The Micropalaeontological Society


TMS provides a number of grants which can be used to support research, conference travel or training.

TMS Angelina Messina Grant

Angelina Messina Grants, previously Grant-in-Aid, are awarded annually to help student members and early career researchers (within 10 years of obtaining their last degree) of the Society in their fieldwork, conference attendance, or any other specific activity related to their research which has not been budgeted for. A case must be made as to why funding is required above what is already available. Angelina Messina Grants cannot be awarded for miscellaneous expenditures, nor can they be awarded retrospectively. The proposed activity must occur in the calendar year commencing the 1st of April following the application deadline in February.

All applications must be made on the application form and submitted to the Secretary. The deadline for applications is the 28th of February. A maximum of £500 can be awarded to each successful applicant. Successful applicants are expected to write a short report for the Newsletter once their grant has been used. For more information, please get in touch with the Secretary.

Angelina Messina Grant applications will be reviewed and ranked based on: 

  • Description of benefit to applicants’ scientific career/research project development
  • Description of the activity and its relevance for micropaleontology
  • Explanation of why Angelina Messina Grant funding is required for financial support of the activity 
  • Provision of a realistic budget

TMS Frances Parker Grant

TMS Frances Parker Grant, previously the small research grant, offers grants of up to £1500 each year to support micropalaeontological research by any TMS member. This grant is aimed at supporting stand-alone research projects, and funds can be used to assist with any costs associated with the work, e.g., analytical costs, visits to museums, fieldwork, etc. If the grant proposal relates to a funded research project (i.e. funded post-graduate or post-doctoral research), then a case must be made as to why funding is required above that already available. Proposals relating to PhD or Master’s projects should also include a letter of support by one of your advisors, which details why the funding is needed, the calibre of the applicant, and the role they had in developing the project. This grant cannot be used to support conference or workshop attendance (please see the Angelina Messina Grant). 

All applications must be made on the application form, with a max. 2-page CV (preferably combined as a single document)and submitted to the Secretary. The deadline for applications is the 31st of October. Funding cannot be made retrospectively. Further enquiries about the scheme can be made to the Secretary.

Society officers will evaluate the applications and notify the successful candidate following the TMS AGM held in November. Proposals will be ranked based on the following criteria:

  • Fit the Society
  • Quality and novelty of proposed work
  • Feasibility within the budget and time allotted
  • Applicants track record

Successful applicants must submit a brief project summary (max. 100 words) suitable for a non-specialist when the grant is announced (for the website and TMS newsletter) and within two years of the award date, a report on the outcomes of the project for TMS Newsletter. Receipt of the grant must be acknowledged in any resulting published work.

Previous recipients

Sonia Clara Camina, San Luis University (Argentina) 2022

Exceptionally well-preserved chitinozoans from the lower Silurian Measley Ridge roadcut(Ohio, USA), and their application in high-resolution biostratigraphy

Chitinozoans, an extinct group of organic-walled microfossil, are a valuable group for Palaeozoic biostratigraphy. The Measley Ridge section (southern Ohio, USA) provides a spectacular example of Silurian strata straddling the Llandovery-Wenlock boundary. Previous studies have provided some age constraint and the initial processing of test samples has proven a good yield of diverse and well-preserved chitinozoans. The aims of this project are to produce a detailed chitinozoan biostratigraphy for the Measley Ridge section, confirm the position of the Llandovery-Wenlock boundary in the section, and to identify any evidence of step-wise extinction related to the Ireviken carbon isotope event.

Stephanie Stainbank, Oceanographic Research Institute – 2021

Assessing the biomonitoring value of foraminifera for South Africa’s coral reefs

Foraminifera are invaluable modern and palaeo-biomonitoring tools as their short life spans mean their assemblage compositions respond rapidly to environmental changes. In addition, the application of their numerous biotic indices provides an easily quantifiable measure/scale of environmental quality. While the use of foraminifera within global coral reef biomonitoring initiatives is well established, limited studies have been conducted in South Africa. The study of collections at the Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI) of South Africa will allow the assessment of the biomonitoring potential of foraminifera for South Africa’s coral reefs, one of the most southerly distributions of these communities in the world.

