaeontology of the Ordovician rocks of the Girvan district was largely monographic and was recognised by the Clough Memorial Award from the Edinburgh Geological Society. The description of Palaeozoic Brachiopoda using both conventional and statistical methodologies continues to be a focus of my research. The former led to an invitation to jointly revise with Sir Alwyn Williams various groups of Brachiopoda for the 'Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology'; the latter has led to the development of microcomputer software - 'PALSTAT' package, which has now been completely rewritten and relaunched as 'PAST' in collaboration with Dr Øyvind Hammer (University of Oslo). The integration of such data into models of global biostratigraphy together with those for the environmental and spatial distributions of the phyla are continuing objectives within my research programme. This programme has been recognised with the award of the Lyell Fund from the Geological Society. Currently my main research interests have been modified regionally to include studies on the Lower Palaeozoic rocks in NE and N Greenland, Chile, China (including Tibet), Denmark, Estonia, Norway and Russia and my research in Greenland has been recognized by the award of Crown Prince Frederik's Fund. During the last ten years my focus has moved to target some of the larger scale processes in the history of life. Together with a range of colleagues, new models for biotic change and distributions through the Early Palaeozoic, particularly targeting the Cambrian Explosion, Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event and the end-Ordovician extinction, are being developed and their relationships to climatic and environmental changes are being assessed through a range of multidisciplinary techniques.
Committee and society service
- Editor, for the Palaeontological Association's journal, Palaeontology (1996-2002).
- Associate Editor, Geological Journal (1998-), Swiss Journal of Geosciences (2004-), Palaeoworld (2005-), Paleontological Contributions (2008-).
- Advisory editor, Journal of the Geological Society, London (2009-).
- Editor, Lethaia (2003-).
- Vice President Irish Geological Association (1996-1998).
- Vice President Palaeontological Association (2002-4), Chair of Publications Board (2004-8).
- Co-leader IGCP (UNESCO) project 503 (2004-2009).
- Member of IGCP (UNESCO) scientific panel (2007-).
- Voting member of the International Ordovician Subcommission (2004-) and International Commission for Stratigraphy (2008-).
- President, International Palaeontological Association (2006-2010).
- Chairman, International Subcommission on Ordovician Stratigraphy (2008-).
- Member of Earth Sciences panel, Swedish Research Council (2005-2009; 2012-).
- External examiner, University College Cork (2007-2010: BSc), University of Leicester (2008-12: BSc and MGeol), National University of Ireland, Galway (2010-2013: BSc), University College, Dublin (2013-2016: BSc).
- Member of evaluation panel of Earth Science Research Centres in Portugal (2008-2009).
- Vice President, Palaeontographical Society (2012-).
- NERC Peer Review College (2012-).
Recent major grants
- Geocenter København (Geocenter Copenhagen): Mapping Denmark's and Greenland's palaeobiodiversity: An integrated database for Denmarks and Greenlands fossils. 400,000 DKK. 2006-2007.
- Forskningsrådet for Natur og Univers (Danish Research Council): Rapid transitions from Greenhouse-Icehouse-Greenhouse climates 440 million year ago: New investigations of the palaeotropics in Early Palaeozoic North Greenland. 850,000 DKK. 2006.
- Forskningsrådet for Natur og Univers (Danish Research Council): Fossil microorganisms and ultrastructures in time and space (SEM equipment). 850,000 DKK. 2006.
- INTERREG IIIA, Øresundsregionen: Integrated Higher Education in Geology (with Prof. Per Ahlberg, Lunds Universitet, Sverige). 500,000 SEK. 2006-2007.
- Geocenter København (Geocenter Copenhagen): Monsters from deep time: Exhibition on Sirius Passet fossils. 450,000 DKK. 2007-2009.
- TK-Foundation (Galathea III expedition). Ordovician in the roots of the Andes (with Prof. Lars Stemmerik). 300,000 DKK. 2007.
FNU (Danish Research Council) The Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event (GOBE). DKK 4,000,000 DKK. 2008-2012.
