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 Felix Pym

Felix Pym

PhD Student

 Laver Building 


Laver Building, University of Exeter, North Park Road, Exeter, EX4 4QE, UK


My research focuses on the timing and ecological consequences of the late Quaternary megafaunal extinctions in South and Central America. I use spores of coprophilous fungi (SCF), including Sporormiella-type, to reconstruct Late Pleistocene and Holocene megafaunal abundance. My previous work includes determining the timing of extinction within the high Andean forests of Colombia.

Megafauna are ecological keystone species, thus, I adopt multiproxy microfossil investigations using pollen, charcoal and micronutrients to understand the potential consequences of extinction in the ecosystems they inhabited. These integrated datasets can provide valuable information on the timing and ecological consequences of megafaunal extinctions in the underresearched biodiversity hotspots. 

Global environmental change is driving biodiversity loss and threatening contemporary fauna with extinction. This research is therefore crucial to estimate the potential repercussions of extinctions and inform management and conservation efforts.

Broad Research Specialisms

Palynology; Palaeoecology; Spores of coprophilous fungi (SCF); Megafaunal extinctions; Sporormiella; Microfossils.


University of Exeter, UK

2023 Master of Science by Research in Physical Geography  

2020 BSc Geography, First Class Honours


University of Exeter, UK

2022-2023 Laboratory technician in Physical Geography                

2021-2023 Palaeoecological Research Technician

2021-Present Postgraduate Teaching Assistant | 6 modules


Research group links

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Research interests

Using spores of coprophilous fungi (SCF), pollen and charcoal records to understand the timing and ecological consequences of megafaunal extinctions in South and Central America across the late Quaternary. 

  • Palynology: Spores of coprophilous fungi, pollen, charcoal
  • Megafauna and ecosystem functioning
  • Extinction events
  • Tropical palaeoecology
  • Fire activity
  • Anthropogenic impacts
  • Rewilding and resotration

Research projects

Using spores of coprophilous fungi (SCF) as reference material for megafauna, Paignton Zoo.

Research grants

  • 2022 NERC CDT
    NERC funded ECORISC Summer Scholarship Training Scheme.


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Journal articles

Pym F, Franco-Gaviria F, Garcia Espinoza I, Urrego D (2023). The timing and ecological consequences of Pleistocene megafaunal decline in the eastern Andes of Colombia. Quaternary Research, 1-17. Abstract.

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