Dr. Robin Beck

School of Science, Engineering and Environment

Photo of Dr. Robin Beck

Contact Details

Peel Building - Room G05

Please email to arrange an appointment.



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Current positions

Lecturer in Biology


I graduated with a BA (Hons) in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge in 2002, followed by an MSc in Advanced Methods in Taxonomy and Biodiversity at the Natural History Museum and Imperial College, London, in 2003. My PhD (2005-2008, University of New South Wales) was entitled 'Form, function, phylogeny and biogeography of enigmatic Australian metatherians'. From 2009 to 2011, I was a postdoc at the American Museum of Natural History, studying the evolution marsupials. 

From 2012 to 2014, I was a postdoc at the University of New South Wales, studying 55 million year old fossil mammals from Australia. Since 2014, I have been Lecturer in Biology at the University of Salford. I have undertaken palaeontological fieldwork in Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica.

Areas of research

Evolution, Systematics, Phylogenetics, Morphology, Mammals

Areas of supervision

Evolution, Systematics, Phylogenetics


I am module leader for Level 4 Biodiversity and contribute teaching to Biological Skills, Contemporary Topics in Wildlife Conservation, Evolution Development and Adaptation, Frontiers in Zoo Biology, Human Genetics and Scientific Methods. I also act as tutor at Levels 3-6, and supervise final year undergraduate and MSc research projects.  

Research Interests

My major research interests are the morphology, systematics and biogeography of mammals. I have ongoing collaborations with researchers in the UK, Argentina, Australia, France, Germany, New Zealand and the USA, focusing on the origin and evolution of major groups of Southern Hemisphere mammals (including monotremes, marsupials and bats), and on the timing of the origin of placental mammals. I have more general interests within evolutionary biology, including combining morphological and molecular data to resolve phylogenetic relationships and divergence times, analysing rates of diversification and trait evolution, and quantitative methods of biogeographical analysis. 

Qualifications and Memberships


  • Editorial board member for Scientific Reports and Journal of Mammalian Evolution.
  • Assessor for the Australian Research Council.
  • Research associate at the American Museum of Natural History and the University of New South Wales.
  • Adjunct lecturer at the University of Cambridge.

Post graduate research

I particularly welcome applications from prospective postgraduate students interested in aspects of mammalian evolution and diversification, but will also consider applications in more general aspects of evolutionary biology, particularly those that concern the use of phylogenies for understanding evolutionary patterns and processes.