PhD, George Washington University 2018
BA, University of Virginia 2009
Instructor, Stony Brook University (2018-2019)
Research: Evolution, systematics, and anatomy of sauropod dinosaurs, especially from the Middle-Late Jurassic of East Asia; time-calibrated, total-evidence phylogenetics; evolution of the axial skeleton
Dr. Moore’s research program has two primary foci. First, he is interested in reconstructing the phylogeny and anatomy of sauropod dinosaurs. By any measure, sauropod dinosaurs were a highly successful lineage, and were the dominant megaherbivores in most terrestrial ecosystems from the Middle Jurassic to the end of the Cretaceous. Dr. Moore’s research focuses on an under-studied radiation of particularly long-necked sauropods from the Middle-Late Jurassic of East Asia, generally called mamenchisaurids. Available data indicate that mamenchisaurids were the first lineage of sauropods to evolve necks greater than nine meters in length, a phenomenal feat that occurred independently in several other sauropod lineages. Like other exceptionally long-necked sauropods, mamenchisaurids also evolved highly pneumatic (i.e., air-filled) axial skeletons, a hallmark feature that they share with their living dinosaurian relatives, birds. Focused study of the vertebral columns of mamenchisaurids alongside those of other sauropod lineages, as well as insights from comparative study of highly pneumatic lineages of birds, promises to shed light on the suite of morphological prerequisites necessary for the evolution of gigantism and extreme neck elongation.
Dr. Moore is also broadly interested in the ecological and functional influences that explain morphological diversity in the vertebrate axial skeleton. Using extant birds as a study system, this work employs micro-computed tomography scanning, 3D geometric morphometrics, and comparative phylogenetic methods to identify the factors that shape vertebral morphology and regionalization of the axial skeleton. Vertebrae are the most commonly pneumatized bones in birds and their extinct ornithodiran ancestors, and Dr. Moore's research seeks to untangle the multiple, likely interdependent factors that influence the prevalence, gross morphology, and internal architecture of pneumatic vertebrae and other pneumatic postcranial bones.