Dr Jason Hilton PhD

Dr Jason Hilton

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Reader in Palaeobiology
School Student Engagement Coordinator

Contact details

Address
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

Dr Hilton is a research focused palaeobotanist and evolutionary plant biologist with interests in 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.  He has a broad background in Geobiology and Earth Systems Science, and is an active researcher across a number of fields closely allied to his specialisation.  Jason is an Associate Editor for Palaeontologica Electronica, member of the Editorial Advisory Committee for Acta Palaeobotanica, an Editorial Advisor for the Journal of Palaeogeography, and a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London. In 2000 he received the President’s Award from the Geological Society of London for achievements in Geosciences.  Jason is currently Student Engagement Coordinator within the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences. 

Qualifications

  • BSc (University of Sheffield)
  • PhD (Cardiff University)

Biography

2003– Lecturer (2003‒8), Senior Lecturer (2008‒11), Reader (2011‒present). School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham.
2000–03. Curator of Palaeobotany, National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh; President’s Award, Geological Society of London (2000).
1998–2002. NERC Research Fellow, Cardiff University then National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh.
1997–98. Research Fellow (18 months), Botany Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing.
1997. Post‒Doctoral Research Assistant, Department of Geology, Cardiff University.
1996–97. Research Assistant & Assistant Curator. National Museum of Wales, Cardiff.

Teaching

Dr Hilton is one of the core members of the Earth Sciences (Geology) teaching team.  He is module leader for the following modules:

  • Year 1 Field Skills (20 credits, 14 days fieldwork)
  • Year 2 Evolutionary and Environmental Palaeobiology (10 credits, lectures and practical classes)
  • Year 2 Resources of the Earth (10 and 20 credit variants, lectures and practical classes)
  • Year 2 Research Project Planning for Joint Honours (10 credits, lectures and small group tutorials)
  • Year 3 Geology and Archaeology Research Projects (40 credits, research projects)

In addition he contributes to the following modules:

  • Year 1 Topics in Geology (10 credit, essay instruction supervision, small group tutorials)
  • Year 2 Geological mapping training and fieldwork (20 credits, fieldwork supervision)
  • Year 3 Independent Research Projects (30 credits project supervision)
  • Year 4 Advances in Geology (10 credits, research essay supervision)
  • Year 3 and 4 Micropalaeontology (10 credits, lectures on pollen/spores)
  • Year 1 Earth History (10 credits, lectures on Palaeozoic stratigraphy and events)
  • Year 4 Advances in Geology (10 credits, research essay module)
  • Year 4 Advanced Projects (60 credits, project supervision)

Jason uses a range of methods within his teaching including traditinal lectures, specimen based practical classes, field geology, small group tutorials, seminars and interactive computer classes. 

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Hilton welcomes enquiries from prospective Doctoral Researchers and Research Fellows in his areas of interest, especially:

(1) Morphological and anatomical investigations of exceptionally well-preserved fossil plants.
(2) Physical characterisation of sedimentary depositional environments to understand environmental and climate change in deep time.
(3) Evolutionary analysis of plant groups.
(4) Fossil floras from China.

Research

Jason Hilton is research focussed palaeobotanist and evolutionary plant biologist. His primary research foci are:

Seed plant evolution and phylogeny: The origin, early evolution, systematics, evolution and phylogeny of seed plants, and includes information from both living and extinct species.

Fossil plants and the environment: Fossil plants as indicators of past environmental and climate conditions, evaluating in deep time how plants changed the environments and climates in which they lived, assessing floral responses to periods of profound environmental and climatic change including mass extinctions.  

Fossil plants from China: Investigating plant evolution and community change from the fossil floras of China

In addition, Jason' secondary research actively researches a range of related topics including (i) sedimentary depositional systems to evaluate the formation, distributon and quality of natural resources, (ii) palaeoenvironmental change, (iii) palaeobiology, and (iv) taphonomy.

Other activities

Dr Hilton is an avid fossil collector and enjoys spending time in the field and reading, and avoiding tasks including cleaning cars and gardening.

