Oldest pine tree fossil discovered in Canada

Fossil of oldest pine tree discovered – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-35767640


Science to the core explained

I am a palaeoecologist, which means that I use fossils (e.g. pollen, plant material, charcoal) to study the long-term history of earth’s environment. I am particularly interested in understanding how the environment has changed (if at all) on timescales ranging from tens to thousands of years and what might have caused these changes. There’s lots of evidence that I can draw upon. For example, fossilised pollen grains found in lakes and peat bogs can be used to build up a picture of past vegetation. Fossil pollen can be radiocarbon dated to establish its age. Together these lines of evidence tell us what vegetation was growing and when.

Collecting samples from Jiuzhai National Park, Sichuan, China

Collecting samples from Jiuzhai National Park, Sichuan, China

My work is varied and challenging. It involves travelling to remote locations in Asia and Australia to collect samples. The photo to the right shows me and my colleagues collecting samples from Tiger Lake; a beautiful green-blue lake in the centre of Jiuzhai National Park, Sichuan Province, China. Here we are collecting material (sediments) from the bottom of the lake using equipment that works a bit like an apple corer but on a bigger scale! Hence the coring reference in my blog title.

Jiuzhai National Park is located in the mountains of Southwestern China; a biodiversity hotspot home to many rare plants and animals. I am interested in finding out more about the Park’s environmental history as very little is known about the landscape and how it has changed in response to climate and human activities in the past.


Today is Valentine’s Day – a perfect day to kick off my new blog focusing on my love of earth sciences!

In writing this blog, my aim is to highlight and promote earth sciences research. There’s a lot going on and I’m hoping to convince you to share my enthusiasm.

There will be regular posts on what’s new in earth sciences, looking at the latest research findings and ideas. I have a passion for forests, lakes and fossils, so these are likely to feature heavily in my posts.

They say ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, so I hope to connect you with some of the best earth science images from around the world as well as links to some great resources on the web.

Why is my blog called ‘science to the core’? For the answer to that question, keep an eye on my upcoming posts…

To get updates, please click on the ‘Follow’ button on my Homepage…and enjoy!