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Dr Luke Mander

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am a Senior Lecturer in Earth Sciences in the School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences at The Open University (since 2015). I received a PhD in 2010 from University College Dublin for a thesis that investigated 200 million-year-old fossil plant remains in Jameson Land, East Greenland. My doctoral research was supervised by Jennifer McElwain and Wolfram Kürschner. I then spent two years as a postdoc in Surangi Punyasena's lab in the Department of Plant Biology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, before returning to the UK for a six-month stay at Plymouth University as a Lecturer in Earth Sciences (Fixed Term). I rounded off my scientific training with a two-year EU Marie Curie fellowship in Tim Lenton's Earth System Science group at the University of Exeter.
 
 

Research interests

My research uses a combination of specimen-based observations and computation to investigate the (palaeo)ecology, evolution and morphology of plants. I work with both living plants and material from the plant fossil record, which represents a vast archive of morphological novelties and natural design solutions that have been produced over the course of evolutionary time. In this context, I am particularly interested in the evolution of tropical rainforests, which are among the most complex ecosytems on Earth. I have worked mostly with pollen grains, which are morphologically fascinating objects with an outstanding fossil record, but also work with the leaves of vascular plants. 
 
Peer-reviewed publications
37. Leslie A.B. & Mander L. (2023) Quantifying the complexity of plant reproductive structures reveals a history of morphological and functional integration. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 290, 20231810.
 
36. Wei C., Jardine P.E., Mao L., Mander L., Li M., Gosling W.D. & Hoorn C.D. (2023) Grass pollen surface ornamentation is diverse across the phylogeny: evidence from northern South America and the global literature. Journal of Systematics and Evolution. Early View.
 
35. Brown K., Bunting J.M., Carvalho F., de Bello F., Mander L., Marcisz K., Mottl O., Reitalu T. & Svenning J-C. (2023Trait-based approaches as ecological time machines: Developing tools for reconstructing long-term variation in ecosystemsFunctional Ecology, 37, 2552–2569.
 
 
33. Hollaar T.P., Baker S.J., Hesselbo S.P., Deconinck J-F., Mander L., Ruhl M. & Belcher C.M. (2021) Wildfire activity enhanced during phases of maximum orbital eccentricity and precessional forcing in the Early JurassicCommunications Earth and Environment, 2, 247.
 
32. Hang H., Bauer M., Mio W. & Mander L. (2021) Geometric and topological approaches to shape variation in Ginkgo leavesRoyal Society Open Science, 8, 210978. Paper also available at bioRxiv2020.10.23.352476
 
31. Leslie A.B., Simpson C. & Mander L. (2021) Reproductive innovations and pulsed rise in plant complexityScience, 373, 1368–1372.
 
30. Mander L., Parins-Fukuchi, C., Dick, C.W., Punyasena S.W. & Jaramillo C. (2020) Phylogenetic and ecological correlates of pollen morphological diversity in a Neotropical rainforestBiotropica53, 74–85. 
 
29. Mander L. & McElwain J.C. (2019) Toarcian land vegetation loss. Nature Geoscience, 12, 405–406.
 
28. Mander L. (2018) The latitudinal distribution of morphological diversity among Holocene angiosperm pollen grains from eastern North America and the Neotropics. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 58, 1170–1178.
 
27. Sigwart J.D., Bennett K.D., Edie S., Mander L., Okamura B., Padian K., Wheeler Q., Winston J. & Norine Yeung N. (2018) Measuring Biodiversity and Extinction – Present and Past. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 58, 1111–1117.
 
26. Mander L., & Punyasena S.W. (2018) Fossil pollen and spores in paleoecology. In: D.A. Croft, S.W. Simpson, & D.F. Su (eds.) Methods in Paleoecology: Reconstructing Cenozoic Terrestrial Environments & Ecological Communities. Springer (Vertebrate Paleobiology & Paleoanthropology Series), Dordrecht.   
 
25. Vakulenko S.A., Sudakov I. & Mander L. (2018) The influence of environmental forcing on biodiversity and extinction in a resource competition model. Chaos, 28, 031101.
 
24. Sivaguru M., Urban M.A., Fried G., Wesseln C.J., Mander L. & Punyasena S.W. (2018) Comparative performance of Airyscan and Structured Illumination Super-Resolution Microscopy in the study of the surface texture and 3D shape of pollen. Microscopy Research and Technique, 81, 101–114.
 
23. Sudakov I., Essa A., Mander L., Gong M., & Kariyawasam T. (2017) The geometry of large Arctic tundra lakes observed in historical maps and satellite images. Remote Sensing, 9, 1072.
 
