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About the Society Awards Past Award Winners 2019 Awardees 2019 (Romer Prize) Serjoscha Evers

I grew up in Hannover, Northern Germany. My fascination with the natural world started early and was triggered by many outdoors trips with my grandparents and parents. Close to my home-town, the Dino-Park M√ľnchehagen with its Early Cretaceous dinosaur tracksites was my go-to place, alongside the local Natural History Museum. My interest in palaeontology never ceased during high-school, and I remember vividly how I (successfully) argued with my English teacher during a London-trip that I should be allowed to explore the NHM instead of the art museum that was on the itinerary.

After graduating high-school and completing the German civilian service year, I enrolled to study Geosciences in Munich. My undergraduate degree (B.Sc.) in the joint-programme of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) and Technical University Munich (TUM) lasted from from 2009–2012. During this period, I spent half a year in 2011 at the University of Utah as a visiting student. I joined the UMNH team for fieldwork in the Cretaceous of Utah, learning from the late Mike Getty, and visited my first SVP conference in Las Vegas. From 2012–2014, I continued my education at the LMU and TUM by studying a consecutive Master's (M.Sc.) course of Geosciences with a specific focus on biology and palaeontology. For both my B.Sc. and M.Sc. thesis projects, I was supervised by Oliver Rauhut, and my work on Moroccan Cretaceous spinosaurs and the Late Jurassic Allosaurus from North America has subsequently and in part been published. During my pre-doctoral degrees, I was supported by a scholarship of the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes), which recognizes academic excellence and social engagement.

In 2014, I started my PhD studies at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, as part of the then new British Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs). I was supervised by Roger Benson in Oxford, and co-supervised by Paul Barrett at the NHM in London. My degree was financed by a studentship from the British National Environment Research Council (NERC) and an Oxford Radcliffe Graduate Studentship from University College Oxford. I finished my degree in 2018 and formally graduated with a D.Phil in July 2019. For one of my published PhD chapters, I received the 2019 Best Paper Award of the Palaeontological Association.

My PhD research was primarily focussed on investigating secondary transitions to marine lifestyles in turtles, which happened independently a few times across turtle phylogeny. Ecological transitions like these are impressive documentations of evolutionary processes, and by investigating the patterns of morphological evolution of turtles during that time I hope to gain understanding of the underlying evolutionary processes more widely. For my research I extensively use CT scanning and derivative digital 3D anatomy and shape data for addressing phylogenetic questions, form-function relationships of palaeoneurological features, and the patterns and pace of morphological change during turtle evolution. Besides my own research, I enjoy fieldwork and have joined campaigns in the US, South Africa, China, New Zealand, Argentina, and Germany.

As of February 2019, I am a Postdoctoral Researcher in the group of Walter Joyce at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, working on an SNSF funded project on turtle evolution.

It is a great honour to have been awarded the Alfred Sherwood Romer Prize of SVP in 2019. Although it feels incredible to be named among the list of past recipients, many of which were deeply influential in my perception of what important palaeontological research is, I am particularly impressed by the list of people who have contented for the award during the last nearly ten years that I have attended SVP meetings. This award is only special because of the the quality of research presented by the community as a whole. Thus, I particularly want to thank all early career scientists who have competed with me in a spectacular symposium. Additionally, I would like to thank my parents and family, past supervisors, my colleagues past and present, and my partner for supporting my career, as well as all the museums and staff who continue to facilitate specimen-based research. Oliver Rauhut and Roger Benson deserve my special thanks, as both had tremendous influence on my academic, and personal, development.