Contact Info



Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowships for Career Development.

Project “MAREST, MARine Ecosystem Stability and Turnover. 

Call identifier: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IOF.


Qualifications & background


PostDoc Research Fellow in Palaeontology

Schoolof Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Plymouth University, UK.

NERC-funded project “Evolution of modern marine ecosystems: controls on their structure and function”.



PhD, Diparitmento di Scienze della Terra, Università di Firenze, Italy. 

Thesis title “Modern and fossil shallow water whale fall communities”.



Master degree in Earth Science, Università di Firenze, Italy.

Research Interests:

Stratigraphic Paleobiology. Control of depositional and sequence stratigraphic processes on the distribution and diversity of marine macrofossil assemblages.

I am presently the PI of the project MAREST “MARine Ecosystem Stabilty and Turnover”, a multidisciplinary project funded by the European Union that integrates field-based and analytical approaches. In MAREST I combine sequence stratigraphy and palaeoecology (the core disciplines of Stratigraphic Paleobiology) with geochemical proxies of environmental change, to answer the following questions: (i) how do marine benthic communities respond to cyclic sea level changes? (ii) Do communities continuously change through time or alternate intervals of stasis and turnover?(ii) What is the relationship between the stratigraphic architecture and environmental perturbations that cause turnover?

Here at the University of Georgia, US, I collaborate with Professor Steven Holland, where we work on the Middle-Upper Jurassic of the Western Interior Seaway.

Mesozoic Extinction Events and their aftermaths. My focus is on the response of marine macro-invertebrates to past warming events. I have been working in particular on the Ealry Toarcian event, characterized by rapid global warming,development of anoxic condition and a sever extinction event in the marine realm.

Taphonomy of large marine vertebrates and associated fauna. I am particularly interested in modern and fossil whale fall communities and their associated chemosynthetic and heterotrophic fauna. I have also investigated the presence of similar communities associated with large Mesozoic reptile falls.


Selected Publications:


