Dr Ian Boomer

Dr Ian Boomer

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Senior Research Fellow

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Ian is a micropalaeontologist who studies calcareous benthic microfossils, particularly ostracods (microscopic Crustacea), but also foraminifera, to reconstruct past environments. His work spans much of the last 200 million years of earth history, with projects as diverse as the late-glacial history of lakes in Scotland and the vast inland seas of the Ponto-Caspian region, to sea-level change studies in the salt-marshes of the UK. 

Much of his work has focussed on the history of the early Jurassic seas of NW Europe, but his work has also led him to investigate the deep ocean sediment cores from the Indo Pacific. The same skills are also put to good use helping unravel the environments associated with geoarchaeological projects in the UK, Qatar and Kenya.

He is the Course Director for the MSc in Applied & Petroleum Micropalaeontology and manager of the School's stable-isotope facility, SILLA.


  • 1989 - PhD in Early Jurassic ostracods form North-west Europe - University College London
  • 1985 - MSc in Micropalaeontology - University College London
  • 1984 - BSc - University of Leicester


I am currently the Module leader for ESC M213 Environmental and Evolutionary Palaeobiology . I also teach on the 3rd/4th year Micropalaeontology undergraduate module. I lead a second year field trip to the Wessex Basin (Dorset Coast) and co-teach sedimentary environments during the 3rd year fieldtrip to Spain.

I teach ESC M500 Ostracoda and co-ordinate ESC M507, the Micropalaeontology Project on the MSc in Applied & Petroleum Micropalaeontology and am administrative leader on a further 2 modules.

Postgraduate supervision

Much of Ian Boomer's research focuses on a group of calcareous microfossils, the Ostracoda (or ostracods). An ostracod can be thought of as a microscopic shrimp-like organism (usually less than 1mm long) living inside a bi-valved carbonate shell or carapace. These little bugs have been around for the last 500 million years and live today in just about every aquatic environment. Their fossils can be used to date rocks, record major changes in the world’s oceans, trace climatic changes such as sea-level rise amongst other uses and even track pollution. Dr Boomer has a particular interest in the geological record of ostracods around the period of the latest Triassic and Early Jurassic. Further research focuses on using these fascinating bugs to find out more about the rapid, global climatic changes that occurred between about 15,000 and 10,000 years ago.

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

Doctoral research

PhD title
My PhD was entitled "The temporal and spatial distribution of Early Jurassic Ostracoda from North West Europe"


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

Lomax, DR, Larkin, NR, Boomer, I, Dey, S & Copestake, P 2019, 'The first known neonate Ichthyosaurus communis skeleton: a rediscovered specimen from the Lower Jurassic, UK', Historical Biology A Journal of Paleobiology, vol. 31, no. 5, pp. 600-609. https://doi.org/10.1080/08912963.2017.1382488

Spadi, M, Gliozzi, E, Boomer, I, Stoica, M & Athersuch, J 2019, 'Taxonomic harmonization of Neogene and Quaternary candonid genera (Crustacea, Ostracoda) of the Paratethys', Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, vol. 17, no. 19, pp. 1665–1698. https://doi.org/10.1080/14772019.2018.1545708

Asrat, A, Baker, A, Leng, M, Hellstrom, J, Mariethoz, G, Boomer, I, Yu, D, Jex, CN & Gunn, J 2018, 'Paleoclimate change in Ethiopia around the last interglacial derived from annually-resolved stalagmite evidence', Quaternary Science Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2018.06.016

Fairchild, IJ, Spencer, AM, Ali, DO, Anderson, RP, Anderton, R, Boomer, I, Dove, D, Evans, JD, Hambrey, MJ, Howe, J, Sawaki, Y, Shields, GA, Skelton, A, Tucker, ME, Wang, Z & Zhou, Y 2018, 'Tonian-Cryogenian boundary sections of Argyll, Scotland', Precambrian Research. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.precamres.2017.09.020

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

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

Boomer, I, Frenzel, P & Feike, M 2017, 'Salinity-driven size variability in Cyprideis torosa (Ostracoda, Crustacea)', Journal of Micropalaeontology, vol. 36, pp. 63-69. https://doi.org/10.1144/jmpaleo2015-043

Fairchild, I, Fleming, E, Huiming, B, Benn, DI, Boomer, I, Dublyansky, Y, Halverson, G, Hambrey, MJ, Hendy, C, McMillan, E, Spotl, C, Stevenson, C & Wynn, P 2015, 'Continental carbonate facies of a Neoproterozoic panglaciation, north-east Svalbard', Sedimentology. https://doi.org/10.1111/sed.12252

Kakroodi, AA, Leroy, SAG, Kroonenberg, SB, Lahijani, HAK, Alimohammadian, H, Boomer, I & Goorabi, A 2015, 'Late Pleistocene and Holocene sea-level change and coastal paleoenvironment evolution along the Iranian Caspian shore', Marine Geology, vol. 361, pp. 111-125. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.margeo.2014.12.007

Williams, M, Wilkinson, I, Taylor, J, Whitbread, I, Stamp, R, Boomer, I, Yates, E & Stocker, C 2015, 'Microfossil-determined provenance of clay building materials at Burrough Hill Iron Age hill fort, Leicestershire, England', Journal of Archaeological Science, vol. 54, pp. 329-339. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2014.03.028

Muller, CL, Baker, A, Fairchild, IJ, Kidd, C & Boomer, I 2015, 'Intra-event trends in stable isotopes: Exploring midlatitude precipitation using a vertically pointing micro rain radar', Journal of Hydrometeorology, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 194-213. https://doi.org/10.1175/JHM-D-14-0038.1

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Williams, M, Hill, T, Boomer, I & Wilkinson, I 2017, Microfossils and their utility for archaeological and forensic studies. in The Archaeological and Forensic Applications of Microfossils: A Deeper Understanding of Human History. Browns Books for Students.

Gearey, B, Hopla, E, Griffiths, S, Boomer, I, Smith, D, Marshall, P, fitch, S & Tappin, D 2017, Integrating multi-proxy palaeoecological and archaeological approaches to submerged landscapes: a case study from the southern North Sea. in M Williams, T Hill, I Boomer & I Wilkinson (eds), The Archaeological and Forensic Applications of Microfossils: A Deeper Understanding of Human History. Geological Society Special Publication, The Geological Society.

Wilkinson, I, Williams, M, Stocker, C, Whitbread, I, Boomer, I, Farman, T & Taylor, J 2017, Microfossils in iron age and romano-british ceramics from eastern England. in M Williams, T Hill, I Boomer & I Wilkinson (eds), The Archaeological and Forensic Applications of Microfossils: : A Deeper Understanding of Human History. The Geological Society.

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