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Annual Meeting 2014 - Leeds

58th Annual Meeting of the Palaeontological Association  University of Leeds, UK 16–19 December 2014

2014 Annual Meeting Logo

The 58th Annual Meeting of the Palaeontological Association will be held at the University of Leeds, UK, organized by Crispin Little (, Fiona Gill (, and colleagues from the School of Earth and Environment.

Latest Information

Symposium and Annual Address

The meeting will begin with a symposium on Tuesday 16th December, followed by the Annual Address and an evening reception in the Parkinson Building of the University.

Leeds University Main Building

The topic for the Annual Symposium this year is ‘The photosynthesis revolution: how plants and photosynthetic micro-organisms have bioengineered the planet’.

Confirmed speakers are Professor Simon Poulton (University of Leeds), Dr. Bettina Schirrmeister (University of Bristol), Professor Charles Wellman (University of Sheffield), Dr. Nick Butterfield (University of Cambridge), Professor Dianne Edwards (Cardiff University), Professor David Beerling (University of Sheffield), Professor Margaret Collinson (Royal Holloway), and Dr. James Riding (British Geological Survey).

The Annual Address will be given by Professor Alan Haywood (School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds).


The conference will commence on Wednesday 17th December with a full day of talks and posters. In the evening there will be the Annual Dinner at the Leeds City Museum.

Leeds City Museum

Thursday 18th December will be a full day of posters and talks in parallel session (depending on demand). The Association AGM will take place after lunch. Talks for both days will be 15 minutes including questions. Posters will be displayed throughout the meeting in the same venue as the refreshments, buffet lunch and advertisers’ stands.

A fieldtrip to explore some local Yorkshire geology and collect fossils is planned for Friday 19th December. See the Field Guide for more details.

Tuesday 16th: Symposium and icebreaker reception

The meeting will begin on Tuesday at noon with the Symposium in Conference Auditorium 2, followed by the icebreaker reception in the Parkinson Building. Registration and tea/coffee will be available in Sports Hall 2.

The Symposium title: ‘The photosynthesis revolution: how plants and photosynthetic micro-organisms have bioengineered the planet’.

12:00–12:15 Welcome

12:15–12:45 Professor Simon Poulton (University of Leeds): ‘Environmental instability following the rise of oxygenic photosynthesis’.

12:45–13:15 Dr. Bettina Schirrmeister (University of Bristol): ‘Cyanobacteria and the Great Oxidation Event: Evidence from genes and fossils’.

13:15–13:45 Professor Charles Wellman (University of Sheffield): ‘Evidence for terrestrial photosynthetic organisms in the Proterozoic: the land becomes vegetated’.

13:45–14:15 Dr. Nick Butterfield (University of Cambridge): ‘Photosynthesis in Proterozoic oceans: evolutionary and ecological innovations’.

14:15–14:45 Professor Dianne Edwards (Cardiff University): ‘Cryptogamic covers and Lilliputian plants in the mid Palaeozoic: aspects of early photosynthesising ecosystems on land’.

14:45–15:15 Tea/coffee break; Sports Hall 2

15:15–15:45 Professor David Beerling (University of Sheffield): ‘Trees and forests as geo-engineers of past and future global climates’.

15:45–16:15 Professor Margaret Collinson (Royal Holloway): ‘Distinctive characteristics of flowering plants and their importance’.

16:15–16:45 Dr. James Riding (British Geological Survey): ‘The evolutionary history of marine phytoplankton’.

16:45–17:45 Annual Address: Professor Alan Haywood (School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds): ‘Understanding ancient Earth climates and environments using models and data’. Read Abstract

We are extremely grateful to the Palaeontological Association for their sponsorship of the Symposium and the Annual Address.

18:00–20:00: Icebreaker reception in the Parkinson Building of the University of Leeds, with drinks and regional food buffet. This event is kindly sponsored by Wiley.