Geocenter Copenhagen: Expedition to Peary Land: Sirius Passet fauna and the Cambrian explosion. DKK 1,300,000. 2009.
- Carlsberg Foundation: Aspects of Modern and Ancient diversity on the Tibetan Plateau. 500,000 DKK. 2010.
- Carlsberg Foundation: The Dawn of Phanerozoic ecosystems. DKK 500,000. 2011.
- Agouron Institute: The Cambrian Explosion in the Sirius Pass, North Greenland. DKK 900,000. 2011 (co applicant with Prof. Don Canfield).
- FNU (Danish Research Council): Unravelling early animal evolution. DKK 2,000,000. 2012-2014.
- Fossil brachiopods, their taxonomy, distribution, ecology and phylogeny.
- Major events in the history life, e.g. Cambrian Explosion, Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event and end Ordovician extinction
- Numerical methods in palaeontology
Selected conferences and workshops
- Organiser of Annual Meeting of Palaeontological Association, University College, Galway, December 1995.
- Co-organiser of Annual Irish Geological Research Meeting, University of Galway, February 1998.
- Co-convener 'History of Biodiversity', Geosciences 2000, Manchester, April 2000.
- Co-convener 'Biostratigraphy and Biogeography', Millennium Brachiopod Congress, London, July 2000.
- Co-convener 'Tropics through Time', Annual Geological Society of America Meeting, Reno, Nevada, November 2000.
- Organizer of the Annual Meeting of the Palaeontological Association, Copenhagen December 2001.
- Co-organizer '4th Gilbert Larwood Symposium', Copenhagen, December 2002.
- Co-convener 'Environmental and biological impact of the end Ordovician glaciation', EUG 2003, Nice.
- Organizer 5th International Brachiopod Congress, Copenhagen, July 2005.
- Organizer Final Meeting of IGCP 503, Copenhagen, August-September 2009.
- Co-chair of science and vice-chair of executive committees for the 3rd International Palaeontological Congress, London, June-July 2010.
- Co-convener 'International Subcommission on Ordovician stratigraphy: Ordovician intercontinental correlations: developing global and regional chronostratigraphy', International Geological Congress, Brisbane, August 2012.
- Co-convener 'Out of Our Depth: The Paleontology, Ichnology, and Sedimentology of Deeper Water Environments in the Ancient Tropics', Annual Geological Society of America Meeting, Charlotte, North Carolina, November 2012.
Department of Earth Sciences
Book chapters: online
- Stouge, S., Boyce, W.D. Christiansen, J.L. Harper, D.A.T. & Knight, I. (2013). Development of the Lower Cambrian–Middle Ordovician Carbonate Platform: North Atlantic Region. In The great American carbonate bank: The geology and economic resources of the Cambrian-Ordovician Sauk megasequence of Laurentia. Derby, J. R., Fritz, R.D., Longacre, S.A. Morgan, W.A. & Sternbach, C.A. AAPG Memoir. 98: 597-626.
- Rasmussen, C.M.O., Harper, D.A.T. & Blodgett, R.B. (2012). Late Ordovician Brachiopods from West-Central Alaska: systematics, ecology and palaeobiogeography. Fossils and Strata 58, Wiley-Blackwell.
- Benton, M.J. & Harper, D.A.T. (2009). Introduction to Paleobiology and the Fossil Record.
Edited works: journals
- Donovan, S.K. & Harper, D.A.T. (2011). Early Palaeozoic ecosystems, environments and evolution. Geological Journal, 46
- Munnecke, A., Calner, M. & Harper, D.A.T. (2010). Early Palaeozoic sea level and climate. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 296 Elsevier.
- Cusack, M. & Harper, D.A.T. (2008). Brachiopod Research into the Third Millennium. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh: Earth and Environmental Sciences, 98
- Harper, D.A.T., Nielsen, C. & Long, S.L. (2008). Brachiopoda: Fossil and Recent. Fossils and Strata, 54
Journal papers: academic
- Topper, T.P., Skovsted, C.B., Harper, D.A.T. & Ahlberg, P. (2013). A Bradoriid and Brachiopod Dominated Shelly Fauna from the Furongian(Cambrian) of Västergötland, Sweden. Journal of Paleontology 87(1): 69-83.
