Daryl Codron

Florisbad Quaternary Research Department
National Museum
PO Box 266
(w): +27 (0) 51 447 9609



Research Themes


Research Interests

I am interested in the trophic dynamics of past and present terrestrial vertebrate ecosystems, and how trophic processes ultimately act as drivers of ecological and evolutionary change. My research focuses largely, but not solely, on ungulate faunas from the southern African Quaternary fossil record, and on similar assemblages from extant analogous habitats. I am also interested in how differences in animal life histories result in differences in the ecological structure of populations and communities, and how the interplay between this structure and trophic interactions shaped terrestrial ecosystems dominated by faunas as different as mammals, dinosaurs, and therapsids.
The majority of my research uses stable isotope analysis to reconstruct trophic dynamics in extant and extinct fauna. In particular, I am interested in relationships between animal stable isotope compositions with morphophysiological traits (like craniodental metrics, gastrointestinal anatomy, and digestive efficiency) as a means to address questions about the functional significance of adaptive traits, and about evolutionary convergence as a whole. Yet I also aim a substantial portion of my research at key issues underpinning the fundamental principles and assumptions of stable isotope  applications in ecology. Hence, many of my studies entail experimental and/or modelling approaches directed at improving our general understanding of stable isotope abundances and distributions, and on developing novel analytical tools for more detailed and accurate applications.


Click here for my full publications list on Google Scholar 

  • Codron D, Carbone C, Clauss M (2013) Ecological interactions in dinosaur communities: Influences of small offspring and complex ontogenetic life histories. Plos One. 8:e77110
  • Clauss M, Steuer P, Müller DWH, Codron D, Hummel J (2013) Herbivory and body size: allometries of diet quality and gastrointestinal physiology, and implications for herbivore ecology and dinosaur gigantism. PloS One. 8:e68714
  • Codron D, Carbone C, Müller DWH, Clauss M (2012) Ontogenetic niche shifts in dinosaurs influenced size, diversity and extinction in terrestrial vertebrates. Biol Lett. 8:620-623
  • Codron D, Sponheimer M, Codron J, Newton I, Lanham JL, Clauss M (2012) The confounding effects of source isotopic heterogeneity on consumer-diet and tissue-tissue stable isotope relationships. Oecologia 169:939-953
  • Codron J, Codron D, Sponheimer M, Kirkman K, Duffy KJ, Raubenheimer EJ, Mélice J-L, Grant R, Clauss M, Lee-Thorp JA (2012) Stable isotope series from elephant ivory reveal lifetime histories of a true dietary generalist. Proc R Soc Lond B. 279:2433-2441
  • Hummel J, Findeisen E, Südekum K-H, Ruf I, Kaiser TM, Bucher M, Clauss M, Codron D (2011) Another one bites the dust - faecal silica levels in large herbivores correlate with hypsodonty. Proc R Soc Lond B. 278:1742-1747
  • Codron D, Hull J, Brink JS, Codron J, Ward D, Clauss M (2011). Influence of competition on niche dynamics of syntopic grazing ungulates: contrasting the predictions of habitat selection models using stable isotope analysis. Evol Ecol Res. 13:217-235
  • Codron D, Codron J, Sponheimer M, Bernasconi SM, Clauss M (2011) When animals are not quite what they eat: Diet digestibility influences 13C-incorporation rates and apparent discrimination in a mixed-feeding herbivore. Can J Zool. 89:453-465
  • Codron D, Clauss M (2010) Rumen physiology constrains diet niche: linking digestive physiology and food selection across wild ruminant species. Can J Zool. 88:1129-1138
  • Codron D, Brink JS, Rossouw L, Clauss M, Codron J, Lee-Thorp JA, Sponheimer M (2008) Functional differentiation of African grazing ruminants: an example of specialized adaptations to very small changes in diet. Biol J Linn Soc. 94:755-764
  • Codron D, Brink JS, Rossouw L, Clauss M (2008) The evolution of ecological specialization in southern African ungulates: competition- or physical environmental turnover? Oikos. 117:344-353
  • Codron D, Lee-Thorp JA, Sponheimer M, Codron J, de Ruiter D, Brink JS (2007) Significance of diet type and diet quality for ecological diversity of African ungulates. J Anim Ecol. 76:526-537