James Crampton

Prof James Crampton profile picture

Professor School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Teaching in 2020


  • PhD in Paleontology-  Cambridge University (1993)
  • BSc with First Class Hons in Geology - University of Otago (1985)


Publications 1988 - Now

Research Interests

Paleontology and Stratigraphy

Much of my recent research has focused on identifying patterns and controls of marine biodiversity change and macroevolution on geological timescales, using the fossil records of global and Southern Ocean plankton groups and New Zealand's outstanding archive of Cenozoic molluscs. This work involves collaborations with Michael Foote (University of Chicago), Pete Sadler (University of California, Riverside), Steve Meyers (University of Wisconsin), Roger Cooper (GNS Science), Alan Beu (GNS Science) and Richard Levy (GNS Science). As part of this work, I apply quantitative methods for the analysis of large paleontological datasets in order to generate high resolution time series of origination and extinction in the fossil record. I have also worked on the development and application of morphometric methods for the mathematical description of biological form, as a tool to study the evolution of individual lineages in the fossil record. This research has involved the integration of molecular and morphological data in order to understand evolutionary processes, with collaborator Mary Morgan Richards (Massey University) and students.

I have had long-standing interest in the Cretaceous geological and biological history of Zealandia. This research includes taxonomic and biostratigraphic studies of Cretaceous molluscs in New Zealand, particularly inoceramid bivalves. As part of this work, I have been closely involved in the development of the New Zealand Cretaceous geological time scale and was, for eleven years, a voting member on the Cretaceous Subcommission of the International Commission on Stratigraphy. I continue to study the Cretaceous stratigraphy, basin development, and paleogeographic development of New Zealand.

Research students that I have supervised in the last few years have completed studies in the areas of molluscan and foraminiferal evolution based on fossil and molecular data (the latter with collaborators at Massey University), and Cretaceous paleogeography and geological development of New Zealand.  Currently, I have a PhD student who is researching the spatial structuring of Cenozoic marine molluscan biodiversity in New Zealand.

I work part-time at GNS Science in Lower Hutt.  I am editor of the journal Paleobiology, on the Advisory Board of the Paleobiology Database, Vice-President of the International Paleontological Association, a fellow of the Paleontological Society, and a member of the Editorial Board of the journal Alcheringa.


Teaching in 2020