  • S. Danise, S.M. Holland (submitted ). Faunal response to sea-level and climate change in a short-lived seaway: Jurassic of the Western Interior, U.S.A.
  • W. Foster J., Danise S., Twitchett R. J. (in press) A silicified Early Triassic marine assemblage from Svalbard. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology.
  • S. Danise, Bertolaso L., Dominici S. (2016) Bathymodioline mussel dominated Miocene whale fall from Italy. Bollettino della Società Paleontologica Italiana. 55 (1), 2016, 47-53.
  • W. Foster J., Danise S., Sedlacek A., Price G.D., Hips K., Twitchett, R. J. (2015) Environmental controls on the post- Permian recovery of benthic, tropical marine ecosystems in western Palaeotethys (Aggtelek Karst, Hungary), Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 440, 374-394.
  • S. Danise, N.D. Higgs (2015).Bone-eating Osedax worms lived on Mesozoic marine reptile falls. Biology letters 11, 20150072.
  • Featured on Science news website and in NatureResearch Highlights, Nature 520, 411
  • S. Danise, R.J.Twitchett, C.T.S. Little (2015). Environmental controls on Jurassic marine ecosystems during global warming. Geology,43 (3), 263-266. doi:10.1130/G36390.1. 
  • S. Danise, R.J. Twitchett, K. Matts (2014). Ecological succession of a Jurassic shallow-water ichthyosaur fall. Nature Communications 5, 4789. doi:10.1038/ncomms5789
  • S. Danise, S. Dominici (2014). Shallow water fossil whale falls from the Neogeneof Italy. Lethaia. doi: 10.1111/let.12054
  • S. Danise, S. Dominici, A.G. Glover T.G., Dahlgren (2014). Molluscs from a shallow-water whale-fall and their affinities with adjacent benthic communities on the Swedish west coast. Marine Biology Research. 10:1, 3–16. doi:10.1080/17451000.2013.793811
  • A.C. Pugh, S. Danise, J. R. Brown AND R.J.Twitchett (2014). Benthic ecosystem dynamics following the Late Triassic Mass Extinction Event: palaeoecology of the Blue Lias Formation, Lyme Regis, UK. Geoscience in South - West England. 13, 255-266.
  • S. Danise, R.J. Twitchett, C.T.S. Little, M-E. Clemence (2013). The Impact of Global Warming and Anoxia on Marine Benthic Community Dynamics: an Example from the Toarcian (Early Jurassic). PLoS ONE 8(2): e56255. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056255
  • C. Anderung, S. Danise, A.G. Glover, N.D. Higgs, L. Jonsson, R. Sabin, T.G. Dahlgren (2013). A Swedish subfossil find of a bowhead whale from the late Pleistocene: shore displacement, palaeoecology in south-west Sweden and the identity of the Swedenborg whale (Balaena swedenborgii, Liljeborg 1867). Historical Biology.iFirst article, 1-11.doi:10.1080/08912963.2012.757605. 
  • S. Danise, B. Cavalazzi, S. Dominici, F. Westall, S. Monechi, S. Guioli (2012). Evidence of microbial activity form a shallow water whale fall (Voghera, northern Italy). Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology 317-318, 13–26. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2011.12.001
  • S. Danise, S. Dominici, and U. Betocchi (2010) Mollusk species at a Pliocene shelf whale fall (Orciano Pisano, Tuscany). Palaios 25, 449–456. doi:10.2110/palo.2009.p09-139r
  • S. Dominici, E. Cioppi, S. Danise, U. Betocchi, G. Gallai, F. Tangocci, G. Valleri and S. Monechi (2009) Mediterranean fossil whale falls and the adaptation of mollusks to extreme habitats. Geology 37, 815–818. doi: 10.1130/G30073A.1
  • S. Danise*, N.D. Higgs. 2015. Mesozoic origin of the bone-eating Osedax worms and insights on the Origin of the Siboglindae (Annelida). Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 47, No. 7, p.420. (ORAL PRESENTATION).
  • W.J. Foster^, S. Danise, G. Price, R.J. Twitchett. 2015. Subsequet benthic biotic crises in the wake of the late Permian Mass Extinction Event. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 47, No. 7, p.699.
  • W.J. Foster^, S. Danise, A.R.C. Sedlacek R.J. Twitchett. 2015. Environmental controls on the recovery of benthic invertebrate communities in the wake of the late Permian Mass Extinction. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 47, No. 7, p.63.
  • N.D. Higgs, S. Danise. 2015. Fossil insights into the evolution of Osedax worms and the origin of the Siboglinidae(Annelida). 14th Deep Sea Biology Symposium. 31 Aug-4th Sept 2015, Aveiro, Portugal. 
  • S. Danise*, R.J. Twitchett. 2015. Environmental controls onmarine ecosystems during the early Toarcian extinction event. GeophysicalResearch Abstracts Vol. 17, EGU2015-4090, 2015. EGU General Assembly 2015. (ORAL PRESENTATION).
  • S. Dominici, M. Benvenuti, S.Danise. 2015. The stratigraphic distribution of large marine vertebrates andshell beds in the Pliocene of Tuscany. Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 17,EGU2015-9014, 2015. EGU General Assembly 2015.
  • F.J. William J.^, R.J. Twitchett,S. Danise. 2014. Palaeoecology of benthic marine communities in the wake of theLate Permian mass extinction event. 58th Annual Meeting of the PalaeontologicalAssociation, Programme and Abstracts p. 26-27. University of Leeds, 16-19December 2014. 
