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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Department of Paleobiology

  • Gene Hunt
  • Curator of Ostracoda
  • Phone:   202-633-1331
  • Fax:   202-786-2832
  • E-mail Address:   hunteat SI dot edu
  • Mailing Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    PO Box 37012, MRC 121
    Washington, DC 20013-7012
  • Shipping Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    National Museum of Natural History
    10th & Constitution NW
    Washington, DC 20560-0121


Ph.D. University of Chicago, 2003
B.S. Duke University, 1995

Research Interests

The main focus of my research is to understand evolutionary patterns as expressed in the fossil record. I use a range of analytical tools, including simulation, mathematical modeling and statistical analysis. Empirically, I most often work with ostracodes – small, bivalved crustaceans – with much of this work to date on deep-sea forms.

I am involved in a number of collaborative projects including studies of taxonomy, ecology and evolution of deep-sea ostracodes with Moriaki Yasuhara, and studies of the evolutionary history of bivalves with David Jablonski and Kaustuv Roy.

See also my Google Scholar page.


I have written a package for the R statistical software environment ( that performs the analyses described in my 2006 Paleobiology paper. This package is called paleoTS, and like all R packages, it is best downloaded from within R using the "Package Installer" or equivalent pull-down menu.

Below are some handouts I did for a 5-session course introducing users to R for paleontological analysis. Some of these cover how to use R in general, and some discusses specifically paleontological analyses that can be done with R. Each session includes practice exercises, with answers at the end. (Sessions are in Adobe Acrobat format, click on the link to read or download.)

  • Session 1  R basics, introduction to statistics and plotting
  • Session 2  Importing data, statistical models in R, biodiversity analyses
  • Session 3  Data manipulation, multivariate analysis
  • Session 4  Programming: loops, functions, etc.
  • Session 5  Phylogenetic comparative methods, re-sampling procedures


Sibert, Elizabeth, Friedman, Matt, Hull, Pincelli, Hunt, Gene and Norris, Richard. 2018. Two pulses of morphological diversification in Pacific pelagic fishes following the Cretaceous - Palaeogene mass extinction, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 285(1888):20181194-20181194

Benson, Roger B. J., Hunt, Gene, Carrano, Matthew T. and Campione, Nicolas. 2018. Cope's rule and the adaptive landscape of dinosaur body size evolution, Palaeontology, 61(1):13-48

Martins, Maria Joao Fernandes, Puckett, T. Markham, Lockwood, Rowan, Swaddle, John P. and Hunt, Gene. 2018. High male sexual investment as a driver of extinction in fossil ostracods, Nature, 556(7701):366-+

Yasuhara, Moriaki, Iwatani, Hokuto, Hunt, Gene, Okahashi, Hisayo, Kase, Tomoki, Hayashi, Hiroki, Irizuki, Toshiaki, Aguilar, Yolanda M., Fernando, Allan Gil S. and Renema, Willem. 2017. Cenozoic dynamics of shallow-marine biodiversity in the Western Pacific, Journal of Biogeography, 44(3):567-578

Hunt, Gene. 2017. Species Concepts in the Rocks, Journal of Mammalian Evolution, ():1-2

Fernandes Martins, Maria João, Hunt, Gene, Lockwood, Rowan, Swaddle, John P. and Horne, David J. 2017. Correlation between investment in sexual traits and valve sexual dimorphism in Cyprideis species (Ostracoda), PloS One, 12(7):1-19

Hunt, Gene, Martins, M. Joao Fernandes, Puckett, T. Markham, Lockwood, Rowan, Swaddle, John P., Hall, Christine M. S. and Stedman, James. 2017. Sexual dimorphism and sexual selection in cytheroidean ostracodes from the Late Cretaceous of the US Coastal Plain, Paleobiology, 43(4):620-641

Hunt, Gene and Slater, Graham J. 2016. Integrating Paleontological and Phylogenetic Approaches to Macroevolution, Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, 47(1):189-213

Bush, Andrew M., Hunt, Gene and Bambach, Richard K. 2016. Sex and the shifting biodiversity dynamics of marine animals in deep time, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(49):14073-14078

Yasuhara, Moriaki, Hunt, Gene, Okahashi, Hisayo and Brandao, Simone N. 2015. Taxonomy of Deep-sea Trachyleberidid, Thaerocytherid, and Hemicytherid Genera (Ostracoda), Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology, (96):1-216

Hunt, Gene, Hopkins, Melanie J. and Lidgard, Scott. 2015. Simple versus complex models of trait evolution and stasis as a response to environmental change, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(16):4885-4890

Rivadeneira, Marcelo M., Hunt, Gene and Roy, Kaustuv. 2014. The use of sighting records to infer species extinctions: Reply, Ecology, 95(1):238-239

