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Microfossil Image Competition & Calendar 2019

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The Micropalaeontological Society is delighted to announce the winner of the 2018 Micropalaeontology Image Competition!

The overall image winner was submitted by Robert P. Speijer from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium, with his beautiful image of the foraminifera Nummulites involutus Schaub, from the Ypresian clays near Kortrijk, Belgium. The image is a sperfect equatorial thin-section through a small (~ 3 mm) excellently preserved nummulite, and was scanned with a GE-Phoenix Micro-CT and the image was modified in Picasa. Not only does Robert win the competition’s first prize of €200, but also has his image included on the front cover of our TMSoc2019 Calendar (see above)!

On behalf of the Society we would like to congratulate Robert on his success. Eleven additional winners were selected from the fantastic submissions, and are on display below! A wide variety of microfossils and imaging techniques have been championed this year, and we are already looking forward to next year’s competition.

The twelve winning images have been incorporated into the 2019 Micropalaeontology Calendar, which will soon be available for purchase! Like last year, the calendar has been produced in spiral-bound A4 landscape format with one page per month.

A full list of the winners can be found below:

Robert P. Speijer, KU Leuven, Belgium (overall winner) – An equatorial section through for foraminifera Nummulites involutus Schaub. This is a small (~ 3 mm) excellently preserved nummulite from the Ypresian clays near Kortrijk, Belgium.

Robert’s winning image was captured from a video of the CT reconstruction. This video was shown at Forams2018 in Edinburgh
  • Anieke Brombacher, University of Southampton, UK – Surrounded by a glowing halo of spines and photosymbionts, planktonic foraminifera live at the centre of their own personal universe. Orbulina universa in particular would make an excellent solar system. Drawing made using soft pastels on black paper. It is based on a live Orbulina universa studied during a workshop on culturing planktonic foraminifera on Catalina Island in 2015. @jfabrombacher
  • Sarah Kachovich, University of Queensland, Australia – ‘It is what is inside that counts’ – Before and after shots of a perfect micro-surgery of the Radiolaria Hollandosphaera hexagonium, collected on-board IODP Expedition 362. Many radiolarian groups are impossible to recognise based on external features alone, but by mechanically breaking the outer sphere of the Hollandosphaera hexagonium specimen, the characteristic initial tetrapetaloid structure with four wide pores (diagnostic of the family Hexalonchidae) was revealed. @WOMEESA
  • Giles Ford, University of Creative Arts, Farnham, UK –  ‘Fossilarium’ – Mixed media painting based on a thin section of Oolites and rounded skeletal particles found in La Puya Formation, Western Venezuela. Painting on canvas and acetates using Oil, Indian Ink & collaged photographic transfers. The original artwork is approximately 4ft by 5ft. @GfordGiles
  • Giles Ford, University of Creative Arts, Farnham, UK – ‘Anthropocene Blossom’ – A mixed media painting juxtaposing collaged micropaleontology thin section images interwoven with cherry blossom photography and art history. The original artwork is approximately 4ft by 5ft. @GfordGiles
  • Kristopher Maedke-Russell, Savannah State University – An individual of the diatom species Surirella striatula found in a sediment core collected from Raccoon Key, GA, USA.
  • Lucy Roberts, University College London, UK – A Cyprideis torosa (brackish water ostracod) valve (c. 1mm) collected from a salt marsh in Kent. The purple highlights the calcium carbonate content of the ostracod shell and the green/yellow colour highlights the silica of the diatoms present on the valve surface. @lucyrroberts
  • Inge van Dijk, the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research – Scanning electron microscope image of Archaias angulatus. The specimen was cultured in controlled laboratory conditions and geochemical composition of the shell was analyzed by laser ablation ICP-MS. Ablation holes are 60 µm and the overall shell diameter is approx. 700 µm. Image by @ingevDijk   @NIOZnieuws 
  • Sabine Keuter, Hebrew University, Israel – Image of a tintinnid (a ciliate of the choreotrich taxon Tintinnida), sampled at a depth of 80m in summer in the Gulf of Aqaba,. The tintinnid’s lorica (vase-shaped shell)  is about 60 µm long and is almost exclusively made out of Emiliania huxleyi coccoliths. (@RedSeaPlankton)
  • Miguel Méndez Sandín, CNRS/Sorbonne Université, France – A selection of Polycystines (Radiolaria) collected at various depths in the Westearn Mediterranean Sea and in the North Pacific, off Japan.
  • Lyndsey Fox, University of Hull, – ‘An unwelcome interloper’ Diatom trapped in the spines of a foraminifera. Specimen collected in 2013 by the TARA expedition (Pacific Ocean). @lynzfox
  • Paul Minton, University College London, UK – The aperture of the planktonic foraminifera Paragloborotalia siakensis, showing some recrystallisation and nannofossils. Scale bar is 20 µm. @pminton3