22. Mander L., Dekker S.C., Li M., Mio W., Punyasena S.W. & Lenton T.M. (2017) A morphometric analysis of vegetation patterns in dryland ecosystems. Royal Society Open Science, 4, 160443.
 
21. Mander L. (2016) A combinatorial approach to angiosperm pollen morphology. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 283, 20162033.
 
20. Porada P., Lenton T.M., Pohl A., Weber B., Mander L., Donnadieu Y., Beer C., Pöschl U. & Kleidon A. (2016) High potential for weathering and climate effects of non-vascular vegetation in the Late Ordovician. Nature Communications, 7, 12113.
 
19. Mander L. & Punyasena, S.W. (2015) Grass pollen surface ornamentation: a review of morphotypes and taxonomic utility. Journal of Micropalaeontology, 35, 121–124.
 
18. Looy C.V., Stevenson R.A., Van Hoof T.B. & Mander L(2014) Evidence for coal forest refugia in the seasonally dry Pennsylvanian tropical lowlands of the Illinois Basin, USA. PeerJ, 2, e630.
 
17. Mander L., Rodriguez J., Mueller P.G., Jackson S.T. & Punyasena S.W. (2014) Identifying the pollen of an extinct spruce species in the Late Quaternary sediments of the Tunica Hills region, south-eastern United States. Journal of Quaternary Science, 29, 711–721.
 
16. Mander L. & Punyasena S.W. (2014) On the taxonomic resolution of pollen and spore records of Earth’s vegetation. International Journal of Plant Sciences, 175, 931–945.
 
15. Mander L., Baker S., Belcher C.M., Haselhorst D.S., Rodriguez J., Thorn J.L., Tiwari S., Urrego D.H., Wesseln C.J. & Punyasena S.W. (2014) The accuracy and consistency of grass pollen identification by human analysts using electron micrographs of surface ornamentation. Applications in Plant Sciences, 2, 1400031.
 
14. Kürschner W.M., Mander L. & McElwain J.C. (2014) A gymnosperm affinity for Ricciisporites tuberculatus Lundblad: implications for vegetation and environmental reconstructions in the Late Triassic. Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments, 94, 295–305.
 
13. Mander L., Li M., Mio W., Fowlkes C.C. & Punyasena, S.W. (2013) Classification of grass pollen through the quantitative analysis of surface ornamentation and texture. Proceedings of the Royal Society Series B, 280, 20131905.
 
12. Kürschner W.M., Batenburg S.J. & Mander L. (2013) Aberrant Classopollis pollen reveals evidence for unreduced (2n) pollen in the conifer family Cheirolepidiaceae during the Triassic–Jurassic transition. Proceedings of the Royal Society Series B, 280, 20131708.
 
11. Mander L., Kürschner W.M. & McElwain J.C. (2013) Palynostratigraphy and vegetation history of the Triassic–Jurassic transition in East Greenland. Journal of the Geological Society, London, 170, 37–46.
 
10. Mander L., Wesseln C.J., McElwain J.C. & Punyasena S.W. (2012) Tracking taphonomic regimes using chemical and mechanical damage of pollen and spores: an example from the Triassic–Jurassic mass extinction. PLoS ONE, 7, e49153.
 
9. Sivaguru M., Mander L., Fried G. & Punyasena S.W. (2012) Capturing the shape and surface texture of pollen: a comparison of microscopy techniques. PLoS ONE, 7, e39129.
 
8. Mander L., Collinson M.E., Chaloner W.G., Brain A.P.R. & Long D.G. (2012) The ultrastructure and botanical affinity of the problematic mid-Mesozoic palynomorph Ricciisporites tuberculatus Lundblad. International Journal of Plant Sciences, 173, 429–440.
 
7. Belcher C.M. & Mander L. (2012) Catastrophe: Extraterrestrial impacts, massive volcanism and the biosphere. In: A. Henderson-Sellers & K. McGuffie (eds) The Future of the World’s Climate, pp. 463­–485, Elsevier, Amsterdam, (ISBN 9780123869173).
 
6. Mander L. (2011) Taxonomic resolution of the Triassic–Jurassic sporomorph record in East Greenland. Journal of Micropalaeontology, 30, 107–118.
 
5. Mander L., Kürschner W.M. & McElwain J.C. (2010) An explanation for conflicting records of Triassic–Jurassic plant diversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 107, 15351–15356.  
 
4. Belcher C.M., Mander L., Rein G., Jervis F.X., Haworth M., Hesselbo S.P., Glasspool I.J. & McElwain J.C. (2010) Increased fire activity at the Triassic/Jurassic boundary in Greenland due to climate-driven floral change. Nature Geoscience, 3, 426–429.
 
