Dr Liz Reed

Elizabeth Reed
Research Fellow
School of Physical Sciences
Faculty of Sciences

I am a vertebrate palaeontologist specialising in Quaternary aged cave deposits, notably in the south east region of South Australia. My particular interests are vertebrate taphonomy and site history, Quaternary palaeoclimate and biodiversity records from caves and refining megafauna extinction records.

I am a Research Fellow within the School of Physical Sciences and a member of the Environment Institute. I am also an Honorary Research Associate with the South Australian Museum.

I completed an Honours degree in vertebrate palaeontology at Flinders University, studying how kangaroo skeletons decompose and disarticulate in a natural environment. I was awarded my PhD in 2004. My thesis research involved taphonomic (fossil forensics) studies of large mammal fossils from the Pleistocene-aged deposits within the World Heritage listed Naracoorte Caves National Park. Since then I have taught at undergraduate and graduate level and continue to study cave deposits in the South East region of South Australia.

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Dr Liz Reed

I am a vertebrate palaeontologist specialising in Quaternary aged cave deposits, notably in the south east region of South Australia. My particular interests are vertebrate taphonomy and site history, Quaternary palaeoclimate and biodiversity records from caves and refining megafauna extinction records.

I am a Research Fellow within the School of Physical Sciences and a member of the Environment Institute. I am also an Honorary Research Associate with the South Australian Museum.

I completed an Honours degree in vertebrate palaeontology at Flinders University, studying how kangaroo skeletons decompose and disarticulate in a natural environment. I was awarded my PhD in 2004. My thesis research involved taphonomic (fossil forensics) studies of large mammal fossils from the Pleistocene-aged deposits within the World Heritage listed Naracoorte Caves National Park. Since then I have taught at undergraduate and graduate level and continue to study cave deposits in the South East region of South Australia.

My current research projects centre on Quaternary aged vertebrate fossil deposits from caves in the Naracoorte area of the Limestone Coast region of South Australia. In collaboration with colleagues from University of Adelaide's Environment Institute and various institutions in Australia and overseas, I am working on refining the age and palaeoenvironmental context of key deposits at Naracoorte.

Current projects -:

  • Refining the chronology and environmental context of megafauna extinctions at Naracoorte.
  • Palaeontology and taphonomy of Naracoorte fossil assemblages.
  • Investigation of cave deposits found in limestone quarries at Naracoorte.
  • Review of fossil faunas including megafauna marsupials, bats, frogs and reptiles.

I am a member of the Environment Institute and Sprigg Geobiology Centre at University of Adelaide. I am also a Research Associate with the South Australian Museum.

Our latest article in The Conversation.

Sprigg Geobiology Centre LogoEnvironment Institute Logo

The Environment Institute Annual Report 2015 features a great story about research at Naracoorte Caves.

Check out the July 2015 issue of e-Science magazine to see my article on the fossils of Naracoorte. http://escience.realviewdigital.com/?iid=122820#folio=24

Don't forget to visit the amazing Naracoorte Caves!

 

Below - Digging for megafauna, Naracoorte Caves National Park. During the Pleistocene, megafauna and other animals fell into caves and became trapped with their remains accumulating in the cave below. Over time these remains were buried by sediments that washed or blew into the cave. Fossil bones are delicate, so we use small dental picks and brushes to expose the long buried fossils. The position of each bone is recorded in detail and samples of charcoal, bone, sediment and cave formations (speleothems) are used to determine the age of the deposits. Photo Steve Bourne. 

Digging for megafauna, Naracoorte Caves National Park. Photo Steve Bourne.

Below - Peeling back the layers in time - Liz Reed excavating in Blanche Cave (Naracoorte Caves National Park), assisted by Cath Loder. The finely layered strata are visible in the sandy cave sediments. Each layer represents a period of time. Like chapters in a book each has a story to tell about the past animals and environment at Naracoorte. Photo Steve Bourne.  