Winning Images

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The meeting was organised and hosted by Alan Lord and chaired by John Whittaker in the Arthur Holmes Room of the Geological Society of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly.

John Whittaker gave a short update on the latest TMS Special Publications available via the Geological Society Publishing House. Initial reviews of “Ostracods in British Stratigraphy” have praised its presentation and quality of its plates, thoroughly recommending its purchase. John also described the official launch of the “Curry Volume” in Chichester on October 2nd attended by Dennis’ family.

Giles Miller (Natural History Museum) started off proceedings by showing us a series of beautiful 3-D plastic models (c.15cm long) of Pattersoncypris micropapillosa Bate 1972, created from the 3-D computer scans taken at the ESRF synchrotron at Grenoble. Apparently the models are created using two lasers focussed in to a bath of liquid resin that hardens where the beams cross. Ray Bate, who is donating them to the NHM, kindly paid for the models. Other models of such scans now form a display at the NHM based on recent research published in Science suggesting that ostracods were reproducing using giant sperm as far back as the Cretaceous (see TMS Newsletter No. 80, p.19 and search for ostracod on

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December 17th saw the annual meeting and field trip of the Microvertebrate Group

The field trip comprised a tour of Silurian age localities in the Malvern Hills area (now part of the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark). The group met at British Camp Hillfort on the morning of the 17th and proceeded to Gullet Quarry, well known for its Llandovery conodonts.

Once we had arrived at the quarry, a bottle of champagne was opened to celebrate Dick Aldridge’s “significant” birthday, the quarry being one of the localities from both his undergraduate mapping and his PhD. After a while talking and catching up we were then met by Dr Peter Oliver, director of the Hereford and Worcester Earth Heritage Trust who welcomed us to the geopark and gave a brief talk about the geology of the area.

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‘North West Europe and Global Perspectives’

Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London, 6th – 9th October 2003

Previously this conference has been held at the Barbican Centre, leading to the conference being widely known as the Barbican Conference. This year the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre was used as the new venue, enabling both a core workshop and a 3D visions session to run alongside poster presentations and up to 4 parallel talk sessions. I think everyone would agree that the setting for the conference was unsurpassable, even for those working in London, with Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament on the doorstep.

The conference, though still mainly concentrating on exploration and development in north-western Europe, did this time include presentations of global interest. And although initial registration numbers showed a slight decrease in numbers since the last time the conference was held, by the time the late entrants had registered, the number of delegates was on par with previous years.

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Institute of Marine Biology of Crete, Heraklion, Greece,
October 1-6, 2003

Extant coccolithophores have attracted a wide range of research over the past decade including much research on topics such as dimethyl sulphide and alkenone production, physiological ecology, carbon uptake mechanisms, remote sensing and modelling of blooms, but also taxonomy-based research on biodiversity, molecular genetics, ecology, biogeography and flux estimation. As a result of the latter strand of research there is now a significant number of specialists world-wide who are identifying and studying extant coccolithophores.

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Reston, Virginia, U.S.A. 21st.-23rd. September 2003

In late September, and immediately after the landfall of Hurricane Isobel, the U.S. Geological Survey hosted an ICDP (International Continental Drilling Program) workshop at Reston, Virginia to define the scientific criteria which will decide the location for a deep well to be drilled in the centre of the Chesapeake Bay Impact Crater (CBIC).

The CBIC impact occurred approximately 35 million years ago (Late Eocene) when a meteorite or comet came to earth on the U.S. Atlantic continental shelf at a location that is currently occupied by the southern part of the Chesapeake Bay and neighbouring land, within the Virginia Coastal Plain. The crater as currently defined is approximately 84 km (53 miles) circular structure. This lies under several hundred feet of younger Tertiary marine sediments. Read more