- Topper, T.P., Harper, D.A.T. & Brock, G.A. (2013). Ancestral billingsellides and the evolution and phylogenetic relationships of early rhynchonelliform brachiopods. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology in press.
- Stein, M., Budd, G.E., Peel, J.S. & Harper, D.A.T. (2013). Arthroaspis n. gen., a common element of the Sirius Passet Lagerstatte (Cambrian, North Greenland), sheds light on trilobite ancestry. BMC Evolutionary Biology 13(1).
- Harper, D.A.T., Hammarlund, E.U. & Rasmussen, C.M.Ø. (2013). End Ordovician extinctions: A coincidence of causes. Gondwana Research in press.
- Frisk, Å & Harper, D.A.T. (2013). Late Ordovician brachiopod distribution and ecospace partitioning in the Tvären crater system, Sweden. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology in press.
- Jin Jisuo, Harper, D.A.T., Cocks, L.R.M., McCausland, P.J.A., Rasmussen, C.M.Ø. & Sheehan, P.M. (2013). Precisely locating the Ordovician equator in Laurentia. Geology 41(2): 107-110.
- Donovan, S.K., Harper, D.A.T., Zhan Renbin, Stemmerik, L., Liu Jianbo & Stouge, S. (2012). A primitive cladid crinoid from the Jiacun Group, Tibet (Darriwilian, Middle Ordovician). Geological Journal 47: 653-660.
- Hammarlund, E.U., Dahl, T.W., Harper, D.A.T., Bond, D.P.G., Nielsen, A.T., Bjerrum, C.J., Schovsbo, N.H., Schönlaub, H.-P., Zalasiewicz, J.A. & Canfield, D.E. (2012). A sulfidic driver for the end-Ordovician mass extinction. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 331-332: 128-139.
- Jin J., Harper, D.A.T., Rasmussen, J.A. & Sheehan, P.M. (2012). Late Ordovician massive-bedded Thalassinoides ichnofacies along the palaeoequator of Laurentia. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 367-368: 73-88.
- Mangano, M.G., Bromley, R.G. Harper, D.A.T., Nielsen, A.T., Smith, M.P & Vinther, J. (2012). Nonbiomineralized carapaces in Cambrian seafloor landscapes (Sirius Passet, Greenland): Opening a new window into early Phanerozoic benthic ecology. Geology 40(6): 519-522.
- Zuykov, M., Vinarski, M. Pelletier, E. Demers, S. & Harper, D.A.T. (2012). Shell malformations in seven species of pond snail (Gastropoda, Lymnaeidae): analysis of large museum collections. Zoosystematics and Evolution 88(2): 365-368.
- Vinther, J., Eibye-Jacobsen, D. & Harper, D.A.T. (2011). An Early Cambrian stem polychaete with pygidial cirri. Biology Letters 7(6): 929-932.
- Hughes, N.C., Myrow, P.M., McKenzie, N.R. Harper, D.A.T. , Bhargava, O.N., Tangri, S.K., Ghalley, K.S. & Fanning, C.M. (2011). Cambrian rocks and faunas of the Wachi La, Black Mountains, Bhutan. Geological Magazine 148(03): 351-379
- Rasmussen, C.M.O. & Harper, D.A.T. (2011). Did the amalgamation of continents drive the end Ordovician mass extinctions?. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 311(1-2): 48-62.
- Zuykov, M., Gudkov, D., Vinarski, M., Pelletier, E., Harper, D.A.T. & Demers, S. (2011). Does radioactive contamination affect the shell morphology of the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis in the exclusion zone of the Chernobyl NPP (Ukraine)?. The Environmentalist 31(4): 369-375.
- Rasmussen, C.M.O. & Harper, D.A.T. (2011). Interrogation of distributional data for the End Ordovician crisis interval: where did disaster strike?. Geological Journal 46: 478-500.
