Devonian Tropical Plant Assemblages from Arctic Svalbard

The Svalbard Devonian Flora has previous been systematically described by Hoeg (1942) and Schweitzer (1965-8 summarised 1999), the key material having been collected by Norwegian expeditions in 1925-8. Our new and recent collections, including the first to be made from the original localities, will be supplemented by further collecting in central Spitzbergen towards the end of the first year of the PhD. The primary objective of the project is to make systematic descriptions and reconstructions of new plant fossil taxa and make redescriptions of Hoeg and Schweitzer’s taxa using new fossils in the light of considerably advanced contemporary understanding of Devonian plants (as e.g. Berry 2005).

Unique to this project is the prospect of familiarity with plant fossils that cover most of the evolutionary development of vascular plants before seed plants. The plant fossils will be placed into a new palyno-stratigraphic framework for the Svalbard Devonian based on the work of co-supervisors Marshall and Wellman. Where possible, in situ spores recovered from sporangia will be described using palynological techniques. The record of the Svalbard Devonian flora will then be compared with those established from other localities to assess the importance of the palaeotropics in Devonian plant evolution.

Grant reference
Natural Environment Research Council
Total awarded
£0 GBP
Start date
30 Sep 2020
3 years 6 months 1 day
End date
31 Mar 2024