Peeling back the layers in time - Liz Reed excavating in Blanche Cave (Naracoorte Caves National Park), assisted by Cath Loder. Photo Steve Bourne.

 Below - One of the many exceptionally well preserved fossils from Naracoorte Caves. This is the skull of an extinct short-faced kangaroo. The fossil caves of the Naracoorte Caves National Park are deemed so signficant that they are World Heritage listed. Much of my research centres on these deposits. Photo Steve Bourne.

One of the many exceptionally well preserved fossils from Naracoorte Caves. This is the skull of an extinct short-faced kangaroo. Photo Steve Bourne.

Below - A tiny fossil bat dentary from the late Pleistocene of Naracoorte. Bats have lived in caves at Naracoorte for hundreds of thousands of years. Their fossil remains accumulated from natural deaths beneath roosts in the caves. Other small vertebrates such as rodents and dasyurids fell victim to owl predation, forming large accumulations derived from owl pellets. Photo Liz Reed 

A tiny fossil bat dentary from the late Pleistocene of Naracoorte. Photo Liz Reed

 

Science communication and community service

March 2017 - Faculty of Science, University of Adelaide stand at South East Field Days, Lucindale SA. I ran a fossil sorting activity and provided information regarding courses.

June 2017 - Inspiring South Australia regional science hubs meeting.

 

 

Appointments

Date Position Institution name
2015 Research Fellow University of Adelaide
2011 - 2013 Research Fellow, vertebrate palaeontology Flinders University
2006 - 2010 Lecturer in palaeontology Flinders University

Education

Date Institution name Country Title
2005 Deakin University Australia Grad. Cert. Museum Studies
2004 Flinders University Australia PhD
1997 Flinders University Australia BA (Hons)

