D e p a r t m e n t   o f



Ms. Shamindri Tennakoon

Lecturer (Probationary)

B.Sc. (Perad.)

Academic Staff Home  

About Me

I am an invertebrate paleobiologist interested in the morphology and morphological deformations of fossil marine benthic invertebrates. I am a PhD candidate at the Department of Biology, and the Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida. My dissertation research focuses on morphological traits of marine invertebrates (specifically mollusks and echinoids) preserved in the fossil record and observed in recent specimens, which can be used to study underexplored biological processes through time. In addition to my research, I am interested in developing and conducting education and outreach activities in paleontology. I am interested in programs that are aimed towards elementary-high school students, and also interested in mentoring undergraduate students. I am passionate about contributing towards making paleontology and field-work-based sciences more accessible and equitable.

Positions Held

Teaching Assistant, Department of Biology, University of Florida, USA ; Invertebrate Biodiversity (ZOO4205C/ZOO6927); Spring 2017,2018, BSC 2010L Integrated Principles of Biology 1; Fall 2015-Spring 2016, BSC 2010 (online); Fall 2018, Fall 2021, BSC 2010L (online); Fall 2020, Spring 2021 - (August, 2015-present)

Research Assistant, Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka - (January 2015-June 2015)

Demonstrator, Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka - (2014)

Seminar support- Biology Graduate Student Association, UF - (Summer 2018-Spring 2019)

Student representative for Florida Museum University teaching committee - (Fall 2017-present)

View More ...

Member of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion committee; Paleontological Society - (January 2020-)

Research Assistant; Invertebrate Paleontology Division, Florida Museum - (2016-)

Vice president and Secretary; UF SACNAS chapter - (2019-)

Ongoing Research and Projects

Mollusks as a Proxy for Assessing Ecological Impacts of Artificial Reefs

A Comparison of Dead and Living Mollusk Assemblages in the Suwannee Regional Reef System, Florida

Historical Ecology of Seagrass Meadows

Assessing Multi-Centennial Dynamics of Threatened Biodiversity Hotspots

Echinoid Associated Traces (EAT) project; investigates evolutionary and ecological causes and consequences of predation on echinoids by focusing on the fossil record of drill holes on post-Paleozoic echinoids

Morphometric analysis of Cenozoic cassid snails (Mollusca: Gastropoda) to determine taxon/time specific trends in disparity and body size

Cassid snails (Mollusca: Gastropoda) from the upper Eocene of Florida

Non-lethal predation of sand dollars in the fossil record

Memberships & Awards


Lelia and William Brayfield Scholarship Award, South West Florida Fossil Society, 2018


Brian Riewald Memorial Fund Research Grant, Department of Biology, University of Florida, 2017


The Florida Paleontological Society's Gary S. Morgan Student Research Award, 2016


R. Jerry Britt, Jr. Paleobiology Scholarship, Florida Museum of Natural History, 2016


Astronaut Trail Shell Club Scholarship, 2016


University of Florida International Center; Certificate of Outstanding Academic Achievement, 2016


F.P. Amerasinghe Memorial Gold Medal for Zoology, 2014, University of Peradeniya


University Award for Academic Excellence 2014, University of Peradeniya


Association for Women Geoscientists


Paleontological Society


Paleontological Society Outreach and Education grant 2020