Dr. Michelle Stocker


Dr. Stocker is an Assistant Professor in vertebrate paleobiology in the Department of Geosciences at Virginia Tech. Prior to joining the faculty at Virginia Tech, she completed her BS in Geological Sciences (Minor in Biology) at the University of Michigan, MS in Geosciences at the University of Iowa, and PhD in Geological Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Stocker’s research centers on exploring the macroevolutionary patterns and processes of biodiversity, including how species diversify in the functional, phylogenetic, and developmental constraints of convergent evolution. Dr. Stocker is particularly interested in the evolutionary history of terrestrial vertebrates, specifically extinct and extant reptiles, often with the primary objectives to explore the anatomical evolution of those reptiles with respect to their ecology and to better understand the composition of terrestrial assemblages. She incorporates critical data from fossil specimens with her research on extant taxa through domestic and international fieldwork, which enables her to explore the regional and chronologic differences between and among terrestrial vertebrate assemblages and continental ecosystems over deep time.

Dr. Stocker often collaborates with scientists at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, and is a research associate/affiliate with the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory at The University of Texas at Austin, the Virginia Museum of Natural History, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. At Virginia Tech, she is the founder of the Women in (Geo)Science group, which provides professional mentorship to undergraduate and graduate students. Additionally she works closely with the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) to create stronger collaborations with physical and historical sciences like paleobiology.

Email         Department Website        VT Paleobiology


Recent Relevant Publications

Stocker, M. R. and Kirk, E. C. In Press. The first amphisbaenians from Texas with notes on other squamates from the Middle Eocene Purple Bench locality. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Kammerer, C. F., Butler, R. J., Bandyopadhyay, S., and Stocker, M. R. 2015. Relationships of the Indian phytosaur Parasuchus hislopi Lydekker, 1885. Papers in Palaeontology, 1-23. DOI: 10.1002/spp2.1022.

Drumheller, S. K., Stocker, M. R., and Nesbitt, S. J. 2014. Direct evidence of trophic interactions between apex predators in the Late Triassic of western North America. Naturwissenschaften, 101:975-987. DOI 10.1007/s00114-014-1238-3.

Butler, R. J., Rauhut, O. W. M., Stocker, M. R., and Bronowicz, R. 2014. Redescription of the phytosaurs Paleorhinus (“Francosuchus”) angustifrons and Ebrachosuchus neukami from Germany, with implications for Late Triassic biochronology. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 170:155-208. DOI: 10.1111/zoj.12094.

Stocker, M. R. 2013. A new taxonomic arrangement for Paleorhinus scurriensis Langston, 1949. Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 103:251-263. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1755691013000340.

Martz, J. W., Mueller, B., Nesbitt, S. J., Stocker, M. R., Parker, W. G., Atanassov, M., Fraser, N., Weinbaum, J., and Lehane, J. 2013. A taxonomic and biostratigraphic re-evaluation of the Post Quarry vertebrate assemblage from the Cooper Canyon Formation (Dockum Group, Upper Triassic) of southern Garza County, western Texas. Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 103:339-364. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1755691013000376.

Stocker, M. R. and Butler, R. J. 2013. Phytosauria. In S. J. Nesbitt, J. B. Desojo, and R. B. Irmis (eds) Anatomy, Phylogeny and Palaeobiology of Basal Archosaurs and their Kin, Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 379:91-117. http://dx.doi.org/10.1144/SP379.5

Stocker, M. R. 2012. A new phytosaur (Archosauriformes, Phytosauria) from the Lot’s Wife beds (Sonsela Member) within the Chinle Formation (Upper Triassic) of Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 32:573-586.

Stocker, M. R. 2010. A new taxon of phytosaur (Archosauria: Pseudosuchia) from the Norian (Late Triassic) Sonsela Member (Chinle Formation) in Arizona, and a critical re-evaluation of Leptosuchus Case 1922. Palaeontology, 53:997-1022.

Nesbitt, S. J., Stocker, M. R., Small, B., and Downs, A. 2009. The osteology and relationships of Vancleavea campi (Reptilia: Archosauriformes). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 157:814-864.

Nesbitt, S. J. and Stocker, M. R. 2008. The vertebrate assemblage of the Late Triassic Canjilon Quarry, (Northern New Mexico, USA) and the importance of apomorphy-based assemblage comparisons. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 28(4):1063-1072.

Parker, W. G., Stocker, M. R., and Irmis, R. B. 2008. A new desmatosuchine aetosaur (Archosauria: Suchia) from the Upper Triassic Tecovas Formation (Dockum Group) of Texas. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 28(3):692-701.