Research projects


As a (paleo)biologist, I am primarily interested in understanding how forest ecosystems functioned in the past, and how they responded and ultimately evolved in response to past climate change.

Potential graduate students please note that I am currently on leave and not taking new students.

I have three main geographical areas of focus; western Canada (AB & BC) and Arctic Canada, and Australia. My primary time focus is the Eocene geological Epoch, but I am also interested in the Cretaceous, Paleocene, Miocene and Pliocene Epochs. My paleobotanical research and that of group members and associates combines paleoecology and taxonomic analyses.

  • On February 19th 2019 I gave a talk at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria BC on the Greenwood lab’s research on Eocene floras from interior BC; the same talk was also delivered at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo BC on Feb. 20th.
  • On February 18th 2016  I gave an invited talk on my work on the Eocene of British Columbia in the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology Speaker Series, sponsored by the Tyrrell Museum Co-operating Society.
    • You can see the slides and hear my talk on You-Tube here.
  • An April 23rd 2014 interview on CBC Radio One (Winnipeg) with Marilyn Maki about my research can be found here.
  • Report on 2014 paper in PNAS:
    • Simon Fraser University. Fossil palm beetles ‘hind-cast’ 50-million-year-old winters. ScienceDaily.  (accessed May 13, 2014).
  • Click here to read a July 8th 2014 story on CBC online about our recent discovery of a fossil tapir and hedgehog from the Eocene Driftwood Canyon fossil site in British Columbia.

As part of this research program I also have projects looking at the relationships between leaf physiognomy and climate in living tropical forests in Australia and Fiji, as these provide important tools for reconstructing past environments. I am not currently recruiting students for this project.

I am also involved in international collaborations applying a nearest living relative analog method (see Greenwood et al. 2003 & 2005, Reichgelt et al. 2013, Eldrett et al. 2014, Kotthoff et al. 2014 and Prebble et al. 2016 on my Publications page) to reconstruct climates of the geological past based on the spore-pollen record of terrestrial vegetation found in marine sediment cores in the Arctic and Antarctic. These collaborations have resulted (so far) in 2 papers in the science journal Nature (e.g., Eldrett et al. 2009, Pross et al. 2012), with further publications in preparation or in review.

Summaries of my research program projects can be found by clicking on the links on the menu to the left. In these summaries I list key papers from group members from those projects.