Journals

Year Citation
2017 Reed, E. H. (2017). Once more unto the deep: early history of Cathedral Cave, Naracoorte.. Journal of the Australasian Cave and Karst Management Association, 106, 9-14.
2016 Curry, M., Reed, E. H. & Bourne, S. (2016). Thylacoleo carnifex and the Naracoorte Caves. Australian Age of Dinosaurs: The annual publication of the Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History., 13, 40-51.
2016 Grealy, A., Macken, A., Allentoft, M., Rawlence, N., Reed, E. & Bunce, M. (2016). An assessment of ancient DNA preservation in Holocene-Pleistocene fossil bone excavated from the world heritage Naracoorte Caves, South Australia. Journal of Quaternary Science, 31, 1, 33-45.
10.1002/jqs.2830
2016 Reed, E. (2016). The mystery photographer and the unknown engraving: new information on the first photographs of the Naracoorte Caves.. Journal of the Australasian Cave and Karst Management Association, 103, 5-10.
2014 Macken, A. C. & Reed, E. H. (2014). Postglacial reorganization of a small-mammal paleocommunity in southern Australia reveals thresholds of change. Ecological Monographs, 84, 4, 563-577.
10.1890/13-0713.1
2014 Curry, M., Reed, L. & Bourne, S. (2014). Catching the 'marsupial lion' by the tail: Thylacoleo carnifex and the Naracoorte Caves.. Journal of the Australasian Cave and Karst Management Association, 97, 6-16.
2013 Macken, A. C., Staff, R. A. & Reed, E. H. (2013). Bayesian age-depth modelling of Late Quaternary deposits from Wet and Blanche Caves, Naracoorte, South Australia: a framework for comparative faunal analyses. Quaternary Geochronology, 17, 26-43.
10.1016/j.quageo.2013.03.001
2013 Reed, E. H. (2013). 'Old' cave, new stories: the interpretative evolution of Blanche Cave, Naracoorte.. Journal of the Australasian Cave and Karst Management Association, 90, 11-28.
2013 Macken, A. & Reed, E. (2013). Late Quaternary small mammal faunas of the Naracoorte Caves World Heritage Area. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, 137, 1, 53-67.
10.1080/3721426.2013.10887171
2013 Macken, A. C., McDowell, M. C., Bartholomeusz, D. N. & Reed, E. H. (2013). Chronology and stratigraphy of the Wet Cave vertebrate fossil deposit, Naracoorte, and relationship to paleoclimatic conditions of the Last Glacial Cycle in south-eastern Australia. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 60, 2, 271-281.
10.1080/08120099.2013.758657
2012 Reed, E. H. (2012). Of mice and megafauna: new insights into Naracoorte's fossil deposits. Journal of the Australasian Cave and Karst Management Association, 86, 7-14.
2012 Macken, A., Prideaux, G. & Reed, E. (2012). Variation and pattern in the responses of mammal faunas to Late Pleistocene climatic change in southeastern South Australia. Journal of Quaternary Science, 27, 4, 415-424.
10.1002/jqs.1563
2012 St Pierre, E., Zhao, J., Feng, Y. & Reed, E. (2012). U-series dating of soda straw stalactites from excavated deposits: method development and application to Blanche Cave, Naracoorte, South Australia. Journal of Archaeological Science, 39, 4, 922-930.
10.1016/j.jas.2011.10.027
2011 Macken, A., Jankowski, N., Price, G., Bestland, E., Reed, E., Prideaux, G. & Roberts, R. (2011). Application of sedimentary and chronological analyses to refine the depositional context of a Late Pleistocene vertebrate deposit, Naracoorte, South Australia. Quaternary Science Reviews, 30, 19-20, 2690-2702.
10.1016/j.quascirev.2011.05.023
2009 Darrénougué, N., De Deckker, P., Fitzsimmons, K. E., Norman, M. D., Reed, L., van der Kaars, S. & Fallon, S. (2009). A late Pleistocene record of aeolian sedimentation in Blanche Cave, Naracoorte, South Australia. Quaternary Science Reviews, 28, 25-26, 2600-2615.
10.1016/j.quascirev.2009.05.021
2009 Reed, E. H. (2009). Decomposition and disarticulation of kangaroo carcasses in caves at Naracoorte, South Australia. Journal of Taphonomy, 7, 4, 265-284.
2009 St Pierre, E., Zhao, J. & Reed, E. (2009). Expanding the utility of Uranium-series dating of speleothems for archaeological and palaeontological applications. Journal of Archaeological Science, 36, 7, 1416-1423.
10.1016/j.jas.2009.02.004
2009 Bourne, S. & Reed, E. H. (2009). The Australian Fossil Mammal sites (Riversleigh/Naracoorte).. World Heritage, 52, 46-47.
2009 Reed, E. & Bourne, S. (2009). Pleistocene fossil vertebrate sites of the South East region of South Australia II. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, 133, 1, 30-40.
10.1080/03721426.2009.10887108
2008 Reed, E. H. (2008). Pinning down the pitfall: Entry points for Pleistocene vertebrate remains and sediments in the Fossil Chamber, Victoria Fossil Cave, Naracoorte, South Australia.. Quaternary Australasia, 25, 2, 2-8.
2006 Reed, E. H. (2006). In Situ Taphonomic Investigation of Pleistocene Large Mammal Bone Deposits from The Ossuaries, Victoria Fossil Cave, Naracoorte, South Australia. Helictite, 39, 1, 5-15.
2005 Reed, E. & Hutchinson, M. (2005). First record of a giant varanid (Megalania, Squamata) from the Pleistocene of Naracoorte, South Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, 51, 1, 203-213.
2001 Reed, E. (2001). Disarticulation of kangaroo skeletons in semi-arid Australia. Australian Journal of Zoology, 49, 6, 615-632.
10.1071/ZO01010
2000 Reed, E. & Bourne, S. (2000). Pleistocene fossil vertebrate sites of the south east region of South Australia. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, 124, 2, 61-90.

Books

Year Citation
2006 E. H. Reed, S. Bourne, D. Megirian, G. Prideaux & G. Young (Eds.) (2006). Proceedings of the 10th Conference on Australasian Vertebrate Evolution, Palaeontology and Systematics. Alcheringa Special Issue 1..

