New England Award, University of New England 2012
Rising Stars of Queensland Science 2015
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Palaeontology Research in the Field and in the Lab
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Rochelle has over five years of experience in palaeontology as an early career research assistant and vertebrate palaeontologist. Her experience profile includes specialist knowledge in fossil excavation, preparation (acid and mechanical), taxonomic sorting, imaging, digital asset management (e.g. Light Room and Fotostation), along with collection management (e.g. Vernon). She has prepared and developed megafaunal and microfossil collections for both Queensland Museum and the Eromanga Natural History Museum, focusing on key Quaternary-aged fossil sites throughout Queensland. Rochelle is a highly skilled preparator having developed new and specialist preparation techniques specific for these projects, including micro-preparation of very small and fragile specimens in clay-rich megafauna deposits. Rochelle also has a broad skill base in digital imagery, including traditional macrophotography, SEM microphotography, CT scanning and photogrammetry. Rochelle supervises students and volunteers and is a key provider of community engagement programs and workshops. She has also co-produced museum exhibitions, travelling displays and conference seminars.
Rochelle’s research profile includes key vertebrate fossil faunas from the Cretaceous, Tertiary and Quaternary Periods. In particular, her research focuses on the palaeoecology of sites throughout Queensland with a primary goal of understanding the long-term impacts of past environmental change on the evolution and extinction of Australia’s unique fauna. Rochelle has a specific research interest in microfauna representing a variety of Australian palaeoecologies, including rainforest, woodland, mosaic habitat and arid zone springs. Rochelle is studying new records of rainforest and open-arid faunal fossil deposits at Capricorn Caves and Mt Etna, central-eastern Queensland, Australia, where she and supervisor, Dr Scott Hocknull, discovered and collected from several new significant sites.
Project PAST (Prehistoric Australia Saving Tomorrow)
- Excavation of new Quaternary arid zone megafauna fossil deposits from the Eulo Springs Super Group, QLD, Australia, in the context of spring development, fault activity and the aridification of the Australian continent during intense climatic change. Studying microfauna from these ancient spring deposits to establish a palaeoecological record and help understand the long term survival of fauna unique in the region today. Supported by Eromanga Natural History Museum and landholders.
- Collection of new late Cainozoic records of rainforest and open-arid faunal fossil deposits at Capricorn Caves and Mt Etna, QLD, Australia, to understand the evolution and extinction of fauna over time during periods of major past climatic change. Supported by Capricorn Caves Tourist Park and National Parks and Wildlife.
- Excavation of new late Quaternary tropical megafauna fossil deposits near Nebo, QLD, Australia, to unravel the responses of Australia’s northern faunas and floras (including humans) to past climatic change and how tropical northern ecosystems have evolved over millions of years. Supported by BHP Mitsui Coal, landholders and traditional owners.
From Dig to Digital
- CT Scanning for 3D digital preparation and reconstruction of specimens that are hidden, obscured or too small to visualise. Supported by Queensland X-Ray and Siemens.
- MRI Scanning of modern specimens to understand internal structures and morphologies for assisting in the reconstruction of extinct and present faunas. Supported by Queensland X-Ray and Siemens.
- Photogrammetry of specimens, objects and environments for research, preservation and reconstructions.
- Creating 3D digital objects to overcome current museum limitations of access due to fragility, rarity and size of specimens.
- Excavation and research assistance of Cretaceous-aged dinosaur deposits from the Winton Formation in Eromanga, QLD, Australia. Supported by Eromanga Natural History Museum.
- Survey and collection of Cretaceous dinosaur trackways and trace fossils near Quilpie, QLD, Australia. Supported by Eromanga Natural History Museum and Landholders.
- Survey and photogrammetry of Lark Quarry dinosaur trackways and Seymour Quarry dinosaur trackways, Lark Quarry, QLD, Australia. Supported by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and Australian Age of Dinosaurs.
- Research assistance with Cretaceous-aged dinosaurs from the Winton Formation in Winton, QLD, Australia. Supported by Australian Age of Dinosaurs.
- These Cretaceous-aged fossil deposits provide a unique glimpse into the evolution and taxonomy of Australian dinosaurs and other fauna and flora from the Winton Formation. Studies will provide a temporal understanding of the palaeoecology and environment during this time.
Australia: as an island
- Collection of Eocene-aged vertebrate fossil deposits from an ancient basin at Geebung, QLD, Australia.
Cook, A. & Rozefelds, A. 2015 In Search of Ancient Queensland. R.A. Lawrence (Ed. & Photographer). Brisbane, QLD: Queensland Museum.
Lawrence, R.A. (Ed.) 2015 Eromanga Natural History Museum Annual Report 2014. Pp 29.
Lawrence, R.A., Hocknull, S.A., Mackenzie, R. 2013 New Quaternary arid zone fossil deposits from the Eulo Springs super-group, southwest Queensland, Australia. 14th Conference on Australasian Vertebrate Evolution Palaeontology and Systematics 30 September – 4 October 2013, Adelaide. Abstract p 50-51.
Hocknull, S.A., Falkingham, P., Lawrence, R.A., Cook, A., Newman, N., Kennedy, D., Mitchell, I., 2013 Behind the Iron Curtain: a new assessment of ichnofossil record from the Cretaceous Winton Formation of central Queensland, Australia. 14th Conference on Australasian Vertebrate Evolution Palaeontology and Systematics 30 September – 4 October 2013, Adelaide. Abstract p 42-43.