Valentin Fischer

Lecturer, Geology department, Université de Liège

Valentin Fischer studied geology at the University of Liege. For the purposes of his dissertation he interested himself in the fossils of ichthyosaurs that were discovered in the South of France. He was to discover that these specimens seemed to have a wide diversity, some millions of years before the presumed extinction of the group. He intensified his research while studying for a doctorate which was financed by a grant from the FNRS, and which he presented at the University of Liege in March 2013.

After contributing to the discovery of the massive survival of ichthyosaurs during the Cretaceous, Valentin Fischer would today like to redirect his research to Cretaceous deposits rich in fossils of various types of marine reptiles that have been discovered in Russia. He is interested in studying evolutionary convergences with regard to nutrition, which gave rise to macropredators sharing common morphologies.

He is also interested in the extinction and radiation phases of marine reptiles, with the objective of coupling them, and finding a causal link with important climatic and geological events, particularly during the Cenomanian, during which there was an important reorganization of ocean fauna 95 million years ago.

His Newton International Fellowship project at the University of Oxford aims to reveal the role of global changes in driving the fluctuations of biodiversity, using the record of marine backboned predators from the Cretaceous period (145 to 65 million years ago) as a model system.

He is developing new quantitative methodologies to reconstructing the evolution of their diversity and ecological niches and estimate their turnover rates (extinctions and originations) through time. Covariation between these variables and environmental drivers (sea level change, global temperature changes, carbon cycle) will be assessed statistically, helping to decipher what event(s) disrupted marine ecosystems in an era marked by strong climate change.


  • –present
    Newton International Fellow, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford