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Dr David Stanton


C/4.06, Sir Martin Evans Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am an evolutionary geneticist interested in understanding how natural and anthropogenic processes are involved in biodiversity change. I believe that to do this we first need an understanding of historic biodiversity.

My research investigates this past diversity in wild animal populations, using historic and ancient DNA, and compares it to those alive today. The ultimate aim is to use these comparisons to improve our predictions of how present-day biodiversity is likely to change into the future.

I have worked on a large range of different taxa and study systems, with a recent focus on extinct carnivores such cave lions, Homotherium, the Falkland Islands wolf, and ancient wolf populations from Eurasia.

Interested in joining my research group?

I have opportunities for undergraduate, Master's and PhD students, please get in contact if you are interested.


Academic career to date:

  • 2022 - present: Lecturer (Cardiff University School of Biosciences)
  • 2020 – 2022: Post-doctoral researcher (Queen Mary University of London)
  • 2018 – 2020: Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow (Swedish Museum of Natural History)
  • 2015 – 2018: Research Associate (Cardiff University)
  • 2010 – 2015: PhD (Cardiff University)
  • 2007 – 2010: Research assistant (Cardiff University)
  • 2004 – 2007: BSc Biology (Cardiff University)

Honours and awards:

  • Honorary Fellow, Cardiff University School of History, Archaeology and Religion (2018)
  • Honorary Fellow, Cardiff University School of Biosciences (2018)

My research uses field, molecular and analytic approaches to attempt to understand why biodiversity changes over time. I predominantly use ancient DNA and bioinformatics to leverage information from old or degraded specimens.


My work has been supported by the following funders:

  • NERC
  • European Commission (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship)
  • Uppsala Multidisciplinary Center for Advanced Computational Science
  • Wellcome
  • Cardiff University School of Biosciences
  • PacBio
  • Gilman International Conservation
  • Zoological Society of London


My research includes/included fieldwork in the following locations:

  • South America (The Brazilian states of Paraná, Mato Grosso do Sol, Mato Grosso, Rondônia, Amazonas)
  • Democratic Republic of Congo (The Okapi Faunal Reserve and the Lomami National Park)
  • Honduras (Cusuco National Park)
  • South Wales (Taff, Rhymney, Sirhowy, and Ebbw river catchments)
  • Malaysian Borneo (Danau Girang FIeld Centre, Kinabatangan River)