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Annual Meeting 2023 - Cambridge, UK: Schedule - Overview

Number: 67th Annual Meeting
Year: 2023
Location: Cambridge, UK
Hosted By: University of Cambridge
Organised By: Organising committee chaired by Dr Alex Liu
General Contact Email:

Schedule - Overview

This page features an outline programme for the Annual Meeting. All times are in British Summer Time. The schedule of talk timings is available on the page Schedule - Talks

Summary of schedule

Monday 11th September

Afternoon: Pre-conference Early-Career Researcher event: “Palaeontologists for the Future”, to be held in the Department of Earth Sciences.

Tuesday 12th September

Morning: Pre-conference workshops and museum/collections tours (multiple options and venues).
Afternoon: Symposium: “Ecosystem Engineering through Deep Time”, West Road Concert Hall.Early evening: Icebreaker Reception, Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences.

Wednesday 13th September

Oral and poster presentation sessions, West Road Concert Hall and Faculty of Law.
Annual Address (Fossils, molecules and arthropods, to be delivered by Dr Greg Edgecombe FRS, Natural History Museum, London).
Evening: Annual Dinner, Girton College.

Thursday 14th September

Oral presentation sessions, West Road Concert Hall and Faculty of Law.

Friday 15th September

08:00 – 18:30 Field trip to the Eocene and Pliocene deposits of Bawdsey, Suffolk.

Further details are as follows:

Monday 11th September: Early-Career Researcher Event

There will be a half-day early-career researcher (ECR) event, “Palaeontologists for the Future”, on 11th September at the Department of Earth Sciences. The event will run from 14:00 – 17:30. For more details, see the ECR event, workshops and tours webpage.

Tuesday 12th September: Workshops and Museum Tours

Registration will be available in the Department of Earth Sciences from 08:30 on Tuesday 12th September, and will move to the foyer of West Road Concert Hall (WRCH) from 12:30pm. It will then be open in WRCH from 08:30 – 17:30 each day on Wednesday 13th and Thursday 14th September.

Poster setup will be available from 12:30 – 17:30 on Tuesday 12th September, or from 08:30am on Wednesday 13th September.

On the morning of Tuesday 12th September, delegates have the option of participating in one of several workshops held in University of Cambridge buildings in the city centre. Several rooms in the Departments of Earth Sciences and Zoology, and the Sedgwick Museum, have been booked for the workshops from 09:00 – 12:30. Concurrent with these workshops, there will be tours of the palaeontology collections of the Zoology Museum and Sedgwick Museum, and at the British Antarctic Survey and CASP (on the West Cambridge site). Places on the tours and workshops are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis at time of registration. Full details can be found on the dedicated ECR event, workshops and tours webpage.


The meeting Symposium, on the topic of “Ecosystem Engineering through Deep Time”, will be held on the afternoon of Tuesday 12th September, between 13:30 – 17:30, in the main auditorium at West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge. The symposium will have a new format this year, consisting of four invited keynote speakers, and up to six volunteered talks from meeting delegates. For further details, please see the dedicated Annual Address and Symposium webpage.

Icebreaker drinks reception

An icebreaker drinks reception will be held in the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, on Downing Street (central Cambridge) from 18:00 – 20:00.

Wednesday 13th September: Scientific Sessions and Annual Address

Wednesday 13th September will feature a full day of talks (09:00 – 16:30) and a dedicated poster session, held in the West Road Concert Hall and the adjacent Faculty of Law lecture theatres. On both 13th and 14th September, delegates may opt-in for a light buffet lunch (consisting of sandwich, crisps, cake, fruit, and water). Dietary requirements must be stated at the time of registration.

LGBTQ+ event

At lunchtime on Wednesday 13th September you are invited to attend a friendly and informal LGBTQ+ gathering of community and allies for cordial conversation and a talk by Cambridge PhD student and Sedgwick Museum Bridging Binaries tour volunteer Klara Widrig. Klara will present a portion of their Bridging Binaries museum tour on the fabulous adventures of 19th century Hungarian palaeobiologist Franz Nopcsa. A nobleman of the Austro-Hungarian empire, Nopcsa recognised island dwarfism in dinosaurs, was the first person to hijack an airplane, and nearly became king of Albania, all while accompanied by his “secretary”, Bajazid Elmaz Doda. All are welcome! This event does not require registration in advance.

