Thomas Royle

Postdoctoral Fellow; Dr. Jonathan Driver

Areas of interest

Archaeology of the Pacific Northwest and Great Lakes; Archaeological Science, Ancient DNA, DNA Barcoding, Environmental Archaeology, Historical Ecology, Ichthyoarchaeology, Palaeoecology, Zooarchaeology.


  • Hon.B.Sc. (Trent University) 2012
  • MA (Simon Fraser University) 2014
  • PhD (Simon Fraser University) 2021


Through the aDNA analysis of faunal remains, my research program seeks to answer questions regarding past human-environments interactions. At present, my research focuses on applying aDNA analysis to fish remains in order to investigate Indigenous fishing and management strategies as well as human environmental impacts in northwestern and northeastern North America. While often focused on fish, my research frequently traverses taxonomic boundaries. I have previously conducted palaeogenetic research on various non-fish taxa, including beluga whales, Richardson’s ground squirrels, and passenger pigeons. Currently, I am part of a collaborative project that is investigating the paleoecology of northeastern British Columbia through the aDNA analysis of Late Pleistocene through Late Holocene faunal remains from Tse'K'wa (Charlie Lake Cave).


Guiry, Eric J., Margaretta James, Christina Cheung, and Thomas C.A. Royle. 2022. Four Millennia of Long-Term Individual Foraging Site Fidelity in a Highly Migratory Marine Predator. Communications Biology 5: 368.

Wang, Yongdi, Yang Sun, Thomas C.A. Royle, Xinyu Zhang, Zhuowei Tang, Lauren T. Clark, Xin Zhao, Dawei Cai, and Dongya Y. Yang. 2022. Ancient DNA Investigation of the Domestication History of Pigs in Northeast China. Journal of Archaeological Science 141: 105590.

Morin, Jesse, Thomas C.A. Royle, Hua Zhang, Camilla Speller, Miguel Alcaide, Ryan Morin, Morgan Ritchie, Aubrey Cannon, Michael George, Michelle George, and Dongya Y. Yang. 2021. Indigenous Sex-Selective Salmon Harvesting Demonstrates Pre-Contact Marine Resource Management in Burrard Inlet, British Columbia, Canada. Scientific Reports 11: 21160.

Royle, Thomas C.A. 2021. The Use and Cultural Importance of Suckers (Catostomidae Cope, 1871) among the Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America: An Ethnographic Overview. Journal of Northwest Anthropology 55(2):299–326.

Morin, Jesse, Hua Zhang, Thomas C.A. Royle, Camilla Speller, Miguel Alcaide, Ryan Morin, and Dongya Y. Yang. 2021. DNA-based Species Identification of Ancient Salmonid Remains Provides New Insight into Pre-Contact Coast Salish Salmon Fisheries in Burrard Inlet, British Columbia, Canada. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 37:102956.

Guiry, Eric J., Trevor J. Orchard, Thomas C.A. Royle, Christina Cheung, and Dongya Y. Yang. 2020. Dietary Plasticity and the Extinction of the Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius). Quaternary Science Reviews 233:106225.

Guiry, Eric J., Thomas C.A. Royle, R.G. Matson, Hillary Ward, Tyler Weir, Nicholas Waber, Thomas J. Brown, Brian Hunt, Michael H.H. Price, Bruce P. Finney, Masahide Kaeriyama, Yuxue Qin, Dongya Y. Yang, and Paul Szpak. 2020. Differentiating Salmonid Migratory Ecotypes through Stable Isotope Analysis of Collagen: Archaeological and Ecological Applications. PLoS ONE 15(4):e0232180.

Guiry, Eric J., Thomas C.A. Royle, Trevor J. Orchard, Suzanne Needs-Howarth, Dongya Y. Yang, and Paul Szpak. 2020. Evidence for Freshwater Residency among Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) Spawning in New York. 2020. Journal of Great Lakes Research 46(4):1036–1043.

Royle, Thomas C.A., Dongya Y. Yang, and Jonathan C. Diver. 2020. Ancient DNA Reveals Northwest Range Extension of Richardson’s Ground Squirrel (Urocitellus richardsonii) into Northeastern British Columbia, Canada, during the Late Pleistocene. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 57(7):855–866.

Royle, Thomas C.A., Hua Zhang, Eric J. Guiry, Trevor J. Orchard, Suzanne Needs-Howarth, and Dongya Y. Yang. 2020. Investigating the Sex-Selectivity of a Middle Ontario Iroquoian Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) and Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush) Fishery through Ancient DNA Analysis. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 31:102301.

Szpak, Paul, Marie-Hélène Julien, Thomas C.A. Royle, James M. Savelle, Dongya Y. Yang, and Michael P. Richards. 2020. Sexual Differences in the Foraging Ecology of 19th Century Beluga Whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from the Canadian High Arctic. Marine Mammal Science 36(2):451–471.

Cai, Dawei, Naifan Zhang, Siqi Zhu, Quanjia Chen, Lixin Wang, Xin Zhao, Xiaolin Ma, Thomas C.A. Royle, Hui Zhou, and Dongya Y. Yang. 2018. Ancient DNA Reveals Evidence of Abundant Aurochs (Bos primigenius) in Neolithic Northeast China. Journal of Archaeological Science 98:72–80.

Royle, Thomas C.A., Dionne Sakhrani, Camilla F. Speller, Virginia L. Butler, Robert H. Devlin, Aubrey Cannon, and Dongya Y. Yang. 2018. An Efficient and Reliable DNA-Based Sex Identification Method for Archaeological Pacific Salmonid (Oncorhynchus spp.) Remains. PLoS ONE 13(3):e0193212.