Professor Charles H Wellman

Dr Charles Wellman

Tel: +44 (0)114 222 3689

Email: c.wellman@sheffield.ac.uk

Room C202, Alfred Denny Building

Palynology Newsletters website: www.sheffield.ac.uk/aps/staff-and-students/acadstaff/cpnewsletters


Career

BSc (1987) University of Southampton, UK
PhD (1991) Cardiff University, Wales, UK
Postdoctoral Research Assistant, The Natural History Museum, London (1991-1992)
Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Cardiff University, Wales, UK (1994-1997)
Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader and Professor, Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield (1997-present)

Key Research Interests

image of Ordovician spore

My research addresses the origin and early evolution of land plants. My research integrates evidence from both fossil and living plants. Fossil evidence is in the form of early land plant megafossils and dispersed microfossils (spores and fragments). I am currently working on material from the Ordovician-Devonian of China, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Spain and Spitsbergen. I study living plants in order to interpret the earliest land plant fossils through, specifically:

    • cladistic analyses of evolutionary relationships
    • molecular clock analyses of evolutionary divergence times
    • analysis of physiological adaptations required for plants to invade the land (particularly Evo-Devo studies on the molecular genetics of spore/pollen wall development).

I am also exploring the impact of the invasion of the land by plants on global change. This has led to research into developing a novel (and currently only) proxy for past UV-B radiation. In recent years I have also extended my research back in time to examine a previously neglected research area considering the ‘algal scum’ that inhabited the land before it was invaded by plants. This has lead to work on microbial remains from the billion year old deposits of the Torridonian and Nonesuch Shale.



Professional Activities

Editorial boards

Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology (2006-present)

Palaontologische Zeitscrift (2005-present)

Palynos (2004-2008)

Palaeontology (2000-2006 & 2012-2016)

Societal roles

Commission Internationale de Microflora du Paleozoic (Secretary-Treasurer of the CIMP/Saudi Aramco joint project)

International Federation of Palynological Societies (Past President 2016-present; President 2012-2016; Secretary-Treasurer 2008-2012; Newsletter Editor 2004-2008; Councillor 2000-2004)

Palaeontological Association (President 2018-present)

Research council acitivities

NERC Peer Review College (2007-2011)

Recent Invited Lectures

European Palaeobotany & Palynology Conference (Dublin, Ireland 2018)

XXV Congresso Brasileiro de Paleontologia (Ribeirao Preto, Brazil 2017)

Royal Society Discussion Meeting: Rhynie Chert (London, UK 2017)

International Palynological Congress/International Organization of Palaeobotany Conference (Salvador, Brazil 2016)

International Palaeontological Congress (Mendoza, Argentina 2014)

Current Research Students

Image of A BallAlexander Ball (2018-)
Silurian-Devonian early land plant spores and megafossils from the Anglo-Welsh Basin. Funded by a NERC ACCE award that is a CASE Studentship with the Natural History Museum, London.


Image of M GibsonMartha Gibson (2016-)
Palynology of the Permian Zechstein deposits of the UK (in association with Sirius Minerals). Funded by a NERC ACCE award.


Past Students

Alex Askew

Dr Alexander Askew (Ph.D. 2018)
Palynology of the Middle Devonian of Spain. Funded by a NERC ACCE award.


Image of David Carpenter

Dr David Carpenter (Ph.D. 2017)
Charcoal, forests and Earth’s Palaeozoic geochemical oxygen-cycle. Funded by NERC.


Image of Stephanie Wood

Dr Stephanie Wood (Ph.D. 2016)
Jurassic-Cretaceous palynology of the Gulf of Mexico. Funded by a NERC Open CASE award with Shell. Currently working for the British Geological Survey as a Palynology Lab Manager.


Image of Sam Slater

Dr Sam Slater (Ph.D. 2015)
Spore assemblages from the Yorkshire Jurassic. Funded by a NERC CASE Award with Shell Oil. Currently working as a postdoc in Sweden.


Wallace Simon

Dr Simon Wallace (Ph.D. 2013)
Evo-Devo studies of spore wall development in the extant moss Physcomitrella. Funded by a NERC award. Currently working as a postdoc in the USA.


