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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Student conference combines academic research with fossil hunting

Published: 19 June 2014

PhD and Masters Students from the UK and Europe involved in fossil research gathered at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton to showcase their work at the 2014 Progressive Palaeontology conference, in collaboration with the Palaeontological Association.

The event took place on the 21st - 23rd May 2014 and more than 80 delegates took this opportunity to deliver short presentations and show posters to an academic audience, many for the first time.

Southampton MSc student Michela Johnson gave a talk on the "Re-description of 'Steneosaurus obtusidens', a large-bodied crocodylomorph from the Middle Jurassic of England (Thalattosuchia; Teleosauridae)"; PhD students David Carpenter and Jon Lakin presented posters. David is researching charcoal, forests and the Earth's Palaeozoic geochemical oxygen cycle; Jon is working on understanding the geometry and distribution of mid Palaeozoic reservoir sandstones.

"In addition to the already prominent palaeontology research at the University of Southampton, a new vertebrate palaeontology research group was recently started and we all wanted to show fellow palaeontologists what we are doing here," says Liz Martin, one of the organisers of the three day event. "As well as a day of talks and a stimulating poster session, we included a memorable full day trip to the Isle of Wight. As we are so close to Dinosaur Isle, we were very keen to take delegates across the Solent. The field trip to Hanover Point saw many in the party make interesting finds including some very nice dinosaur armour."

Conference organisers were Jessica Lawrence (Wujek), Liz Martin, Aubrey Roberts, Dave Carpenter, James Hansford and Jon Lakin. "This was the first time this annual conference has been held at the University of Southampton", said vertebrate palaeontologist Dr Gareth Dyke. "I'm very proud of the excellent group of students working in Southampton and then way they pulled together to organise this meeting so excellently".

The conference was generously supported by The Palaeontological Association, Taylor and Francis, Indiana University Press, and the University of Southampton.  Ocean and Earth Science at the University of Southampton will host a further conference in September 2015, the annual UK meeting of vertebrate palaeontology and comparative anatomy (

Palaeontology research group, Southampton
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