Wiley Logo

Wednesday 17th to Thursday 18th: Conference and Association AGM

The conference will commence on Wednesday 17th December with a full day of talks in Conference Auditorium 2. The Association AGM will take place in the afternoon. In the evening there will be the Annual Dinner at the Leeds City Museum. Thursday 18th December will be a full day of posters and talks in parallel session in Roger Stevens Lecture Theatres 22 and 25. Posters will be displayed throughout the meeting in Sports Hall 2, the same place as registration, refreshments, buffet lunch and advertisers’ stands.

Friday 19th: Tropical Yorkshire: fieldtrip to the Wolds

Price: £30, including transport and barbeque lunch. Starts at 08:00 from the Parkinson Building steps; returns 18:00 to Leeds Train Station and then ca. 18:20 at the Parkinson Building. The number of participants is limited to 45.

The fieldtrip will visit three inactive quarries in the Yorkshire Wolds, to the East of Leeds, to look at various facies of the Oxfordian (Upper Jurassic) Corallian sediments in the area. We will start at Betton Farm Quarry, an SSSI site that has recently been cleared. Here there are metre-scale reef structures formed by the corals Isastraea and Thamnasteria, together with very fossiliferous inter-reef facies containing molluscs, echinoids and other fauna. Also in the quarry are examples of the surrounding oolitic facies of the Malton Oolite Member (Coralline Oolite Formation). After a BBQ lunch at the quarry we will move to Ravenswyke Quarry to look at tall quarry faces displaying weathered surfaces of the Malton Oolite, some beds of which are packed by gastropods, and the overlying Coral Rag Member, which contains in-situ Rhabdophyllia phillipsi corals and the characteristic echinoid spines of Paracidaris florigemma. We will then walk and/or drive a short way to Spaunton Quarry to look again at the Coral Rag, which here contains patch reefs and various inter-reef facies, and is overlain by the sandy sediments of the Newbridge and Spaunton Sandstone Members of the Upper Calcareous Grit Formation, from which ammonites can sometimes be collected. Will we then return to Leeds. Please dress warmly as we will be exposed to the elements during the day. Stout footwear will be useful, although there will not be a lot of walking on the day. Hard hats will be provided.

Registration and booking

Registration, abstract submission and booking (including payment by credit card) commenced on Monday 14th July 2014. Abstract submission closes at midnight on Friday 19th September 2014; abstracts submitted after this date will not be considered. Registration after Friday 3rd October 2014 will incur an additional administration charge of £25.00. The final deadline for registration is Friday 14th November 2014. Registrations and bookings will be taken on a strictly first-come-first-served basis. No refunds will be available after the final deadline.

Registration, abstract submission, booking and payment (by credit card) will be through online forms available on the Palaeontological Association website. Please note that all these transactions will be in sterling (£:GBP). Accommodation must be booked separately (see below). The cost of registration is the same as last year. Early registration is £90.00 for ordinary and retired members; £60.00 for students; and £120.00 for non-members. Registration costs include sandwich lunches on Wednesday and Thursday, the icebreaker reception on Wednesday evening, full registration package and tea/coffee from Tuesday through to Thursday.

The Annual Dinner event costs £45.00. It will be held at the Leeds City Museum, which is 5 minutes walk downtown from the University. The evening’s festivities will include a drinks reception followed by a three-course meal including carvery and vegetarian option. Due to the size of the venue numbers are limited to 250.

Oral presentations

All speakers (apart from the symposium speakers) will be allocated 15 minutes. You should therefore prepare a 12 minute talk to allow time for questions and switching between presenters. On the second day of the meeting we are using a number of parallel sessions in adjacent theatres so this is especially important. All the lecture theatres will have a single A/V projector linked to a large screen (e.g., and All presentations should be submitted and checked the day before they are scheduled. The University of Leeds is PC based, so Mac-based presentations may cause problems, particularly if animations are included. If you are using a Mac please make sure your presentation is PC compatible before you leave your institution.

Poster presentations

Poster boards will accommodate an A0-sized poster presented in portrait format. The boards will not be suitable for posters of this size in landscape format. Materials to fix the poster to the boards will be available at the meeting.