Publications

Recent publications

Article

Wignall, P, Chu, D, Hilton, J, Dal Corso, J, Wu, Y, Wang, Y, Atkinson, J & Tong, J 2020, 'Death in the shallows: the record of Permo-Triassic mass extinction in paralic settings, southwest China', Global and Planetary Change, vol. 189, 103176, pp. 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloplacha.2020.103176

Xu, X-T, Shao, L-Y, Lan, B, Wang, S, Hilton, J, Qin, J-Y, Hou, H-H & Zhao, J 2020, 'Continental chemical weathering during the Early Cretaceous Oceanic Anoxic Event (OAE1b): a case study from the Fuxin fluvio-lacustrine basin, Liaoning Province, NE China', Journal of Palaeogeography, (in Chinese with English abstract), vol. 9, 12, pp. 1-21. https://doi.org/10.1186/s42501-020-00056-y

Wang, Z, Tan, J, Boyle, R, Hilton, J, Ma, Z, Wang, W, Lyu, Q, Kang, X & Luo, W 2020, 'Evaluating episodic hydrothermal activity in South China during the early Cambrian: implications for biotic evolution', Marine and Petroleum Geology, vol. 117, 104355. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2020.104355

Guo, B, Eley, Y, Hilton, J, Zhou, M & Wang, Q 2020, 'Carbon-isotope, petrological and floral record in coals: implication for Bajocian (Middle Jurassic) climate change', International Journal of Coal Geology, vol. 220, 103417, pp. 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coal.2020.103417

He, X-Y, Wang, S-J, Hilton, J, Galtier, J & Jiang, H-G 2020, 'An anatomically advanced species of the fern Botryopteris Renault from the Permian of southwestern China', Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, vol. 273, 104136, pp. 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.revpalbo.2019.104136

Pšenička, J, Wang, J, Hilton, J, Zhou, W, Bek, J, Opluštil, S & Frojdová, J 2020, 'A small, heterophyllous vine climbing on Psaronius and Cordaites trees in the earliest Permian forests of North China', International Journal of Plant Sciences.

Tan, J, Wang, Z, Wang, W, Hilton, J, Guo, J & Wang, X 2019, 'Depositional environment and hydrothermal controls on organic matter enrichment in the Lower Cambrian Niutitang Shale reservoir, South China', AAPG Bulletin.

Scott, A, Hilton, J, Galtier, J & Stampanoni, M 2019, 'A charcoalified ovule adapted for wind dispersal and deterring herbivory from the late Visean (Carboniferous) of Scotland', International Journal of Plant Sciences, vol. 180, no. 9, pp. 1059-1074. https://doi.org/10.1086/705590

Wang, S, Shao, L, Wang, D, Hilton, J & Lu, J 2019, 'Controls on accumulation of anonymously thick coals: implications for sequence stratigraphic analysis', Sedimentology. https://doi.org/10.1111/sed.12670

Neregato, RODRIGO & Hilton, J 2019, 'Reinvestigation of the enigmatic carboniferous sphenophyte strobilus cheirostrobus scott and implications of in situ retusotriletes spores', International Journal of Plant Sciences, vol. 180, no. 8, pp. 811-833. https://doi.org/10.1086/704945

Xiao-Yuan, H, Wang, S-J, Wang, J & Hilton, J 2019, 'The anatomically preserved tripinnate frond rothwellopteris pecopteroides gen. Et sp. nov. from the latest permian of south China: timing the stem to crown group transition in Marattiales', International Journal of Plant Sciences, vol. 180, no. 8, pp. 869-881. https://doi.org/10.1086/704946

Yang, Y, Xiao-Yuan, H, Hilton, J, Zhou, F-G, Chen, X-S & Wang, S-J 2019, 'Xuanweioxylon damogouense sp. nov., a gymnosperm stem from the Lopingian (late Permian) of southwestern China and its systematic and paleoecological implications', Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, vol. 269, pp. 94-103. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.revpalbo.2019.06.012

Guo, B, Shao, L, Hilton, J, Wang, S & Zhang, L 2018, 'Sequence stratigraphic interpretation of peatland evolution in thick coal seams: Examples from Yimin Formation (Early Cretaceous), Hailaer Basin, China', International Journal of Coal Geology, vol. 196, pp. 211-231. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coal.2018.07.013

Zhao, Z, Tan, J, Ju, Y, Hilton, J, Yang, R, Zhou, P, Huang, Y, Ning, B & Liu, J 2018, 'Natural gas potential of Carboniferous and Permian transitional shales in central Hunan, South China', Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering, vol. 55, pp. 520-533. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jngse.2018.05.024

Review article

Coiro, M, Doyle, JA & Hilton, J 2019, 'How deep is the conflict between molecular and fossil evidence on the age of angiosperms?', New Phytologist, vol. 223, no. 1, pp. 83-99. https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.15708

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