3. Mander L. & Twitchett R.J. (2008) Quality of the Triassic–Jurassic bivalve fossil record in northwest Europe. Palaeontology, 51, 1213–1223.
 
2. Radley J.D., Twitchett R.J., Mander L. & Cope J.C.W. (2008) Discussion on palaeoecology of the Late Triassic extinction event in the SW UK. Journal of the Geological Society, London, 165, 988–992.  
 
1. Mander L., Twitchett R.J. & Benton M.J. (2008) Palaeoecology of the Late Triassic extinction event in the SW UK. Journal of the Geological Society, London, 165, 319–332.
 

Teaching interests

I currently teach on the following modules here at The Open University:
 
S319 Geology and Sustainability
I am leading the production of this new third-level geoscience module.
 
S309 Earth Processes
On this module I am responsible for the development of independent student projects, materials relating to evolution, and Earth science in society. 
 
S209 Earth Science
On this module I am responsible for materials relating to palaeobiology.
 

External collaborations

A considerable proportion of my work is collaborative, and I am fortunate to have worked with some outstanding  people in the past. Here is a list of my current collaborators, loosely organised by country, together with a couple of notes here and there:

Prof. Washington Mio (Mathematics, Florida State University, USA)

Dr Martin Bauer (Mathematics, Florida State University, USA)

Prof. Francisca Oboh–Ikuenobe (Geology and Geophysics, Missouri University of Science and Technology, USA)

Dr Surangi W. Punyasena (Plant Biology, University of Illinois, USA). I was a postdoc in Surangi's lab at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (https://publish.illinois.edu/punyasena/). I undertook research as part of her NSF grant "Biological Shape Spaces, Transforming Shape into Knowledge", which also included Washington Mio.

Dr Andrew Leslie (Stanford University, USA)

Dr Carlos Jaramillo (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama)

Dr Barry Lomax (Plant Science, Nottingham University, UK)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Publications

Quantifying the complexity of plant reproductive structures reveals a history of morphological and functional integration (2023-11)
Leslie, Andrew B. and Mander, Luke
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 290, Article 20231810(2010)


Trait‐based approaches as ecological time machines: Developing tools for reconstructing long‐term variation in ecosystems (2023-08-22)
Brown, Kerry A.; Bunting, M. Jane; Carvalho, Fabio; de Bello, Francesco; Mander, Luke; Marcisz, Katarzyna; Mottl, Ondrej; Reitalu, Triin and Svenning, Jens‐Christian
Functional Ecology ([Early Access])


Descriptive systematics of Upper Paleocene–Lower Eocene pollen and spores from the northern Niger Delta, southeastern Nigeria (2023-04-07)
Mander, Luke; Jaramillo, Carlos and Oboh-Ikuenobe, Francisca
Palynology, Article 2200525 ((Early Access))


Grass pollen surface ornamentation is diverse across the phylogeny: Evidence from northern South America and the global literature (2023)
Wei, Cai‐Xia; Jardine, Phillip E.; Mao, Li‐Mi; Mander, Luke; Li, Mao; Gosling, William D. and Hoorn, Carina
Journal of Systematics and Evolution ((Early Access))


Wildfire activity enhanced during phases of maximum orbital eccentricity and precessional forcing in the Early Jurassic (2021-11-30)
Hollaar, Teuntje P.; Baker, Sarah J.; Hesselbo, Stephen P.; Deconinck, Jean-François; Mander, Luke; Ruhl, Micha and Belcher, Claire M.
Communications Earth & Environment, 2, Article 247(1)


Geometric and topological approaches to shape variation in Ginkgo leaves (2021-11)
Hang, Haibin; Bauer, Martin; Mio, Washington and Mander, Luke
Royal Society Open Science, 8, Article 210978(11)


Reproductive innovations and pulsed rise in plant complexity (2021-09-17)
Leslie, Andrew B.; Simpson, Carl and Mander, Luke
Science, 373(6561) (pp. 1368-1372)


Phylogenetic and ecological correlates of pollen morphological diversity in a Neotropical rainforest (2021-01)
Mander, Luke; Parins‐Fukuchi, Caroline; Dick, Christopher W.; Punyasena, Surangi W. and Jaramillo, Carlos
Biotropica, 53(1) (pp. 74-85)


Phylogenetic and ecological correlates of pollen morphological diversity in a Neotropical rainforest (2021-01)
Mander, Luke; Parins‐Fukuchi, Caroline; Dick, Christopher W.; Punyasena, Surangi W. and Jaramillo, Carlos
Biotropica, 53(1) (pp. 74-85)


Toarcian land vegetation loss (2019)
Mander, Luke and McElwain, Jennifer C.
Nature Geoscience, 12 (pp. 405-406)