Connor O’Keeffe, University of Leeds – 2021

Palynology of short-duration redox shifts in the early Toarcian (Lower Jurassic) of the Cleveland Basin, Yorkshire

The recent rise in the occurrence of anthropogenic reduced oxygen conditions (dysoxia) in coastal environments and resulting killing of marine animals is of great concern. The duration of these events, and their long-term consequences to marine communities, are poorly understood. However, the geological record contains many episodes of marine dysoxia and anoxia (a complete lack of oxygen) across a wide range time scales and geographical extent. This project will focus on the Whitby Mudstone Formation (WMF), which outcrops along the North Yorkshire coast, to assess the redox state of the water column using dinoflagellate and prasinophyte abundance, and the degree of terrestrial input of organic matter (which is suspected to have occurred, based on Rock-Eval Pyrolysis) using alginite and plant spores, which will be a proxy for fresh-water run-off.

Martyn Golding, Geological Survey of Canada & University of British Columbia – 2019

Conodont Biostratigraphy and Definition of the Lower–Middle Triassic Boundary in Romania

The boundary between Lower and Middle Triassic represents the final stages of recovery of marine organisms in the aftermath of the end-Permian mass extinction. Despite the importance of this time interval, the correlation of sections spanning this boundary is controversial, hampering efforts to understand rates and mechanisms operating during extinction recovery. Conodonts are especially abundant and diverse at the Deşli Caira section in Romania. Study of collections at the University of Bucharest will enable comparison with faunas from other important sections in China, Albania, and North America, allowing the evolutionary events of this time interval to be more accurately dated.

Conodonts from the Deşli Caira section in Romania (such as Neogondolella n. sp. A, pictured) allow for high-resolution correlation of the Lower-Middle Triassic Boundary (scale bar = 300μm).

Sophie Westacott, Yale University – 2018

Macroevolutionary Trends in Silica use by Paleozoic Radiolarians

As radiolarians rose to prominence in the early Paleozoic, they are believed to have radically altered ocean geochemistry, locking up enough dissolved silicate (dSi) that near-surface water concentrations declined by an order of magnitude between the Precambrian and the Silurian. When diatoms came to dominate in the Cenozoic and drew down dSi concentrations still further, radiolarians responded to the increasing silica limitation by constructing thinner, more porous tests. Did radiolarian morphology shift during the Paleozoic as well to reflect the reduction in available silica created by their own expansion? Qualitative observations suggest early Ordovician radiolarians were considerably heftier than later radiolarians, but there has been no quantitative analysis to back this up. Measuring the test size, wall thickness, and porosity of well-preserved Paleozoic radiolarians will test the hypothesis that there was a directional trend toward reduced silicification across the Paleozoic and improve understanding of the role of biology in the early evolution of the silica cycle.

Lower Silurian radiolarian exhibiting relatively large body size, thick test outer wall, and minor siliceous overgrowths.

Peter Stassen – 2017

Eocene larger benthic foraminifera, mainly Nummulites, occur in multiple levels in Belgium and are well-represented in museum collections. These occurrences in the North Sea Basin are probably controlled by pulses of northward migration during warmer climate conditions. Recently, a new paleotemperature proxy has been proposed for their use in climate reconstructions, as variations in the shell chemistry can reveal both annual and seasonal changes of seawater temperature. The integration of geochemical and biotic data will define the downfall of one species and the rise of another on a NW European scale, thus linking their distribution and evolution to Eocene climate development.

A well-preserved specimen of Nummulites aquitanicus from the Egem sands in the Ampe Quarry near Egem (Belgium), deposited during the early Eocene climate optimum (EECO).

TMS Educational Trust Awards

More info TMS Educational Trust Awards. This trust offers financial support for post-graduate training in micropalaeontology.

TMS Urbino Scholarship Application Form

An application form is available on the TMS Educational Trust Awards.

TMS Annual Conference Travel Bursaries

Five TMS travel grants of up to £250 are available to support postgraduate students and early career researchers (those who have completed their PhD within the last 5 yrs) to attend the TMS Annual Conference held in November each year. This grant can only be used to contribute towards travel and accommodation costs. Successful grant candidates must have registered for the conference and give an oral or poster presentation. Please complete the application form and return it to the Events Secretary before the 30th of September in the year of the AGM you wish to attend. Candidates will be notified of the status of their application in early October.