Dr James Wheeley PhD

Dr James Wheeley

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Senior Lecturer in Sedimentary Geology
School Deputy Head of Education

Contact details

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

James Wheeley is a teaching-focused lecturer in sedimentary geology and sedimentary basin analysis. His research interests lie in carbonate sedimentology and applied micropalaeontology (especially conodont isotopes) which he is using to address deep time (Palaeozoic) palaeoclimatic and palaeoecological problems. 


  • PhD Carbonate Sedimentology (Cardiff University 2007)
  • MSc (with Commendation) Palaeobiology (University of Bristol 2002)
  • BSc (Hons) Geology (University of Durham 2000)


James completed his initial teacher training at the University of Gloucestershire in Geography (2006-2007). He completed his PhD on Ordovician limestones of Jämtland, Sweden, at Cardiff University in 2006 having previously studied for an MSc in Palaeobiology at the University of Bristol (2001-2002). His undergraduate degree is in Geology (University of Durham; 1997-2000). James joined the School as a Teaching Fellow in 2007 and in 2012 was appointed to a Lectureship in Sedimentary Geology. He was awarded his Senior Lectureship in 2016. James is a Fellow of The Higher Education Academy.


James Wheeley teaches sedimentary geology at undergraduate and postgraduate levels on all GEES Geology programmes. He advises Geology students on their mapping projects and each year he is a supervisor on a number of MSci projects in sedimentary geology. James contributes to the Geology fieldwork programme including trips to Scotland and SE Spain.

Postgraduate supervision

James Wheeley is a conodont micropalaeontologist and carbonate sedimentologist addressing deep time (Palaeozoic) palaeoclimatic and palaeoecological problems with stable and radiogenic isotopes.

Dr Wheeley welcomes enquiries from prospective doctoral researchers in his areas of interest.


Current research focuses on elucidating conodont oxygen isotopes for seawater palaeotemperature, palaeoclimate and palaeoecological reconstruction.

Other activities

Administrative Responsibilities in Earth Sciences

  • Deputy Head of Education

Panel Membership/Review work

  • Member of The Royal Society's Research Grants Scheme Physical Sciences Board (1 Jan 2013 - 31 December 2018)

Professional affiliations

  • The Geological Society of America
  • SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology
  • The Pander Society



Recent publications


Ray, D, Jarochowska, E, Röstel, P, Worton, G, Munnecke, A, Wheeley, J & Boomer, I 2019, 'High resolution correlation of the Homerian carbon isotope excursion (Silurian) across the interior of the Midland Platform (Avalonia), UK', Geological Magazine. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0016756819001146

Ray, D, Jarochowska, E, Hughes, HE & Wheeley, J 2019, 'Non-biostratigraphic correlation techniques and their role in stratigraphy: examples from the Wenlock Series (Silurian) of the Midland Platform, England', Proceedings of the OUGS, vol. 5, pp. 59-64.

Wheeley, J 2018, 'Abrupt global-ocean anoxia during the Late Ordovician–early Silurian detected using uranium isotopes of marine carbonates', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1802438115

Wheeley, J & Smith, MP 2018, 'Paleoecologic and palaeoceanographic interpretation of δ18O variability in Lower Ordovician conodont species: reply', Geology, vol. 46, no. 9, pp. e452-e452. https://doi.org/10.1130/G45433Y.1

Wheeley, J, Jardine, PE, Raine, RJ, Boomer, I & Smith, MP 2018, 'Paleoecologic and paleoceanographic interpretation of δ18O variability in Lower Ordovician conodont species', Geology, vol. 46, no. 5, pp. 467-470. https://doi.org/10.1130/G40145.1

Lu, J, Shao, L, Yang, M, Wheeley, J, Wang, H & Hilton, J 2017, 'Depositional model for peat swamp coal facies evolution using sedimentology, coal macerals, geochemistry and sequence stratigraphy', Journal of Earth Science, vol. 28, no. 6, pp. 1163-1177. <https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12583-016-0942-7>

Fry, C, Wheeley, J, Boomer, I & Ray, D 2017, 'The Homerian carbon isotope excursion (Silurian) within graptolitic successions on the Midland Platform (Avalonia), UK: implications for regional and global comparisons and correlations', GFF. https://doi.org/10.1080/11035897.2017.1388280

Blain, JA, Wheeley, J & Ray, D 2016, 'Carbon isotope (δ13Ccarb) and facies variability at the Wenlock-Ludlow boundary (Silurian) of the Midland Platform, UK', Canadian Journal of Earth Science. https://doi.org/10.1139/cjes-2015-0194

Wheeley, J, Smith, M & Boomer, I 2012, 'Oxygen isotope variability in conodonts: implications for reconstructing Palaeozoic palaeoceanography and palaeoclimate', Geological Society. Journal, vol. 169, no. 3, pp. 239-250. https://doi.org/10.1144/0016-76492011-048

Wang, H, Shao, L, Hao, LM, Zhang, PF, Glasspool, IJ, Wheeley, J, Wignall, PB, Yi, TS, Zhang, MQ & Hilton, J 2011, 'Sedimentology and sequence stratigraphy of the Lopingian (Late Permian) coal measures in southwestern China', International Journal of Coal Geology, vol. 85, pp. 168-183. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coal.2010.11.003

Wheeley, J, Cherns, L & Wright, VP 2008, 'Provenance of microcrystalline carbonate cement in limestone–marl alternations (LMA): aragonite mud or molluscs?', Geological Society. Journal, vol. 165, pp. 395-403. https://doi.org/10.1144/0016-76492006-160


Cherns, L, Wheeley, J, Wright, VP, Allison, PA & Bottjer, DJ 2011, Taphonomic bias in shelly faunas through time: Early aragonite dissolution and its implications for the fossil record. in Taphonomy, Second Edition: Process and Bias Through Time. Topics in Geobiology 32.

Cherns, L, Wheeley, J & Bassett, MG 2009, Early Palaeozoic cooling events: peri-Gondwana and beyond. in Early Palaeozoic Peri-Gondwanan Terranes: New Insights from Tectonics and Biogeography. vol. 325.


Cherns, L, Wheeley, J & Wright, VP 2008, 'Taphonomic windows and molluscan preservation', Paper presented at Symposium on Biotic-Sediment Interactions in honor of Roland Goldring, Jul 20-22, 2006. Reading, England, 1/12/08 pp. 220-229. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2008.07.012


Greene, S, Antell, G, Atterby, J, Bhatia, R, Dunne, E, Giles, S, Groh, S, Hanson, E, Hilton, J, Knight, H, Kraftl, P, Morgan, E, Rhodes, I, Rockey, F, Singh, S, Stevenson, C, Sun, S, Warren, B, Wheeley, J & Yamoah, K 2021 'Safety and belonging in the field: a checklist for educators' EarthArXiv. https://doi.org/10.31223/x53p6h

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