Book Chapters

Year Citation
2012 Reed, E. H. (2012). South Australia: Naracoorte Caves. In Australian Heritage Council (Ed.), Australia’s Fossil Heritage: a catalogue of important Australian fossil sites (pp. 69-70).
2009 Reed, E. H. (2009). A vertebrate CSI. In South Australian Museum (Ed.), The Fossil Hunters (pp. 37-41). Adelaide: South Australian Museum.
2003 Reed, E. H. & Gillieson, D. (2003). Mud and bones: cave deposits and environmental history in Australia.. In B. Finlayson & E. Hamilton-Smith (Eds.), Beneath the surface: a natural history of Australian Caves (pp. 89-110). Sydney: University of New South Wales Press.

Conference Items

Year Citation
2016 Reed, E. H. & Reardon, T. (2016). Fossil bats from Quaternary cave deposits at Naracoorte, South Australia.. Palaeontology Down Under 2. University of Adelaide.
2016 Gray, J., Reed, E. H., Hutchinson, M., Jones, M. & McDowell, M. (2016). Agamid lizard fossils from South Australian caves and their implications for environmental change during the Quaternary. Palaeo Down Under 2. University of Adelaide.
2015 Gray, J., Reed, & McDowell, M. (2015). Agamid (Reptilia: Squamata) assemblages from South Australia
suggest differences between Pleistocene and modern distributions that reflect climate change. Society of Vertebrate Paleontology annual meeting. Dallas, Texas, USA.
2015 Reed, E. H. (2015). Site formation processes and their influence on chronological records from cave deposits: examples from Naracoorte Caves. 4th Asia Pacific Luminescence and Electron Spin Resonance Dating Conference. University of Adelaide.
2015 Reed, E. H. (2015). Priests, parties and palaeontologists: a potted history of the Naracoorte Caves.. Reflections: The 22nd State History Conference. Robe, South Australia.
2006 Wells, R., Grun, R., Forbes, M., Sullivan, J., Bestland, E. & Reed, E. H. (2006). The Black Creek Swamp Megafauna Site, Kangaroo Island: pre or post blitzkreig?. Conference on Vertebrate Evolution Palaeontology and Systematics. Naracoorte SA.
2006 Wells, R., Grun, R., Forbes, M., Sullivan, J., Bestland, E. & Reed, E. H. (2006). The Black Creek Swamp Megafauna Site, Kangaroo Island: pre or post blitzkreig?. Conference on Vertebrate Evolution Palaeontology and Systematics. Naracoorte SA.
2006 Reed, E. H. (2006). A modern taphonomic analogue for Pleistocene pitfall cave deposits at Naracoorte, South Australia.. Conference on Vertebrate Evolution Palaeontology and Systematics. Naracoorte SA.
2006 Reed, E. H. (2006). A modern taphonomic analogue for Pleistocene pitfall cave deposits at Naracoorte, South Australia.. Conference on Vertebrate Evolution Palaeontology and Systematics. Naracoorte SA.
2006 Reed, E. H., Wells, R., Bourne, S. & Sellar, A. (2006). Discovering the history of life on Earth in South Australia. Conference on Vertebrate Evolution Palaeontology and Systematics. Naracoorte, SA.
2006 Wells, R. & Reed, E. H. (2006). Naracoorte Caves World Heritage site: history and research overview.. Conference on Australasian vertebrate evolution and systematics. Naracoorte.
10.1080/03115510609506876
2006 Reed, E. H., Wells, R., Bourne, S. & Sellar, A. (2006). Discovering the history of life on Earth in South Australia. Conference on Vertebrate Evolution Palaeontology and Systematics. Naracoorte, SA.
2006 Sullivan, J., Wells, R., Reed, E. H., Forbes, M. & Bestland, E. (2006). A taphonomic investigation of the Black Creek Swamp megafaunal accumulation.. Conference on Australasian vertebrate evolution and systematics. Naracoorte.
10.1080/03115510609506876
1999 Reed, E. H. (1999). A taphonomic study of the disarticulation of macropodid skeletons in a semi-arid environment.. Conference on Australasian Vertebrate Evolution Palaeontology and Systematics. Perth, Australia.

