Jurassica Museum

PD Dr Davit Vasilyan

PD Dr Davit Vasilyan

Senior researcher

Route de Fontenais 21
2900 Porrentruy
Tel. +41 32 420 9221


Department of Geosciences
University of Fribourg
Chemin du musée 6
1700 Fribourg

Research thematics

  • Neogene ectothermic vertebrates from the Paratethys area

The main objective of my studies will be amphibian and reptile (mainly) Neogene faunas from Western Eurasia (Paratethys region), with emphasis on the Swiss Molasse Basin record. The new data on freshwater fishes, amphibians and reptiles will be used for reconstruction of the faunal assemblages, palaeobiogeographic analysis of different amphibian and reptile groups with higher regional resolution. Using the method of bioclimatic analysis of the herpetofauna, the palaeoprecitation values for the localities can be estimates, the temporal and spatial trends of the Neogene humidity evolution in Western Eurasia can be reconstructed.

  • Cenozoic tailed amphibians

Although the salamanders are common in the Cenozoic of Europe and Asia, they are still poorly studied. This group of amphibians have diverse lifecycles, it is strongly connected to the aquatic environments and shows adaptations to the different ecological niches. The studies of enigmatic groups, e.g. giant salamanders (Cryptobranchidae), batrachosauroids (Batrachosauroidae), asian salamanders (Hynobiidae), which are considered as basal linages within Urodela, are of special importance. Morphologic and phylogenetic studies on these salamander groups (Cryptobranchidae, Hynobiidae, Batrachosauroidae etc.) will uncover new insights on the phylogeny of the modern amphibians (Lissamphibia), biogeographic affinities of North American and Eurasian representatives of these groups, as well as their relationships with the Mesozoic tetrapods.


Teleosts, Amphibians, Reptiles, Phylogeny, Paleobiogeography, Paleoclimate, Neogene, Paleogene, Paratethys



Current position

Since 2015 Senior Lecturer, JURASSICA Museum, Porrentruy, Switzerland

Employment history

Collection manager, Department of Geosciences, University Tübingen, Germany
Senior researcher and lecturer, Department of Geosciences, University Tübingen, Germany
2009 Researcher, Institute of Zoology, National Academy of Sciences of Republic of Armenia, Yerevan, Armenia
2007–2008 Visiting reseacher, Section alaeontology, Faculty for Geosciences, Ludwig Maximilians Universität Munich, Munich, Germany
2007 Lecturer, Lecturer at the Yerevan State Humanitarian College, Yerevan, Armenia

Academic background

2020 Privatdozent in Geology and Palaeontology, Université de Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland 
2014 PhD in Geosciences, Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
2007–2009 PhD in Zoology, Institute of zoology, National Academy of Sciences of Republic of Armenia, Yerevan, Armenia
2001–2006 Diploma in Biology and Chimistry, Faculty of biology and chemistry, Armenian State Pedagogical University, Yerevan, Armenia


2020 SNF project Late Miocene climate and diversity dynamics of Eastern Paratethys
2018 Seed funding Grant for CIS Region
2018 SNF - Scientific Exchange Swiss-Chinese Project
2015 Synthesys (AT-TAF-6010)
2013 Synthesys (ES-TAF-2516)
2007 Exchange grant for doctoral students, DAAD scholarship, Ludwig Maximilians Universität Munich, Munich, Germany
2006 PhD Scholarship, Institute of Zoology, National Academy of Sciences, Yerevan, Armenia
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