Projects per year
Dr. Zhiliang Zhang is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Biology at Macquarie University where he is undertaking an MQRF (Macquarie University Research Fellowship) project integrating fossil shell ultrastructure and biomarkers (molecular fossils) to resolve the evolutionary roots of the lophotrochozoan tree of life during the early Cambrian evolutionary radiation. His research will elucidate key events associated with early animal evolution and ecology, with particular emphasis on the “Cambrian radiation”, the most remarkable evolutionary burst of animal diversification to have occurred on Earth over the last 540 million years.
His Doctoral research (2015-2018) focused on taxonomic documentation and ecological analysis of early Cambrian lophotrochozoan animals – a remarkable group of anatomically disparate animals preserved in the famous Chengjiang Konservat-Lagerstätte (preservation of soft bodied animals) and widespread carbonate rocks (shelly fossils) from South China. He already has 15 peer-reviewed journal papers with an increasing rate of annual publication in successively higher impact journals, which has contributed new knowledge about the Cambrian evolutionary radiation in six main ways: 1.) reconstructing the diversity, phylogenetic relationship, ecological complexity and early evolution of brachiopods during the Cambrian radiation from South China, which was a separate palaeo-continent during this period; 2.) resolving the morpho-anatomical diversity of early Cambrian animals through studies of exceptionally preserved soft-bodied fossil assemblages; 3.) uncovering the epithelial cell disposition, shell ultrastructure and growth pattern of the oldest acrotretid brachiopods for the first time; 4.) determining the early metamorphosis and ontogenetic growth of ancestral brachiopod groups; 5.) resolving intercontinental stratigraphic correlation of the traditional Early Cambrian and helping to refine the Cambrian timescale; 6.) new innovative investigations combining compressed fossils with soft-tissue preservation (Konservat-Lagerstätte) with three dimensional shelly fossils preserved in limestones.
Brachiopod-dominated communities and depositional environment of the Guanshan Konservat-Lagerstätte, eastern Yunnan, ChinaChen, F., Brock, G. A., Zhang, Z., Laing, B., Ren, X. & Zhang, Z., Jan 2021, In: Journal of the Geological Society. 178, 1, 19 p., jgs2020-043.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile4 Downloads (Pure)
Zhang, Z., Ghobadi Pour, M., Popov, L. E., Holmer, L. E., Chen, F., Chen, Y., Brock, G. A. & Zhang, Z., Jan 2021, In: Gondwana Research. 89, p. 147-167 21 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile2 Downloads (Pure)
Zhang, Z., Skovsted, C. B. & Brock, G. A., 2 Jun 2020, In: Nature Communications. 11, p. 1-7 7 p., 2625.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile9 Citations (Scopus)7 Downloads (Pure)
Zhang, Z., Pan, B., Li, L., Liu, F., Li, G. & Zhang, Z., 1 Oct 2020, In: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 555, p. 1-11 11 p., 109848.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile3 Downloads (Pure)
Ontogeny and evolutionary significance of a new acrotretide brachiopod genus from Cambrian Series 2 of South ChinaZhang, Z., Holmer, L. E., Chen, F. & Brock, G. A., 7 Aug 2020, In: Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. 18, 19, p. 1569-1588 20 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile5 Downloads (Pure)