Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Davey Wright

Associate Research Paleobiologist of Fossil Echinodermata

Davey is an Associate Research Paleobiologist of Fossil Echinodermata at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). After completing his PhD at The Ohio State University, Davey was a Peter Buck Fellow in the Department of Paleobiology at the NMNH, and subsequently moved to the American Museum of Natural History in New York as a Gerstner Scholar and Lerner Gray Fellow in Systematic Biology and Marine Science. As an invertebrate paleontologist and evolutionary biologist, his research integrates specimen-based fossil data with phylogenetic and statistical methods to better understand patterns of biodiversity change throughout Earth history. He is particularly interested in the influence of geological processes on major features of biological evolution, including the origin of higher taxonomic lineages, their adaptations, and the interplay between ecology and environmental change during major evolutionary radiations and mass extinctions throughout the history of life. Davey has wide-ranging expertise in systematics of fossil invertebrates, but most of his work focuses on the exclusively marine Phylum Echinodermata (starfish, sea urchins, and kin), especially the Class Crinoidea (sea lilies and feather stars), and has published extensively on aspects of echinoderm systematics, taxonomy, and evolution.

Department / Division
  • Ph.D., Geological Sciences, The Ohio State University, 2016 
  • M.S. Geological Sciences, Ohio University, 2012
  • B.S., Geology (with minor from Physics & Astronomy), The University of Kansas, 2010
Additional Resources
Collections Areas

Fossil Echinodermata; Paleozoic Brachiopoda


Research Associate at the American Museum of Natural History

Research Interests

Macroevolution; paleobiology; paleontological approaches to phylogenetics and comparative methods; evolution and systematics of echinoderms, especially the Crinoidea (sea lilies & feather stars).