Abstract Submission

All abstract submissions are via an online form with built-in text editors. This form is access by a unique link emailed to registered delegates. The forms permits you to submit one oral and one poster abastract. Each abstract can be no more than 200 words in length not including the title. You will also require co-authors full names and their institutional addresses in order to complete a submission. Abstract deadline is the 19th Sep 2014.

Venue and travel

The conference will take place in the campus of the University of Leeds, which is located just to the North of Leeds city centre. The venues for talks, posters, icebreaker reception, and Annual Dinner are all very close together. Campus maps are here (Venue Map; Leeds city map here (Map PDF); hard copies will also be included in the welcome pack.

University Map

Getting to Leeds

Key: 1-4 = University Venues; B = Leeds Bus Station; C = Woohouse Lane Carpark; R = Leeds Railway Station


There is limited parking around the University, and almost none on campus, so driving is not the best option. The closest major car park (which is expensive) is Woodhouse Lane Car Park (Post Code: LS2 3AX |


Intercity buses arrive in the south side of Leeds city centre, about 30 mins walk from the University. Buses are usually cheaper than trains. See National Express Coaches  ( and Megabus (


Leeds is on the main inter-city train network, so is easily accessible from anywhere in the UK and is probably the best travel option. Booking early will get the best ticket prices, particularly if travelling from London on East Coast Trains ( From Leeds train station the University is 20 minute walk uphill to the North (see link above). For local transport links see


Leeds is served by Leeds-Bradford Airport (LBA), which has connections to many other European cities ( The airport is about 30 minutes drive to the North of the city, depending on traffic. There are buses into Leeds bus station, or a taxi booking service. Alternatively, the much bigger Manchester Airport (MAN - is 1.5 hours away by train ( from Leeds.  Another option is to fly into London airports and get the intercity trains to Leeds from London Kings Cross station ( These run every 30 minutes, or so, and the journey takes about 2.5 hours.


Leeds city taxis are black and white, and there a good number of designated stops around the city, including outside train station and the Parkinson Building of the University. There also lots of local hire taxis that have to be booked. One is Amber Cars: +44 (0) 113 2311366.


This needs to be booked separately. Leeds has a wide variety of hotels, hostels and guest-houses at a range of prices that can be booked through the usual on-line resources. The following list of hotels (that is by no means exhaustive) are all within 20 minutes walking distance of the University. Booking in plenty of time will ensure the best prices.

  • Budget (around £50/night): Ibis
  • Mid range (£50-£100/night): Radison Blu, Park Plaza, The Met, Premier Inn Leeds City Centre (Leeds Arena)
  • Expensive (£100 plus): Leeds Marriott, Hilton Leeds City, Queens Hotel

Travel grants to student members

The Palaeontological Association runs a programme of travel grants to assist student members (doctoral and earlier) to attend the Annual Meeting in order to present a talk or poster. For the Leeds 2014 meeting, grants of less than £100 (or the € equivalent) will be available to student presenters who are travelling from outside the British Isles. The actual amount available will depend on the number of applicants and the distance travelled. Payment of these awards is given as a disbursement at the Meeting, not as an advance payment. Students interested in applying for a PalAss travel grant should contact the Executive Officer, Dr Tim Palmer ( once the organisers have confirmed that their presentation is accepted, and before 1st December 2014. Entitle the e-mail “Travel Grant Request”. No awards can be made to those who have not followed this procedure.

Leeds and Yorkshire

Leeds and the famous Yorkshire Dales to the North will feature internationally in July 2014 when the Tour de France starts off in the city ( Why not visit some of the areas the tour will visit? The Dales in particular are fantastic for walking, and have many picturesque towns and villages, many of which are accessible from Leeds by train and bus ( Alternatively, spend time exploring the Victorian industrial heritage of Leeds (, or go by train to nearby York, to see its medieval architecture (

Additionally Sponsored By

Siri Scientific Press Logo Wiley Logo

We look forward to seeing you in Leeds in December.

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