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Emma-Louise Nicholls

Dr Emma Nicholls has been Deputy Keeper of Natural History at the Horniman since July 2016. She is the curator in charge of the osteology, palaeontology, and geology collections, and uses her specialism in these areas to raise the profile of the Natural History collections through social media, events, subject specialist networks and conference presentations.

She holds a Ph.D. in Palaeobiology from University College London, an M.Sc. in Palaeobiology from The University of Bristol and an M.Sci. in Geology from The University of Birmingham. She is on the committee of both the Natural Sciences Collections Association and the Geological Curators’ Group, and is a member of the Palaeontological Association and the Society for the History of Natural History, as well as Save the Rhino, The Shark Trust, and the Gorilla Organisation.

Emma’s previous positions have been as Curator of Science and Nature for the Zayed National Museum in the United Arab Emirates, based at the British Museum in London; as Curatorial Assistant at the Grant Museum of Zoology; and in collections management and archive roles at the Lapworth Museum of Geology. During her time at university, she also held volunteer roles at Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, the Sedgwick Museum of Geology, Florida Museum of Natural History, and the Natural History Museum London.

Her hobbies include volunteering in rhino conservation, building dioramas out of her extensive Lego collection and watching monster movies. Emma is a huge Sci-Fi fan, with a particular love of Star Trek (the original television series) and the Predator film franchise.

Research interests:

  • Patterns in cohabiting shark and ray trophic-groups, in both modern and fossil faunas
  • The Horniman’s Bennett Collection of 175,000 fossil specimens, working to reconcile four separate sources of documentation, in order to fully document and accession the collection
  • Shark material held across all collections at the Horniman including fossil, modern and live specimens of shark and ray, as well as anthropological objects that contain shark and ray material.

Recent conference presentations:

  • 2018, Natural Sciences Collections Association, A Year of Coraling and Coralling
  • 2017, Geological Curators’ Group, Coping with Short Notice
  • 2016, European Elasmobranch Association, Endangered Species are Ten a Penny
  • 2016, Symposium of Palaeontological Preparation and Conservation, A Documentation Mystification
  • 2016, Symposium of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy, Patterns in the Palaeoecology of Modern and Cretaceous Chondrichthyan Faunas.