Product has been added to the basket

Bruce Yardley appointed Chief Geologist

Bruce Yardley (Leeds University) has been appointed Chief Geologist by The Radioactive Waste Management Directorate (RWMD) of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

Chartership news

Chartership Officer Bill Gaskarth reports on a projected new logo for use by CGeols, advice on applications and company training schemes

Climate Change Statement Addendum

The Society has published an addendum to 'Climate Change: Evidence from the Geological Record' (November 2010) taking account of new research

Cracking up in Lincolnshire

Oliver Pritchard, Stephen Hallett, and Timothy Farewell consider the role of soil science in maintaining the British 'evolved road'

Critical metals

Kathryn Goodenough* on a Society-sponsored hunt for the rare metals that underpin new technologies

Déja vu all over again

As Nina Morgan Discovers, the debate over HS2 is nothing new...

Done proud

Ted Nield hails the new refurbished Council Room as evidence that the Society is growing up

Earth Science Week 2014

Fellows - renew, vote for Council, and volunteer for Earth Science Week 2014!  Also - who is honoured in the Society's Awards and Medals 2014.

Fookes celebrated

Peter Fookes (Imperial College, London) celebrated at Society event in honour of Engineering Group Working Parties and their reports

Geology - poor relation?

When are University Earth Science departments going to shed their outmoded obsession with maths, physics and chemistry?

Nancy Tupholme

Nancy Tupholme, Librarian of the Society and the Royal Society, has died, reports Wendy Cawthorne.

Power, splendour and high camp

Ted Nield reviews the refurbishment of the Council Room, Burlington House

The Sir Archibald Geikie Archive at Haslemere Educational Museum

You can help the Haslemere Educational Museum to identify subjects in Sir Archibald Geikie's amazing field notebook sketches, writes John Betterton.

Top bananas

Who are the top 100 UK practising scientists?  The Science Council knows...

Threat of Extinction

Haydon Bailey

Haydon Bailey* and Bob Jones# of the Micropalaeontological Society Educational Trust Fund fear that the bug-pickers might soon go the way of the dinosaurs

Geoscientist 22.04 May 2012


Applied Micropalaeontology (“Biostratigraphy”) is a core subsurface technology in petroleum geology, with high impact all along the ‘value chain’ from regional exploration to reservoir exploitation, including in Operations. It is also important in the fields of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and environmental monitoring, and will become increasingly so once the European Framework Water Directive passes into law in 2015.

However, formal postgraduate teaching in the subject essentially came to an end in the UK with the recent peremptory closure of the MSc course in Micropalaeontology at University College London in 2008. Service companies are already experiencing difficulties in recruiting appropriately qualified staff to undertake biostratigraphic analytical work, including operational well-site work and value-adding “biosteering”, and in planning for the future. “Biosteering” has saved tens of millions of dollars in drilling wells, added tens of millions of barrels of reserves, and tens of thousands of barrels per day of production (sustainable throughout field life), as well as adding value running into hundreds of millions of dollars1.

Unless remedial action is taken immediately, it will only be a matter of time before operating companies start to suffer as increasingly beleaguered service suppliers are unable to meet their demands - especially and most worryingly at well-site (and also, in the longer-term, through their own difficulties in recruiting).

The urgency is all the greater on account of the ageing demographic in the micropalaeontological community in UK industry (see Online for details). Within 10 years, around half of the community will have retired, and over half of the communal experience will have been lost.

Bib Jones


Industry and academia need to work together, either, generally, to provide direct financial support to micropalaeontology, through The Micropalaeontological Society Charitable Educational Trust Fund (a UK Registered Charity). This will disburse moneys to suitable student applicants to cover fees for their tuition in the subject.

Alternatively, and more specifically, the sectors can combine to provide direct financial support to the setting up and/or running of suitably quality assured and accredited units (including HSE-compliant laboratory facilities), to MSc and PhD courses in these units - such as the Applied and Petroleum Micropalaeontology MSc course due to be launched at the University of Birmingham in 2012 (course director, Ian Boomer), or to individual students on these courses. They could also provide tacit support to units or courses in the form of goods - such as student project materials, or by contributing services, for example in teaching or project supervision.

If you or your company would be interested in being part of the solution - or if you would simply like further information - please contact us.


  1. Jones, RW, 2011. Applications of Palaeontology – Techniques and Case Studies. Cambridge University Press.

* Network Stratigraphic Consulting Ltd., Harvest House, Cranborne Road, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, EN6 3JF E: [email protected]
# BG Group plc, 100 Thames Valley Park, Reading, Berkshire, RG6 1PT (E: [email protected]) and The Natural History Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 5BD (E: [email protected])