MAKE 2017 symposium

On Saturday the 4th of March 2017 Maria spoke at the MAKE 2017 symposium on Art+Biology organised by CIT-Crawford College of Art and Design about the interface between science and art. She was also interviewed by LyricFM, listen here –

Royal Irish Academy to unveil Dr Maria McNamara’s portrait


UCC School of BEES palaeobiologist Dr Maria McNamara is one of 12 female academic leaders whose portraits were unveiled last night (Wednesday 7th December) by Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD, at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin.

The Accenture Women on Walls campaign features Maria in a group painting of eight of today’s leading Irish female scientists along with individual portraits of the first four women to be admitted to the Academy: Françoise Henry, Phyllis Clinch, Eleanor Knott and Sheila Tinney. The group painting is by Blaise Smith, and the individual portraits, by Vera Klute. These are the first portraits of female scientists to be featured on the Academy’s walls in its 230-year history.

Silicon Republic have a news item on the event:

For the first time in 230 years, there are Women on Walls of the RIA

Maria’s daughter Liadh was also photographed at the launch:

Maria McNamara’s research is projected on the walls of Barnardo Square in Dublin during Science Week!



New study sheds light on life in ancient tropical seas


A new study sheds new light on the creatures that inhabited the tropical seas surrounding the UK at the start of the age of the dinosaurs.

Some 210 million years ago, the UK consisted of many islands, surrounded by warm seas. Europe at the time lay farther south, at latitudes equivalent to North Africa today. Much of Europe was hot desert, and at this point was flooded by a great sea – the Rhaetian Transgression.

The study was led by Valentina Rossi, who is a PhD student with Maria McNamara in the School of BEES, but conducted the research while an intern with Mike Benton at the University of Bristol. The study, published in Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association (10.1016/j.pgeola.2016.05.003), is the most extensive ever published on the Rhaetian rocks and is based on more than 26,000 identified fossils of sharks, bony fishes, marine reptiles, and other creatures.

Valentina, who worked on the reptile remains, said “We found teeth and bones of ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs, the classic great sea dragons of the Triassic and Jurassic.”

The new work has illuminates changes in marine ecosystems during a remarkable rise in sea level. The fossils even include dozens of examples of coprolites – fossil dung – some of which contain bones and scales of fish and reptiles – clear evidence of who was eating whom in those ancient seas.

Mears, E., Rossi, V., MacDonald, E., Coleman, G., Davies, T., Arias-Riesgo, C., Hildebrandt, C., Thiel, H., Duffin, C.J., Whiteside, D.I., Benton, M.J., 2016. The Rhaetian (Late Triassic) vertebrates of Hampstead Farm Quarry, Gloucestershire, UK. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, published online 14/6/2016. DOI: 10.1016/j.pgeola.2016.05.003. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PDF!

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