Yasuhara, Moriaki, Okahashi, Hisayo, Cronin, Thomas M., Rasmussen, Tine L. and Hunt, Gene. 2014. Response of deep-sea biodiversity to abrupt deglacial and Holocene climate changes in the North Atlantic Ocean, Global Ecology and Biogeography, 23(9):957-967

Hunt, Gene. 2014. "Macroevolutionary trends". Pp. 573-578 in The Princeton Guide to Evolution (Losos, Jonathan). Princeton University Press

Hunt, Gene and Rabosky, Daniel L. 2014. Phenotypic Evolution in Fossil Species: Pattern and Process, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 42(1):421-441

Hunt, Gene. 2013. Presentation of the 2012 Charles Schuchert Award of the Paleontological Society to Gene Hunt Response, Journal of Paleontology, 87(3):532-533

Yasuhara, Moriaki, Hunt, Gene, Okahashi, Hisayo and Brandão, Simone N. 2013. The 'Oxycythereis' problem: taxonomy and palaeobiogeography of deep-sea ostracod genera Pennyella and Rugocythereis, Palaeontology, 56(5):1045-1080

Hunt, Gene. 2013. Testing the link between phenotypic evolution and speciation: an integrated palaeontological and phylogenetic analysis, Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 4(8):714-723

Van Bocxlaer, Bert and Hunt, Gene. 2013. Morphological stasis in an ongoing gastropod radiation from Lake Malawi, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(34):13892-13897

Yasuhara, Moriaki, Hunt, Gene, Cronin, T. M., Hokanishi, N., Kawahata, H., Tsujimoto, A. and Ishitake, M. 2012. Climatic forcing of Quaternary deep-sea benthic communities in the North Pacific Ocean, Paleobiology, 38(1):162-179

Yasuhara, Moriaki, Hunt, Gene, van Dijken, Gert, Arrigo, Kevin R., Cronin, Thomas M. and Wollenburg, Jutta E. 2012. Patterns and controlling factors of species diversity in the Arctic Ocean, Journal of Biogeography, 39(11):2081-2088

Hunt, Gene. 2012. Measuring rates of phenotypic evolution and the inseparability of tempo and mode, Paleobiology, 38(3):351-373

Yasuhara, Moriaki, Hunt, Gene, Dowsett, Harry J., Robinson, Marci M. and Stoll, Danielle K. 2012. Latitudinal species diversity gradient of marine zooplankton for the last three million years, Ecology Letters, 15(10):1174-1179

Yasuhara, Moriaki, Hunt, Gene, Breitburg, Denise L., Tsujimoto, Akira and Katsuki, Kota. 2012. Human-induced marine ecological degradation: micropaleontological perspectives, Ecology and Evolution, 2(12):3242-3268

Fusco, Giuseppe, Garland, Theodore, Jr., Hunt, Gene and Hughes, Nigel C. 2012. Developmental trait evolution in trilobites, Evolution, 66(2):314-329

Kolbe, Sarah E., Lockwood, Rowan and Hunt, Gene. 2011. Does morphological variation buffer against extinction? A test using veneroid bivalves from the Plio-Pleistocene of Florida, Paleobiology, 37(3):355-368

Green, Walton A., Hunt, Gene, Wing, Scott L. and DiMichele, William A. 2011. Does extinction wield an axe or pruning shears? How interactions between phylogeny and ecology affect patterns of extinction, Paleobiology, 37(1):72-91

Liow, Lee Hsiang, Simpson, Carl, Bouchard, Frédéric, Damuth, John, Hallgrimsson, Benedikt, Hunt, Gene, McShea, Dan,W., Powell, Jeffrey,R., Stenseth, Nils,C., Stoller, Melissa,K. and Wagner, Gunter. 2011. Pioneering paradigms and magnificent manifestos—Leigh Van Valen's priceless contributions to evolutionary biology, Evolution, 65(4):917-922

Hunt, Gene and Yasuhara, Moriaki. 2010. A fossil record of developmental events: variation and evolution in epidermal cell divisions in ostracodes, Evolution & Development, 12(6):635-646

Hunt, Gene. 2010. Evolution in Fossil Lineages: Paleontology and The Origin of Species, American Naturalist, 176(Suppl 1):S61-S76

Hunt, Gene and Carrano, Matthew T. 2010. "Models and methods for analyzing phenotypic evolution in lineages and clades". Pp. 245-269 in Quantitative Methods in Paleobiology (Alroy, John and Hunt, Gene). The Paleontological Society

Hunt, Gene, Wicaksono, Satrio A., Brown, Julia E. and MacLeod, Kenneth G. 2010. Climate-driven body-size trends in the ostracod fauna of the deep Indian Ocean, Palaeontology, 53(6):1255-1268

Geary, Dana H., Hunt, Gene, Magyar, Imre and Schreiber, Holly. 2010. The paradox of gradualism: phyletic evolution in two lineages of lymnocardiid bivalves (Lake Pannon, central Europe), Paleobiology, 36(4):592-614

