Research Scientist, Palaeobiology, and Director, The Beaty Centre for Species Discovery

Danielle Fraser.

Contact Information

Tel: 613.566.4722
Fax: 613.364.4027

Danielle Fraser studies the palaeoecology and evolution of Cenozoic-Era (66 million years to present) mammals.


  • Palaeoecology.
  • Evolutionary biology.
  • Stable-isotope palaeoecology.
  • Historical ecology of extant megafauna.
  • Functional morphology.
  • Phylogenetic approaches.
  • Mammals.


  • Peter Buck Postdoctoral Fellow, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, District of Columbia, 2015–2016.
  • Ph.D., Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, 2010–2015.
  • M.Sc., University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, 2008–2010.
  • B.Sc., University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, 2003–2007.


Danielle Fraser's research is focused on understanding how mammals and the communities in which they live have evolved. She is especially interested in the conditions that led to the formation of mammal communities as we know them today. Fraser broadly studies mammalian evolution with a particular focus on their feeding adaptations as well as mammal community ecology at both small (local) and large (continental) spatial scales. Fraser uses a variety of tools to study mammal palaeoecology including functional morphology, stable isotopes, phylogenetics and computational palaeobiology.

Fraser is particularly interested in the evolution of hoofed mammals (relatives of modern horses, pigs, sheep and deer), studying their diversification, morphological and dietary evolution during the Cenozoic of North America.

Main Research Project

  • Using an eco-evolutionary framework to study Cenozoic (66 Ma to present) mammal responses to abiotic and biotic perturbation.

Professional Services

  • Director, The Beaty Centre for Species Discovery.
  • Adjunct Research Professor, Biology, Carleton University.
  • Adjunct Research Professor, Earth Sciences, Carleton University.
  • Research Collaborator, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
  • Education and Outreach Grant Committee, Paleontological Society.


  • Matthew Brenning (Ph.D. student, Earth Sciences, Carleton University).
  • Brigid Christison (M.Sc. student, Biology, Carleton University).
  • Zoe Landry (M.Sc. student, Biology, Carleton University).
  • Blue Hunter-Moffatt (B.Sc. (Hons.) and NSERC USRA student, Earth Sciences, Carleton University).
  • Emily Dyer (B.Sc. (Hons.), Earth Sciences, Carleton University). 


Personal research page

Google Scholar Profile


ResearchGate profile

Education and Outreach Grant, Paleontological Society

Canadian Society of Vertebrate Palaeontology

Society of Vertebrate Paleontology

Biology, Carleton University

Earth Sciences, Carleton University

Evolution of Terrestrial Ecosystems


Refereed Journal Papers

S.A.F. Darroch, D. Fraser, and M.M. Casey. (In press). The preservation potential of terrestrial biogeographic patterns. Proceedings of the Royal Society B; RSPB-2020-0901. 

Pineda-Munoz, S., A.M. Jukar, K. Amatangelo, W.M. Balk, W.A. Barr, A.K. Behrensmeyer, J.L. Blois, M. Davis, A. Du, J.T. Eronen, D. Fraser, N.J. Gotelli, C. Looy, J.H. Miller, L.C. Soul, A.B. Tóth, A. Villaseñor, S. Wing, S.K. Lyons. 2021. Body mass-related changes in mammal community assembly patterns during the late Quaternary of North America. Ecography 44: 56–66.

Fraser, D., L.C. Soul, M.A. Balk, W.A. Barr, A.K. Behrensmeyer, A. Du, J. Eronen, J.T. Faith, N.J. Gotelli, G. Graves, A.M. Jukar, C.V. Looy, J.H. Miller, S. Pineda-Munoz, A.B. Shupinski, A.B. Tóth, A. Villaseñor, and S.K. Lyons. 2021. Investigating biotic interactions in deep time. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 38: 61–75.

