Palaeobotany

Fossil leaf clusters

Our research is focused on long-term plant evolution, terrestrial palaeoenvironments and palaeoecology. One of our fundamental goals is to increase the quantity of paleobotanical data included into evolutionary analyses and to provide a more detailed understanding of the past environments and climates in which fossil plants lived.

Highlights of our research include the evolution of seed plants and their phylogeny, community change in fossil floras, such as the Late Palaeozoic Cathaysian floras and gigantopterid plants, and the origin of modern conifer families. Current research focus includes lignophyte (seed plants and their evolutionary stem group) phylogeny and the Palaeozoic-Mesozoic floras of China, with a NERC-funded project on Ecosystem resilience and recovery from the Permo-Triassic crisis (EcoPT). 

Academic staff

Jason HiltonJason Hilton

Jason is an internationally recognized authority on palaeobotany and evolutionary plant biology. His interests focus on plant evolution in deep time, terrestrial palaeoenvironments and palaeoecology. His underlying goals are to increase the quantity of paleobotanical data included into evolutionary analyses and to provide a more detailed understanding of the past environments and climates in which fossil plants lived. His current research addresses the origin and phylogeny of major plant lineages and the causes of mass extinctions in the plant kingdom as well as patterns and processes related to their subsequent recovery. 

 

andrew-reesAndrew Rees

Andy is a palaeobotanist and technician with specific interests in the morphology, development and evolution of Paleozoic and Mesozoic cone and seed organs.  He Specialises in obtaining data through means of 3D reconstructions and developing methods of optimise this process. Aside from palaeobotany, Andy is also developing and implementing methods of imaging rock and fossil samples from the nano to macro scales. 

 

Guy HarringtonGuy Harrington

Guy is a palynologist with world-leading expertise in Cenozoic fossil pollen and spores. With extensive experience in both academic and industrial micropalaeontology, Guy has held positions at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC and, most recently as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham. He is currently a Senior Stratigrapher at Petrostrat, as well as an Associate Lecturer contributing to the MSc in Micropalaeontology.

Facilities 

The group has a suite of research-quality microscopes and imaging facilities including three transmitted light Zeiss AxioScopes, Zeiss and Leica steroscopes, as well as a Phenom ProX desktop SEM and Philips XL30, both with EDS capability.