Our Team

Rhys Charles
Engagement Officer

Rhys joined the Bristol Dinosaur Project as it’s Engagement Officer in November 2016, taking over the day to day running of things. Rhys completed his Masters degree in Palaeontology & Evolution at UoB in 2015 and has previously worked in Curation at Bristol Museum, and as a Ranger at Bristol Zoo. By joining the BDP Rhys has kept his solemn vow to only work for institutions with ‘Bristol’ in their names.

In his time with the project Rhys has visited over a hundred schools in the local area and beyond, as well as co-ordinating the BDP at public science events such as the Festival of Nature, Bristol Rocks!, multiple museum discovery days, and more. He has also been a ‘Dinosaur Consultant’ for large scale events, including the ‘DinoMania’ event at Bristol Zoo Gardens in 2017, and the ‘Jurassic Make Off’ YouTube series with popular channel ‘Game Grumps’.

Rhys also works in outreach beyond the BDP, as the Engagement Officer for the entire school of Earth Sciences in the University of Bristol, and as a freelance consultant and author of children’s and general public science books.

Contact Rhys – rhys.charles@bristol.ac.uk


Mike Benton
Founder

Michael Benton is a professor of Vertebrate Palaeontology at the University of Bristol. With the aim of making palaeontology research more accessible to the general public, Mike created the Bristol Dinosaur Project in the year 2000, recruiting local icon of the field, Thecodontosaurus, to be the mascot. Mike has overseen the project since it’s inception and successfully bid for Lottery Herritage Funding to expand the project from 2010-2013.

A world-renown scientist, Mike has worked on some of the biggest ideas in palaeontology, such as the Permian-Triassic extinction event, and groundbreaking work on reconstructing the colour of long extinct species. Mike has guided countless PhD, Masters, and undergraduate students to their degrees in science.

Mike has also written several books, including; “The Day The Earth Nearly Died”, and most recently, “Dinosaurs Rediscovered”.


Sophie Gayne & Ellie Honan
Women In Science Co-Ordinators

Sophie completed her MSc in Palaeobiology at the University of Bristol in 2018, studying the effects of the Eocene Thermal Maximum on populations of foraminifera. Whilst a student at the university, it was Sophie who first came up with the idea for and structure of our ‘Women in Science’ programme. Since graduating in February 2019, Sophie now works in the city as a Data Analyst though she continues to help the BDP as a contributor on social media and through providing insight and advice on upcoming projects.

Ellie is a current Palaeobiology MSc student in the University, due to graduate in 2021. She is currently working on a project involving penguins.


Nuria Melisa Morales Garcia
Graphic Designer

Melisa is a current PhD Student at the University of Bristol, woking on the jaws of Mesozoic Mammals with supervisor Professor Emily Rayfield. Well known for her excellent artistic skills, Melisa has won several awards for her work in graphic design for science communication, including the ‘Best Poster’ prize at multiple large-scale palaeontological conferences (including the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology and the Palaeontological Association).


Acknowledgements

The BDP can only function with support from so many people within the University of Bristol and beyond. Special thanks must go to our regular advisor on all things Volcano, Ailsa Naismith, and the wonderful folk over at Bristol Museum; curators of Geology Debs Hutchinson and Isla Gladstone, and Learning Officers Lucy Fulton and Rachael Hall.