Report for External Bodies

Year Citation
2003 Reed, E. H., (2003). Draft fossil-based tourism scoping study.,

Theses

Year Citation
2003 Reed, E. H.; (2003); Vertebrate Taphonomy of large mammal bone deposits, Naracoorte Caves World Heritage Area.;

Internet Publications

Year Citation
2017 Reed, E. H. & Arnold, L.; (2017); Naracoorte, where half a million years of biodiversity and climate history are trapped in caves;
2015 Reed, E. H.; (2015); Underground archives: Naracoorte's fossil caves and their record of deep time.;
  • 2017 ARC Linkage Project Scheme. LP160101249 Dr Lee Arnold, Prof. Bob Hill, Dr Elizabeth Reed, Prof. Alan Cooper, Assoc. Prof. Jeremy Austin, Dr John Tibby, Associate Professor Russell Drysdale; Dr John Hellstrom; Dr Gilbert Price; Dr Helen Macdonald; Dr Daniel Rogers; Dr Mark Hutchinson; Adjunct Professor Nigel Spooner. Naracoorte caves: a critical window on faunal extinctions and past climates. $669,000.
  • 2017 Babara Kidman Women's Fellowship, Dr Elizabeth Reed, University of Adelaide. $20,000.
  • 2016 DVCR Interdisciplinary Research Grants University of Adelaide - Dr Elizabeth Reed, Professor Alan Cooper, Dr Lee Arnold, Dr John Tibby, Professor Nigel Spooner. Preliminary investigation of Quaternary vertebrate fossil sites from caves in central and northwest Tasmania: testing a multi-proxy approach for reconstructing past biodiversity and environment. $23,600.
  • 2015 Environment Institute grant - Refining the timing and palaeoenvironmental context for megafauna extinction records at Naracoorte, South Australia. EI Investigators – Dr Liz Reed (CI), Dr Lee Arnold, Dr Francesca McInerney, Dr John Tibby, Dr Jonathan Tyler and Dr Juraj Farkas. $50,000.

I am currently teaching osteology, vertebrate palaeontology and palaeoecology in ENV BIOL 3550 Evolution of the Australian Biota III (6 units) - including the Naracoorte Caves Field Trip in September.

 

Below - The reconstructed skeleton of Thylacoleo carnifex looms large over the fossil bed in Victoria Fossil Cave, Naracoorte Caves NP. Photo Steve Bourne

The reconstructed skeleton of Thylacoleo carnifex looms large over the fossil bed in Victoria Fossil Cave, Naracoorte Caves NP. Photo Steve Bourne

 

  • Supervising at Honours and PhD level.
  • Projects in palaeontology, palaeoecology, taphonomy and Quaternary deposits.

Current HDR students -:

Jessie-Briar Treloar PhD, Earth Sciences (Principal Supervisor)

Henri Garon PhD, Earth Sciences (Co-Supervisor)

Below - Enormous sand cones in a cave at Naracoorte. These cones formed from sand that was blown or washed into a cave entrance. Photo Steve Bourne.

Enormous sand cones in a cave at Naracoorte. These cones formed from sand that was blown or washed into a cave entrance. Photo Steve Bourne.

 

Memberships

Date Role Membership Country
2016 - ongoing Member Geological Society of Australia Australia
2016 - ongoing Australian Mammal Society Australia
2015 - ongoing Member Australasian Cave and Karst Management Association
2015 - ongoing Member Society of Vertebrate Paleontology United States
2015 - ongoing CSIRO Scientists in Schools Australia
2009 - ongoing Member Australasian Quaternary Association
Position
Research Fellow
Campus
North Terrace
Building
Mawson Building
Org Unit
Earth Sciences

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