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Dr Chris Berry

Dr Chris Berry

Senior Lecturer

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Email
berrycm@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 6971
Fax:
+44 (0)29 2087 4326
Campuses
1.16B, Main Building
Comment
Media commentator
Users
Available for postgraduate supervision

Overview

I am a palaeobotanist who specialises in understanding the early radiation of large plants and the birth of forest ecosystems in the Devonian period, about 380 million years ago. This builds on the training I recieved from Professor Dianne Edwards, FRS and from Muriel Fairon-Demaret (Liege, Belgium).

My expertise is based on an exciting fieldwork programme (Svalbard, Greenland, China, USA, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, Europe) and precision preparation of the fossils recovered in the labs here in Cardiff. My highest profile publications, with colleagues, on early fossil forests and the growth of early trees, have recieved global publicity.

I enjoy interacting with other scientists to date my fossils, and to interpret the impact of the rise of forests on the Earth system.

Biography

  • Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Earth and Environmental Sciences - School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Cardiff University (1998-present)
  • University of Wales Research Fellow, Cardiff University (1996-1998)
  • Royal Society Exchange Fellowship, Liège University (1994-1995)
  • PhD - Devonian Plant Fossils from Venezuela, Geology Department, University of Wales Cardiff (1993)
  • BA Earth Sciences – Cambridge University (1989)

Honours and awards

Prix Suzanne Leclercq

Professional memberships

Paleontological Association
Linnean Society

Committees and reviewing

International

Publications

2021

2020

2019

2018

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2012

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1991

  • Edwards, D. and Berry, C. M. 1991. Silurian and Devonian. In: Cleal, C. J. ed. Plant Fossils in Geological Investigation: The Palaeozoic. Ellis Horwood series in applied geology Chichester: Ellis Horwood Limited, pp. 117-153.

Teaching

Year 1: Life and Earth History

Year 2: Sedimentary Geology and Environments; Carbonate Sedimentology

Year 3: Palaeobiology

Residential Field Trips: Pembrokeshire (Palaeozoic); Dorset (Mesozoic).

I study the diversification, evolution and impact of the evolution of large land plants in the Devonian Period, 420-360 million years ago. I am interested in rare ‘fossil forests’ which tell us about ancient terrestrial ecology. My knowledge is informed by an extensive fieldwork programme, and first-hand knowledge of the major collections of Devonian plants in museums around the world.

See impact tab for some podcasts and videos.

Current projects

1) Culture and Education Department of the UK Embassy «University Alliance» British Council

How did the environment react to climate change during the Devonian time in the European part of the Arctic? 

Komi Republic Science Centre / Olga Tel'nova

2) Chinese Academy of Sciences

Study on Xinjiang Late Devonian tree-like plants anatomy and growth pattern

Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology / Prof Honghe Xu

Supervision

Palaeozoic Palaeoenvironments and Palaeobotany

Past projects

PhD

Current: Amy Wyatt (Devonian plant asseemblages in palaeotropical Svalbard)

Past

Susan Hammond (Devonian Progymnosperms from Venezuela)

Joe Orme (Carboniferous Coal Petrology in South Wales)

Yingying Zhang (Peking University - Anatomically preserved Devonian Plants)

Impact

A 15 minute 'Lunchtime Lockdown Lecture' video about how we reconstruct the Earth's first forests:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcED56vPda0

A 40 minute public lecture about the origin of forests in the Devonian Period, given in Cardiff December 2015:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwkbePIWeIU

A video about fieldwork at the famous Gilboa fossil forest, Mid Devonian age, New York State, as written up in Nature 2012. Please set the screen resolution to 720p (use the settings tab at the bottom right) to get the correct screen proportions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8M0j4ZdaJF8

Our entry in the Guinness Book of World Records:

Oldest fossilized forest | Guinness World Records

In Defense of Plants podcast - research about the earliest forests. From February 2020.

http://www.indefenseofplants.com/podcast/2020/2/23/ep-253-earths-first-forests

An interview with Catskill Mountain Radio about the fossil forests of upstate New York.

https://fromtheforest.podbean.com/e/ancient-fossil-forests-of-the-catskills-with-dr-chris-berry/

Radio Ecoshock interview about how the Earth's oldest trees grew:

https://www.ecoshock.org/2017/11/things-ripping-apart-to-grow.html