My PhD research (Erlangen University, 2015) addressed how the physical structure of the geological record affects diversity patterns reconstructed from it. For this question, I focussed on the diversity and distribution of conodonts, microscopic remains of extinct vertebrates. They remain my favorite group for testing how spatial and temporal ecological patterns are preserved in rocks, but my new projects focus increasingly on their functional morphology and ultrastructural adaptations. To do all these things, I am a student of a broad range of tools, from ecological modelling to material science, whenever I can apply them to unravel the functioning of fossil ecosystems. I am reasonably versed in sequence stratigraphy, carbonate sedimentology, population ecology, and conodont taxonomy. I also coordinate the International Master Programme in Palaeobiology (www.paleobiology.de).