Bennington, J. Bret, DiMichele, William A., Badgley, Catherine, Bambach, Richard K., Barrett, Paul M., Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Bobe, Rene, Burnham, Robyn J., Daeschler, Edward B., Van Dam, Jan, Eronen, Jussi T., Erwin, Douglas H., Finnegan, Seth, Holland, Steven M., Hunt, Gene, Jablonski, David, Jackson, Stephen T., Jacobs, Bonnie E., Kidwell, Susan M., Koch, Paul L., Kowalewski, Michal J., Labandeira, Conrad C., Looy, Cindy V., Lyons, Sara K., Novack-Gottshall, Philip M., et al. 2009. Critical Issues of Scale in Paleoecology, Palaios, 24(1-2):1-4

Rivadeneira, Marcelo M., Hunt, Gene and Roy, K. 2009. The use of sighting records to infer species extinctions: an evaluation of different methods, Ecology, 90(5):1291-1300

Yasuhara, Moriaki, Cronin, Thomas M., Hunt, Gene and Hodell, David A. 2009. Deep-Sea Ostracods from the South Atlantic Sector of the Southern Ocean during the Last 370,000 Years, Journal of Paleontology, 83(6):914-930

Yasuhara, Moriaki, Hunt, Gene, Cronin, Thomas M. and Okahashi, H. 2009. Temporal latitudinal-gradient dynamics and tropical instability of deep-sea species diversity, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(51):21717-21720

Roy, Kaustuv, Hunt, Gene and Jablonski, David. 2009. Phylogenetic Conservatism of Extinctions in Marine Bivalves, Science, 325(5941):733-737

Roy, Kaustuv, Hunt, Gene, Jablonski, David, Krug, Andrew Z. and Valentine, James W. 2009. A macroevolutionary perspective on species range limits, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 276(1661):1485-1493

Hunt, Gene. 2008. "Evolutionary patterns within fossil lineages: model-based assessment of modes, rates, punctuations and process". Pp. 117-131 in From Evolution to Geobiology: Research Questions Driving Paleontology at the Start of a New Century (Bambach, Richard K. and Kelley, P. H.). The Paleontological Society

Hunt, Gene, Bell, M. A. and Travis, M. P. 2008. Evolution toward a new adaptive optimum: Phenotypic evolution in a fossil stickleback lineage, Evolution, 62(3):700-710

Hunt, Gene. 2008. Gradual or pulsed evolution: when should punctuational explanations be preferred?, Paleobiology, 34(3):360-377

Frame, Kristin, Hunt, Gene and Roy, Kaustuv. 2007. Intertidal meiofaunal biodiversity with respect to different algal habitats: a test using phytal ostracodes from Southern California, Hydrobiologia, 586:331-342

Hunt, Gene. 2007. The relative importance of directional change, random walks, and stasis in the evolution of fossil lineages, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(47):18404-18408

Hunt, Gene, Park, L. E. and Labarbera, M. 2007. A Novel Crustacean Swimming Stroke: Coordinated Four-Paddled Locomotion in the Cypridoidean Ostracode Cypridopsis vidua (Muller), Biological Bulletin, 212:67-73

Hunt, Gene. 2007. Evolutionary divergence in directions of high phenotypic variance in the ostracode genus Poseidonamicus, Evolution, 61:1560-1576

Hunt, Gene. 2007. Morphology, ontogeny, and phylogenetics of the genus Poseidonamicus (Ostracoda: Thaerocytherinae), Journal of Paleontology, 81:607-631

Hunt, Gene. 2007. Perspective: Variation and Early Evolution, Science, 317():459-460

Hunt, Gene and Roy, K. 2006. Climate change, body size evolution, and Cope's Rule in deep-sea ostracodes, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 103(5):1347-1352

Jablonski, David and Hunt, Gene. 2006. Larval Ecology, Geographic Range, and Species Survivorship in Cretaceous Mollusks: Organismic versus Species-Level Explanations, American Naturalist, 168(4):556-564

Hunt, Gene. 2006. Fitting and comparing models of phyletic evolution:random walks and beyond, Paleobiology, 32(4):578-601

Hunt, Gene, Roy, K. and Jablonski, David. 2005. Species-level heritability reaffirmed: a comment on "On the heritability of geographic range sizes", American Naturalist, 166():129-135

Hunt, Gene, Cronin, Thomas M. and Roy, K. 2005. Species-energy relationship in the deep sea: a test using the Quaternary fossil record, Ecology Letters, 8:739-747

Hunt, Gene. 2004. Phenotypic variation in fossil samples: modeling the consequences of time-averaging, Paleobiology, 30(3):426-443

Hunt, Gene. 2004. Phenotypic variance inflation in fossil samples: an empirical assessment, Paleobiology, 30(4):487-506

Hunt, Gene and Chapman, R. E. 2001. Evaluating hypotheses of instar-grouping in arthropods: a maximum likelihood approach, Paleobiology, 27(3):466-484