Annual Address - Fossils, molecules and arthropods

The Annual Address will take place at 16:30 in West Road Concert Hall (delivered by Dr Greg Edgecombe FRS). The abstract is as follows:

Palaeontologists have persuasively made the case that fossils improve morphological phylogenetic analyses. The fossil record provides otherwise unknowable insights into the sequence of character acquisition in ancient stem lineages, as exemplified by the lobopodian roots of the panarthropod phyla. As is the case across the tree of life, many questions in arthropod phylogeny were effectively answered as molecular phylogenetics transitioned from analyses of a few loci to the genomic scale; some clades that were not widely anticipated by morphologists (e.g., several major groups within Pancrustacea) are now part of an extant-taxon scaffold into which fossil taxa are integrated. The necessity of fossils for total-evidence / tip dating has revitalised the nexus through which fossils and molecular sequences speak a common language – coding phenotypic characters for extant organisms. The evolution of arthropod appendages illustrates a methodology for reconstructing the origin of complex phenotypic novelties that draws on similarities in morphology and gene expression, phylogenomic evidence for a single origin, the sequence of character transformations in exceptionally preserved fossils, and gene knockdown. Advances in knowledge of early arthropods will continue to be triggered by discoveries from new Konservat-Lagerstätten, improvements in morphological imaging, and refinements in how we build and date trees.

Annual Dinner

The Annual Dinner will be held in the beautiful and historic surroundings of Girton College, the U.K.’s oldest residential institution to offer higher education to women. Founded in 1869, Girton is one of the 31 Colleges that make up the ‘collegiate’ University, and prides itself on widening participation and embracing sustainability. Dinner in the Great Hall (starting at 19:45) will be preceded by a drinks reception (from ~19:00) in the College gardens. Attendance at the dinner is capped, and so places will be allocated at the time of registration on a first-come, first-served basis. In addition to offering dining options for those with dietary requirements*, we will offer a reduced rate of dinner registration for those delegates who would prefer non-alcoholic beverages. Coach transport to and from the venue will be provided.

*Any delegate booking to attend the Annual Dinner, or requesting lunch on either the 13th or 14th September, should state any dietary requirements (allergies, intolerances) in the "Specify other requirements" box on the Registration page, so that these requirements can be accommodated by our caterers. Failure to provide this information in this way may prevent the meeting organisers from accommodating your preferences during the meeting.

Thursday 14th September: Scientific Sessions

Thursday 14th September will feature a full day of talks (09:00 – 17:15) in the West Road Concert Hall and Law Faculty lecture theatres.

Friday 15th September: Field-trip to Bawdsey, Suffolk

A one-day post-conference field-trip led by Professor Neil Davies will visit the Cenozoic strata of south Suffolk. Delegates will visit Eocene and Pliocene sites in the London Clay and Red Crag along the coast, reflecting deposition and fauna in the proto-North Sea. Abundant shelly fossils and reworked shark teeth and whale bones are found in the Pliocene Red Crag Formation, while the London Clay yields prolific amounts of pyritised plant and vertebrate material. The fieldtrip will begin with a visit to the Red Crag in Rendlesham Forest. Subsequently, while waiting for the tide to fall, we will benefit from the region’s archaeological heritage, visiting the Sutton Hoo burial site that sits within the field area on top of Pleistocene marine and river deposits. In the afternoon we will visit the extensive coastal sections of the London Clay and Red Crag around Bawdsey. The trip will depart Cambridge at 08:00 on the Friday 15th September, returning at approximately 18:30 that day. Field-trip registration fees will include transport, entry to Sutton Hoo, and a packed lunch. The number of participants will be limited due to coach capacity, with places allocated on a first-come, first-served basis at the time of registration. We are grateful to the Palaeontographical Society for sponsoring the field-trip.

The Palaeontological Association has contracted Girton College for the use of facilities; the Annual Dinner otherwise has no connection or association with the University of Cambridge or its Colleges.

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