- Stouge, S., Christiansen, J.L., Harper, D.A.T., Houmark-Nielsen, M., Kristiansen, K., MacNiocaill, C. & Buchard-Westergaard, B. (2011). Neoproterozoic (Cryogenian–Ediacaran) deposits in East and North-East Greenland. Geological Society, London, Memoirs 36(1): 581-592.
- Frisk, Å. & Harper, D.A.T. (2011). Palaeoenvironmental aspects of Late Ordovician Sericoidea shell concentrations in an impact crater, Tvaren, Sweden. Lethaia 44(4): 383-396.
- Zuykov, M., Harper, D.A.T. & Pelletier, E. (2011). Revision of the Ordovician brachiopod genus Noetlingia Hall and Clarke, 1893. Journal of Paleontology 85(3): 595-598.
- Vinther, J., Smith, M.P. & Harper, D.A.T. (2011). Vetulicolians from the Lower Cambrian Sirius Passet Lagerstatte, North Greenland, and the polarity of morphological characters in basal deuterostomes. Palaeontology 54(3): 711-719.
- Huang Bing, Harper, D.A.T., Zhan Renbin & Rong Jiayu (2010). Can the Lilliput Effect be detected in the brachiopod faunas of South China following the terminal Ordovician mass extinction?. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 285(3-4): 277-286.
- Azmy, K., Stouge, S., Christiansen, J.L., Harper, D.A.T, Knight, I. & Boyce, D. (2010). Carbon-isotope stratigraphy of the Lower Ordovician succession in Northeast Greenland: Implications for correlations with St. George Group in western Newfoundland (Canada) and beyond. Sedimentary Geology 225(1-2): 67-81
- Candela, Y. & Harper, D.A.T. (2010). Late Ordovician (Katian) brachiopods from the Southern Uplands of Scotland: biogeographic patterns on the edge of Laurentia. Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 100(03): 253-274
- Harper, D.A.T., Parkes, M.A. & McConnell, B.J. (2010). Late Ordovician (Sandbian) brachiopods from the Mweelrea Formation, South Mayo, western Ireland: stratigraphic and tectonic implications. Geological Journal 45: 445-450
- Dahlqvist, P., Harper, D.A.T. & Wickstrom, L. (2010). Late Ordovician shelly faunas from Jamtland: palaeocommunity development along the margin of the Swedish Caledonides. Bulletin of Geosciences 85: 505-512.
- Munnecke, A., Calner, M., Harper, D.A.T. & Servais, T. (2010). Ordovician and Silurian sea-water chemistry, sea level, and climate: A synopsis. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 296(3-4): 389-413.
- Servais, T., Owen, A.W., Harper, D.A.T., Kroger, B. & Munnecke, A. (2010). The Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event (GOBE): The palaeoecological dimension. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 294(3-4): 99-119.
- Rasmussen, C.M.O., Ebbestad, J.O.R. & Harper, D.A.T. (2010). Unravelling a Late Ordovician pentameride (Brachiopoda) hotspot from the Boda Limestone, Siljan district, central Sweden. GFF 132(3-4): 133-152.
- Rasmussen, C.M.O., Nielsen, A.T. & Harper, D.A.T. (2009). Ecostratigraphical interpretation of lower Middle Ordovician East Baltic sections based on brachiopods. Geological Magazine 146(05): 717-731.
- Jin, J., Harper, D.A.T. & Rasmussen, C.M.O. (2009). Sulcipentamerus (Pentamerida, Brachiopoda) from the Lower Silurian Washington Land Group, North Greenland. Palaeontology 52(2): 385-399.
- Schmitz, B., Harper, D.A.T., Peucker-Ehrenbrink, B., Stouge, S., Alwmark, C., Cronholm, A., Bergstrom, S.M., Tassinari, M. & Xiaofeng, W-F. (2008). Asteroid breakup linked to the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event. Nature Geoscience 1(1): 49-53.
- Harper, D.A.T. & Pickerill, R.K. (2008). Generation of brachiopod-dominated shell beds in the Miocene rocks of Carriacou, Lesser Antilles. Geological Journal 43(5): 573-581.