Image of Faisal

Dr Faisal Abuhmida (PhD 2013)
Ordovician-Silurian palynology of Libya. Funded by the Libyan Petroleum Institute.
Currently working as a Stratigrapher/Palynologist for the Lybian Petroleum Institute.


Image of Janine

Dr Janine Pendleton (PhD 2012)
Carboniferous plants and spores from the Bristol Coalfield. Funded by a NERC CASE Award with National Museum Wales, Cardiff.
Currently working as a Stratigrapher/Palynologist for PetroStrat, UK.


pedder-brian.jpg

Dr Brian Pedder (PhD 2012)
Cambrian acritarchs from North America. Funded by a NERC Open CASE Award with the Natural History Museum, London.
Currently working as a Stratigrapher/Palynologist for Robertson, UK.


Mkuu Doreen

Dr Doreen Mkuu (MPhil 2012)
Tertiary palynology of Tanzania. Funded by the Tanzanian Petroleum Development Corporation.
Currently working as a Stratigrapher/Palynologist for the Tanzanian Petroleum Development Corporation.


image of Mutusam

Dr Mutusam Al-Ghammari (Ph.D. 2010)
Ordovician-Silurian acritarchs, chitinozoans and spore assemblages from Oman. Funded by Petroleum Development Oman. Currently working as a Stratigrapher/Palynologist for PDO in Oman.


gaddah-khaled.jpg

Dr Khaled Gaddah (PhD 2009)
Cretaceous palynology of the Nubian Sandstone of Libya. Funded by the Libyan Education Ministry.
Currently working as a Stratigrapher/Palynologist for Waha Oil, Lybia.


image of Issam

Dr Issam Al-Barram (PhD 2009)
Carboniferous-Permian spore assemlages from Oman. Funded by Petroleum Development Oman.
Currently working as a Stratigrapher/Palynologist for PDO in Oman.


Dr Wesley Fraser (PhD 2008)
Development of a novel proxy for measuring past UV-B radiation.
Currently working as a Lecturer in Physical Geography at Oxford Brookes University.

Mr Abdullah Al-Ghazi (MPhil 2005)
Devonian spore assemblages of Saudi Arabia. Funded by Saudi Aramco.
Currently working as a Stratigrapher/Palynologist for Saudi Aramco in Saudi Arabia.

Dr Waleed Abusham (PhD 2001)
Carboniferous spore assemblages from Scotland. Self Funded.
Currently working as a Stratigrapher/Palynologist in Sudan.

Dr Craig Harvey (PhD 2001)
Devonian spore assemblages from Venezuela. Funded by a Hussain Farmy University of Sheffield Scholarship.
Currently working as a Principal Exploration Geologist for Qatar Shell Upstream International.

Teaching

I teach across all levels within APS. He is APS Level 3 tutor. In 2008 he received the Departmental Teacher of Year award.

At Level 1 I am module coordinator for APS121 (Evolution) and APS122 (Biodiversity).

At Level 2 I am module coordinator for APS269 (Palaeobiology). This module aims to instil within biology undergraduates a basic understanding of palaeontological principles—why understanding past life enhances our understanding of the living world.

At Level 3 I am module coordinator for APS341 (Evolution of Terrestrial Ecosystems). This module explores my personal research specialism and provides an up to date and in depth exploration of how terrestrial ecosystems have evolved through time and the nature of the scientific enquiry that enables us to understand this.

My Level 3 Projects (APS345) generally involve a palaeobiological investigation of fossils (usually plant fossils) that are collected and prepared by the students. These studies may concern analysis of evolutionary trends, palaeoecological investigation or palaeoenvironmental reconstruction. My Level 3 Dissertations (APS331) cover any topical area of palaeobiology (human evolution, dinosaur palaeobiology, mass extinctions etc.).

Level 4 Projects (APS406) cover aspects of palaeobiology that are currently interesting me. They have included investigation of sexual dimorphism in stegosaur dinosaurs, reconstruction of Cretaceous palaeogeography, analysis of Silurian lake palaeoecology, assessing the impact of the end Devonian mass extinction on various organisms etc.

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