Dr Robin Beck

School of Science, Engineering & Environment

Photo of Dr Robin Beck

Current positions



I was awarded my PhD from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in 2008 for my thesis 'Form, function, phylogeny and biogeography of enigmatic Australian metatherians'. From 2009 to 2011, I was an NSF-funded postdoctoral research fellow at the American Museum of Natural History, working on the morphology and phylogeny of marsupials. From 2012 to 2014, I was a DECRA postdoctoral fellow at UNSW, studying the only known record of early Palaeogene fossil mammals in Australia, from the early Eocene Tingamarra Fauna. Since 2014, I have been Lecturer (2014-2023) and then Reader (2023 onwards) in Biology at the University of Salford.

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.

Areas of Research

• Morphology, systematics, and biogeography of mammals and other vertebrates
• Combining morphological and molecular data to resolve phylogenetic relationships and divergence times
• Analysing rates of diversification and trait evolution
• Quantitative methods of biogeographical analysis

Areas of Supervision

I particularly welcome applications from prospective postgraduate students interested in vertebrate evolution, but will also consider applications in more general aspects of evolutionary biology, particularly those that involve the use of phylogenies to understand evolutionary patterns and processes.


I contribute teaching to a wide range of modules at Foundation Year and undergraduate level. I am module lead for Level 4 Biodiversity and the Level 6 Final Year Project modules.

Qualifications and Recognitions

  • Postgraduate Certificate Academic Practice

    2015 - 2016
  • PhD Vertebrate Palaeontology

    2005 - 2008
  • MSc DIC Advanced Methods in Taxonomy and Biodiversity

    2002 - 2003
  • BA (Hons) Natural Sciences

    1999 - 2002