Measuring Biodiversity and Extinction – Present and Past (2018-12)
Sigwart, Julia D.; Bennett, K. D.; Edie, Stewart M.; Mander, Luke; Okamura, Beth; Padian, Kevin; Wheeler, Quentin; Winston, Judith and Yeung, Norine
Integrative and Comparative Biology, 58(6) (pp. 1111-1117)


The Latitudinal Distribution of Morphological Diversity among Holocene Angiosperm Pollen Grains from eastern North America and the Neotropics (2018-08-02)
Mander, Luke
Integrative and Comparative Biology, 58(6) (pp. 1170-1178)


The influence of environmental forcing on biodiversity and extinction in a resource competition model (2018-03-01)
Vakulenko, Sergey A.; Sudakov, Ivan and Mander, Luke
Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science, 28(3) (pp. 031101-1-031101-7)


Comparative performance of airyscan and structured illumination superresolution microscopy in the study of the surface texture and 3D shape of pollen (2018-01-25)
Sivaguru, Mayandi; Urban, Michael A.; Fried, Glenn; Wesseln, Cassandra J.; Mander, Luke and Punyasena, Surangi W.
Microscopy Research and Technique, 81(2) (pp. 101-114)


A morphometric analysis of vegetation patterns in dryland ecosystems (2017-02)
Mander, Luke; Dekker, Stefan C.; Li, Mao; Mio, Washington; Punyasena, Surangi W. and Lenton, Timothy M.
Royal Society Open Science, 4, Article 160443


The geometry of large Arctic tundra lakes observed in historical maps and satellite images (2017)
Sudakov, I; Essa, A; Mander, Luke; Gong, M and Kariyawaam, T
Remote Sensing, 9, Article 1072


A combinatorial approach to angiosperm pollen morphology (2016-11-30)
Mander, Luke
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 283, Article 20162033(1843)


Grass pollen surface ornamentation: a review of morphotypes and taxonomic utility (2016-07)
Mander, Luke and Punyasena, Surangi W.
Journal of Micropalaeontology, 35(2) (pp. 121-124)


High potential for weathering and climate effects of non-vascular vegetation in the Late Ordovician (2016)
Porada, P.; Lenton, T. M.; Pohl, A.; Weber, B.; Mander, L. and Donnadieu, Y.
Nature Communications, 7, Article 12113


Evidence for coal forest refugia in the seasonally dry Pennsylvanian tropical lowlands of the Illinois Basin, USA (2014-11-04)
Looy, Cindy V.; Stevenson, Robert A.; Van Hoof, Thomas B. and Mander, Luke
PeerJ, 2, Article e630


On the taxonomic resolution of pollen and spore records of Earth’s vegetation (2014-10)
Mander, Luke and Punyasena, Surangi W.
International Journal of Plant Sciences, 175(8) (pp. 931-945)


Identifying the pollen of an extinct spruce species in the Late Quaternary sediments of the Tunica Hills region, south-eastern United States (2014-10)
Mander, L.; Rodriguez, J.; Mueller, P. G.; Jackson, S. T. and Punyasena, S. W.
Journal of Quaternary Science, 29(7) (pp. 711-721)


Accuracy and consistency of grass pollen identification by human analysts using electron micrographs of surface ornamentation (2014-08)
Mander, Luke; Baker, Sarah J.; Belcher, Claire M.; Haselhorst, Derek S.; Rodriguez, Jacklyn; Thorn, Jessica L.; Tiwari, Shivangi; Urrego, Dunia H.; Wesseln, Cassandra J. and Punyasena, Surangi W.
Applications in Plant Sciences, 2, Article 1400031(8)


A gymnosperm affinity for Ricciisporites tuberculatus Lundblad: implications for vegetation and environmental reconstructions in the Late Triassic (2014-06)
Kürschner, Wolfram M.; Mander, Luke and McElwain, Jennifer C.
Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments, 94(2) (pp. 295-305)


Fossil pollen and spores in paleoecology (2018-10-28)
Mander, L. and Punyasena, S. W.
In: Croft, D. A.; Simpson, S. W. and Su, D. F. eds. Methods in Paleoecology: Reconstructing Cenozoic Terrestrial Environments & Ecological Communities. Vertebrate Paleobiology & Paleoanthropology (pp. 215-234)
ISBN : 978-3-319-94265-0 | Publisher : Springer


Milankovitch forcing of Early Jurassic wildfires (2019)
Hollaar, Teuntje Parnassia; Baker, Sarah Jane; Deconinck, Jean-Francois; Mander, Luke; Ruhl, Micha; Hesselbo, Stephen P and Belcher, Claire M
In : Third International Workshop on the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event – Impact on marine organisms and ecosystems (2-5 Sep 2019, Erlangen, Germany)