Professor Jason Hilton PhD

Professor Jason Hilton

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Professor of Palaeobotany and Palaeoenvironments
School Health and Safety Coordinator (fieldwork)

Contact details

Address
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

Professor 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 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 responsible for fieldwork health and safety 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 (2011‒2021) and Professor (2021-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

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

  • Year 2 Resource Geology/Sustainable Resources (10 and 20 credit variants, lectures and practical classes)
  • Year 2 Project Planning (10 credits, lectures and small group tutorials)

In addition, he contributes to the following modules:

  • Year 2 Palaeoecology (20 credits, lectures and practical classes)
  • Year 1 Introductory Research and Field Skills (20 credit, essay instruction supervision, small group tutorials)
  • Year 3 Independent Research Projects (40 credits project supervision)
  • Year 4 Earth Science Research (60 credits project supervision)
  • Year 1 Earth Systems (20 credits, lectures on Palaeozoic stratigraphy and events)
  • Year 1 Tutorial Skills for Geographers (2 x 10 credit modules)

Jason uses a range of methods within his teaching including traditional 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

Professor 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

Lu, J, Wang, Y, Yang, M, Zhang, P, Bond, D, Shao, L & Hilton, J 2022, 'Diachronous end-Permian terrestrial ecosystem collapse with its origin in wildfires', Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, vol. 594, 110960. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2022.110960

Zhang, P, Lu, J, Yang, M, Bond, D, Greene, S, Liu, L, Zhang, Y, Wang, Y, Wang, Z, Shan, L, Shao, L & Hilton, J 2022, 'Volcanically-induced environmental and floral changes across the Triassic-Jurassic (T-J) transition', Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 10, 853404. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2022.853404

Xu, X, Shao, L, Eriksson, K, Zhou, J, Wang, D, Hou, H, Hilton, J, Wang, S, Lu, J & Jones, T 2022, 'Widespread wildfires linked to early Albian Ocean Anoxic Event 1b: Evidence from the Fuxin lacustrine basin, NE China', Global and Planetary Change.

Yu, J, Pang, X, Fu, W, Hilton, J, Liang, M, Jiang, Z, Zhao, X, Qiao, W, Shi, S, Zhang, D, Cao, H, Jia, H, Wang, Y, Hu, X & Zhang, R 2021, 'A high-resolution timescale for the Miocene Shanwang diatomaceous shale lagerstätte (China): development of Wavelet Scale Series Analysis for cyclostratigraphy', Geosciences Journal. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12303-020-0055-2

Wang, J, Hilton, J, Pfefferkorn, H, Wang, S-J, Zhang, Y, Bek, J, Pšenička, J, Seyfullah, L & Dilcher, D 2021, 'Ancient noeggerathialean reveals the seed plant sister group diversified alongside the primary seed plant radiation', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 118, no. 11, e2013442118. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2013442118

Cherns, L, Spencer, ART, Rahman, I, Garwood, RJ, Reedman, C, Burca, G, Turner, M, Hollingworth, N & Hilton, J 2021, 'Correlative tomography of exceptionally preserved Jurassic ammonite implies hyponome-propelled swimming', Geology. https://doi.org/10.1130/G49551.1

Xiao-Yuan, H, Hilton, J, Wang, S-J & Cheng, X-S 2021, 'Exploring the stem to crown group transition in Marattiales: a new species of frond from the late Permian of China with features of the Psaroniaceae and Marattiaceae', Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, vol. 295, 104506. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.revpalbo.2021.104506

Cleal, C, Pardoe, H, Berry, C, Cascales-Miñana, B, Davis, B, Diez, J, Martina, F-M, Hiesecke, T, Hilton, J, Ivanov, D, Susanne, L, MacElwain, J, Opluštil, S, Popa, M, Seyfullah, L, Stolle, E, Thomas, B & Uhl, D 2021, 'Palaeobotanical experiences of plant diversity in deep time. 1: How well can we identify past plant diversity in the fossil record?', Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, vol. 576, 110481. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2021.110481

Pardoe, H, Cleal, C, Berry, CM, Cascales-Miñana, B, Davis, B, Diez, J, Martina, F-M, Giesecke, T, Hilton, J, Ivanov, D, Kustacher, E, Susanne, L, MacElwain, J, Opluštil, S, Popa, M, Seyfullah, L, Stolle, E, Thomas, B & Uhl, D 2021, 'Palaeobotanical experiences of plant diversity in deep time. II: How to measure and analyse past plant biodiversity', Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, vol. 580, 110618, pp. 1-26. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2021.110618

Meade, L, Plackett, A & Hilton, J 2021, 'Reconstructing development of the earliest seed integuments raises a new hypothesis for the evolution of ancestral seed-bearing structures', New Phytologist, vol. 229, no. 3, pp. 1782-1794. https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.16792

Lu, J, Zhou, K, Yang, M, Zhang, P, Shao, L & Hilton, J 2021, 'Records of organic carbon isotopic composition (δ13Corg) and volcanism linked to changes in atmospheric pCO2 and climate during the Late Paleozoic Icehouse', Global and Planetary Change, vol. 207, 103654. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloplacha.2021.103654

Lu, J, Wang, Y, Yang, M, Shao, L & Hilton, J 2021, 'Records of volcanism and organic carbon isotopic composition (δ13Corg) linked to changes in atmospheric pCO2 and climate during the Pennsylvanian icehouse interval', Chemical Geology, vol. 570, 120168. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2021.120168

Wang, SJ, Wang, J, Liu, L & Hilton, J 2021, 'Stem diversity of the marattialean tree fern family Psaroniaceae from the earliest Permian Wuda Tuff Flora', Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.revpalbo.2021.104378

Preprint

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

Review article

Dal Corso, J, Song, H, Callegaro, S, Chu, D, Sun, Y, Hilton, J, Grasby, S, Joachimski, M & Wignall, P 2022, 'Environmental crises at the Permian–Triassic mass extinction', Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 197–214. https://doi.org/10.1038/s43017-021-00259-4

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