Fraser, D. and S.K. Lyons. 2020. Mammal community structure across the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. The American Naturalist 196: 271–290.

Tóth, A., S.K. Lyons, W.A. Barr, A.K. Behrensmeyer, J.L. Blois, R. Bobe, M. Davis, A. Du, J.T. Eronen, J.T. Faith, D. Fraser, N.J. Gotelli, G.R. Graves, A.M. Jukar, J.H. Miller, S. Pineda-Munoz, L.C. Soul, A. Villaseñor, and J. Alroy. 2019. Reorganization of surviving mammal communities after the end-Pleistocene megafaunal extinction. Science 365: 1305–1308.

Fraser, D., R.J. Haupt, and W.A. Barr. 2018. Phylogenetic signal in tooth wear dietary niche proxies: what it means for those in the field. Ecology and Evolution 8: 11363–11367.

Fraser, D., R.J. Haupt, and W.A. Barr. 2018. Phylogenetic signal in tooth wear dietary niche proxies. Ecology and Evolution 8: 5355–5368.

Fraser, D. and S.K. Lyons. 2017. Biotic interchange has structured Western Hemisphere mammal communities. Global Ecology and Biogeography 26: 1408–1422.

Boessenecker, R.W., D. Fraser, M. Churchill, and J.H. Geisler. 2017. A toothless dwarf dolphin (Odontoceti: Xenorophidae) points to explosive feeding diversification in modern whales (Neoceti). Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284: 20170531.

Fraser, D. 2017. Can latitudinal richness gradients be measured in the fossil record? Paleobiology 43: 479–494.

Lyons, S.K., J.H. Miller, D. Fraser, F.A. Smith, A. Boyer, E. Lindsey, A.M. Mychajliw. 2016. The changing role of mammal life histories in late Quaternary extinction vulnerability on continents and islands. Biology Letters 12: 20160342.

Fraser, D., R. Gorelick and N. Rybczynski. 2015. Macroevolution and climate change influence phylogenetic community assembly of North American hoofed mammals. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 114: 485–494.

Hoffmann, J., D. Fraser and M.T. Clementz. 2015. Controlled feeding trials with ungulates: A new application of in vivo dental molding to assess the abrasive factors of microwear. Journal of Experimental Biology 218: 1538–1547.

Fraser, D., C. Hassall, R. Gorelick and N. Rybczynski. 2014. Climate drives spatiotemporal patterns of Cenozoic mammal beta diversity and latitudinal turnover gradients in North America. PLOS One 9: e106499.

Cullen, T.M., D. Fraser, N. Rybczynski and C. Schroder-Adams. 2014. Early evolution of sexual dimorphism and polygyny within Pinnipedia. Evolution 68: 1469–1484.

Fraser, D., T. Zybutz, E. Lightner and J.M. Theodor. 2014. Scoring mesowear in the mandibular cheek teeth of ruminants: a new scheme for increasing paleoecological sample sizes. Journal of Zoology 294: 41–48.

Fraser, D. and N. Rybczynski. 2014. Complexity of ruminant masticatory evolution. Journal of Morphology 275: 1093–1102.

Fraser, D. and J.M. Theodor. 2013. Ungulate diets reveal patterns of grassland evolution in North America. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 369: 409–421.

Fraser, D. and J.M. Theodor. 2011. Comparing ungulate dietary proxies using discriminant function analysis. Journal of Morphology 272: 1513–1526.

Fraser, D. and J.M. Theodor. 2011. Anterior dentary shape as an indicator of diet in ruminant artiodactyls. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 31: 1366–1375.

Fraser, D. and J.M. Theodor. 2010. The use of gross dental wear in dietary studies of extinct lagomorphs. Journal of Paleontology 84: 720–729.

Fraser, D., J.C. Mallon, R. Furr and J.M. Theodor. 2009. Improving the repeatability of low magnification microwear methods utilizing high dynamic range imaging. PALAIOS 24: 818–825.