Thursday, 19 November 2015

TW:eed Project presents - microfossils

This week I presented my work on micropalaeontology at the AGM of The Micropalaeontological Society, held in Liverpool. It was a lively meeting with around 100 participants from the UK and abroad.

I discussed how different sedimentary deposits of the Ballagan Formation contain a different microfossil assemblage. Of particular interest is the distribution of actinopterygian, rhizodont and chondrichthyan remains, which are fairly common as microfossil fragments (scales, bone pieces and teeth). Our new data is helping to piece together the types of environments in which these animals lived. This work will form the basis of an upcoming publication and has been the result of many years of study.
My presentation on microfossils from Romer’s Gap

During the talk I was pleased to acknowledge all the fantastic support I have received from other TW:eed Project staff and TW:eed Team volunteers over the years. To date the microfossil count is now over 9,000 specimens! Along with my own studies, it is very gratifying that the microfossil work is now being taken forward in new directions by University of Leicester Master’s students Levi Curry and Hattie Dulson who are each doing microfossil research projects.
SEM pictures of some typical microfossils, from left to right: an actinopterygian fish scale, a fragment of a rhizodont fish tooth and a megaspore from a Lycopsid-like tree.

It’s been a busy time for presentations. On Friday last week I presented our work in a research seminar at Newcastle University. The staff and students were fascinated to hear of all the rare tetrapod and fish fossils almost on their doorstep! And two weeks ago, Tim Kearsey from the project presented his work on palaeosols at the annual Geological Society of America meeting, in Baltimore, USA. Well done Tim and everyone involved, its great to be able to showcase the results of this fascinating project.

Until next time