  • S. Danise*, R.J. Twitchett, C.T.S. Little. 2014. Faunal changes, global warming and anoxia in the early Toarcian (EarlyJurassic). Long term co-evolution of life and the planet (NERC researchprogramme). 5-6 November 2014. The Geological Society, London. Abstract Book p.21. (ORAL PRESENTATION).
  • C.T.S. Little, J. Atkinson, S. Danise, R.J. Twitchett. 2014. The Early Toarcian(Early Jurassic) extinction event and recovery as recorded in the ClevelandBasin, UK. Long term co-evolution of life and the planet(NERC research programme). 5-6 November 2014. The Geological Society, London.Abstract Book p. 22.
  • R.J. Twitchett, A.C. Pugh^, J. Brown^, L. F. Opazo, S. Danise. 2014. Benthic ecosystemdynamics through the Triassic-Jurassic of Southwest UK. 4th International Palaeontological Congress, Mendoza, Argentina. October2014. Abstract volume p. 283. (POSTER).
  • S. Danise*, M.E. Clemence. D. Murphy, G. Price, J.J.Gómez, R.J. Twitchett. 2014. The response of marine benthiccommunities to increase pCO2 and temperature in the early Toarcian. NorthAmerican Palaeontological Convention, Gainesville, Florida. Abstract Book, p.110. (ORAL PRESENTATION).
  • S. Danise*, R.J. Twitchett, MEClemence. 2014. Benthic community dynamics through the early Toarcianextinction event. Workshop on “Jurassic palaeoenvironments and life”, 28th-31stJanuary 2014- Marrakech, Morocco. Abstract Book, p. 13. (ORAL PRESENTATION).
  • S. Danise*, K. Matts^, R.J. Twitchett. 2013.Taphonomy and palaeoecology of a Jurassic ichthyosaur: similarities anddifferences to modern whale falls. 57th Annual Meeting of the PalaeontologicalAssociation, Programme and Abstracts p. 32. Universitat Zurich, December 2013. (ORAL PRESENTATION).
  • Pugh^, S.Danise, R.J. Twitchett. 2013. Benthic ecosystemdynamics following the Late Triassic mass extinction event. 57th Annual Meeting of the PalaeontologicalAssociation, Programme and Abstracts p. 83. Universitat Zurich, December 2013.(POSTER).
  • R.J. Twitchett, S. Danise, K. Matts^. 2013. Taphonomy and palaeoecology of aJurassic ichthyosaur: similarities and differences to modern whale falls.Geological Society of America Annual Meeting. October 2013.
  • S. Danise*. 2013. The impact of global warming and anoxia on marinebenthic community dynamics: an example from the Toarcian (Early Jurassic).Marine Institute Research Centre, Plymouth University. June 2013.(ORAL PRESENTATION).
  • S. Danise*, R.J. Twitchett, C.T.S. Little, ME Clemence. 2012.Marine community dynamics through the early Toarcian (Early Jurassic) globalwarming event. 56th Annual Meeting of the Palaeontological Association,Programme and Abstracts, p. 28. December 2012. (ORAL PRESENTATION).
  • S. Danise, R.J. Twitchett and C.T.S. Little. 2012. Marinecommunity dynamics through the early Toarcian (Early Jurassic) global warmingevent. Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 44, No. 7,p. 626. November 2012. (ORALPRESENTATION).
  • R. Edmonds, M.B. Haart and S. Danise.2012. Micro- and macro-fossils associated with the Dorset pliosaur. UssherSociety. January 2012.
  • S. Danise* andS. Dominici. 2011. Fossil whale falls from the Neogene of Italy. 55thPalaeontological Association Annual Meeting, Plymouth University. December2011. Programme and Abstracts, p. 48. (POSTER).
  • S. Danise andS. Dominici. 2011. Seven FossilWhales. Convegno della Società Paleontologica Italiana, Monte San Giorgio, Switzerland. June 2011.
  • S.Danise*, B. Cavalazzi, S. Dominici, S.Monechi, F. Westall, B. Schmitz and S. Guioli. 2010. Evidence of microbial activity in aMiocene whale carcass from shallow water sediments (Voghera, Northern Italy).Third International Palaeontological Congress, London, UK. July 2010. Abstractvolume p. 136. (ORAL PRESENTATION).
  • S. Danise*, S.Dominici, T.G. Dahlgren and A.G. Glover, 2010. Chemosymbiotic mollusks fromrecent and fossil shallow water whale falls. Third InternationalPalaeontological Congress, London, UK. July 2010. (POSTER).
  • S. Danise*, S.Dominici, B. Cavalazzi and S. Monechi. 2010. Fossil whale falls from theNeogene of Italy. Convegnodella Società Paleontologica Italiana, Rende (CS), Italy. 27-28 May 2010.Riassunti p. 22. (ORAL PRESENTATION).
  • S. Danise*, S. Dominiciand S. Monechi. 2009. A Pliocene whale-fall community from outer shelf deposits(Orciano Pisano, Tuscany, Italy). 4th International Symposium onChemosynthesis-based Ecosystems, Okinawa, Japan. June 2009. (POSTER).
  • S. Dominici, S. Danise.2009. Mediterranean fossil whales and the adaptation of mollusks to extremehabitats. North American PaleontologicalConvention, Cincinnati, Ohio. June 2009. (POSTER).

2013     Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowships for Career Development. (282,109.20 euro).

2013     Palaeontological Society Research Grant. (£6,665). 

2013     The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation Grant. (£2,000).

2012     EU SYNTHESYS Grant. Visit  marine vertebrate collections at the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin.

2012     Marine Institute Education Fund, Plymouth University. (£300).

Personal Website: