Dr Lesley Cherns
- Early Palaeozoic stratigraphy
- Facies and faunas of Baltoscandia
- Palaeozoic chitons
- BSc Geology Course Director
- BSc (Keele) PhD (Glasgow) "Silurian facies and faunas of the Welsh Basin"
Lesley was transferred from Swansea University to Cardiff University as a Lecturer in 1989. She had previously worked as a State Geologist for the Swedish Geological Survey in Uppsala, Sweden following post-doctoral research in Uppsala and in Prague, Czech Republic. She is Course Convenor for Geology.
Her research interests are centred on the Lower Palaeozoic of Britain and Baltoscandia. Long-standing research interests in Scandinavia focus on the facies development and correlation across the Scandinavian Caledonides, from the platform shelf successions of the autochthon into fossiliferous metasediments in deformed allochthonous nappes.
Fieldwork on the Ordovician of Jämtland (as part of James Wheeley's PhD project) identified trilobites as the burrow-makers in Thalassinoides trace fossils networks. Ongoing Silurian projects in research collaboration with Prof. Mike Bassett (NMW Cardiff) involve the basin evolution of the classic carbonate platform of Gotland, Sweden. Research interest in polyplacophoran molluscs (chitons) arose from working with silicified faunas from Gotland. This group has a generally poor fossil record, but several fossil faunas are currently being investigated. Studies on early silicified faunas, in collaboration with Prof. Paul Wright, also identified the potential for taphonomic bias in the fossil record as a result of early carbonate dissolution of shells ('missing molluscs').
The wider implications of this process concern the veracity of the fossil record and taphonomic control of palaeoenvironmental gradients. Late Ordovician bryozoan-rich carbonate facies in cores from Libya (Gondwana), studied with Dr C Buttler (NMW Cardiff), were interpreted as offshore mud-mounds developed in cool-water carbonates. Diamictites identified among mounds indicate mound growth during glacial lowstand, analogous to Recent high latitude analogues. Interpretation of a cooling episode prior to the end-Ordovician glaciation and mass extinction contrasts with previous suggestions of a global warming event (Boda Event) represented by these carbonates.
Geoconservation research projects include landscape evaluation using the LANDMAP methodology, and geoconservation site audits.