Thursday, 2 October 2014

Team TW:eed microfossil madness!

This August and September microfossil madness returned again! I have been working with six University of Leicester undergraduate volunteers on the micropalaeontology aspect of the project. It has been a busy six weeks with a lot accomplished!

Working with me on two-week placements each, the volunteers have been doing two main tasks: 1) splitting large sediment field samples along the bedding planes and examining these surfaces for fossils; 2) acid processing and sieving small sediment field samples, then picking through the material for microfossils and identifying what we found. 
Some of the vertebrate microfossils, photographed on the SEM

We have discovered some fantastic fossil specimens from different types of fish, plants, eurypterids, ostracods and more! The work placement was a chance for the volunteers to experience the day-to-day life of science research and contribute to the findings of this project. Together we examined a hundreds of samples and picked over three thousand microfossil specimens. The value of this group effort is that we can now get a fuller picture of what life in the Early Carboniferous was like in different ancient environments. I hope it has also given the students some additional experience to succeed in their future research careers in earth science.

Here are some photos of the volunteers in action:


Jenny and Rob Clack visited us for the afternoon in September, and enjoyed examining some of the fossil specimens, including an actinopterygian jaw with teeth. They have since been back in the field exploring some new sites, see the TW:eed Project Facebook Page for a report.

Until next time

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