Dr Mike Romano

BSc, PhD

School of Geography and Planning



Mike Romano has a BSc degree (Geology) from the University of Liverpool that was followed by a PhD on the Ordovician Geology of Eastern Central Ireland.

During the third year of his PhD studies he joined the Department of Geology at the University of Sheffield as a lecturer.

He became Senior Lecturer in 1995 in the then Department of Earth Sciences. He joined the Department of Geography in 2001.

He has served as a Committee Member of the Palaeontological Association, Palaeontographical Society and Yorkshire Geological Society, and held the position of President (1998-2000) on the latter and Vice President on the former.

He was also the Geology Section President for the British Association Festival of Science held in Sheffield in 1999.

For a long time now I have been an Arsenal supporter (with a soft spot for Sheffield Wednesday). In fact, most sports interest me; both playing (though not so much now) and watching.

I enjoy hill walking, particularly when I can combine it with my hobby of geology. I paint (not decorate) and suffer DIY. I have enjoyed doing TV work (associated with our dinosaur research), but hardly aspire to a future in the media.

Research interests
  • Ichnotaxonomy and behavioural studies of dinosaur tracks from the Middle Jurassic of the Cleveland Basin, northern England
  • Study of invertebrate trace fossils
  • Biogeography and trilobite studies of the Ordovician of Eastern Ireland
  • Ordovician trilobite biostratigraphy of Portugal.

Current research

Dinosaur tracks

Recently initiated research is continuing on newly discovered assemblages of dinosaur tracks from the Jurassic of Yorkshire. This work has already yielded vital evidence of dinosaur types not previously known from the Yorkshire area, as well as providing crucial evidence on their behavioural patterns.

The diversity of track types was completely unknown before our work started in earnest in early 1990's, and our comprehensive data base will provide evidence of dinosaur communities at a time when dinosaur body fossils are poorly known even on a global scale.

Preservational studies on dinosaur prints, including laboratory simulations, are currently being investigated by two PhD research students (co-supervision with Dr Martin Whyte).

Invertebrate trace fossils

Previous work in this field involved studies on the Ordovician trace fossil assemblages from Portugal. More recently, following on from our dinosaur track work on the east coast of Yorkshire (see above), interest has been rejuvenated by the rich invertebrate trace fossil assemblages from these non-marine rocks of Middle Jurassic age.

Recent work has concentrated on new discoveries of xiphosurid arthropod (king crab) traces that have yielded information as to the life style and behaviour of the maker.

It is hoped that this study will further our understanding of the marine influence during the deposition of these sediments. Work is still continuing on Ordovician traces from Gondwana.

Trilobite biostratigraphy in Portugal

International collaboration is also ongoing with work into Portuguese Ordovician biostratigraphy and palaeogeography.

Two papers have recently been published on these topics and further work (with Dr T.P. Young of Cardiff University) will result in a fuller understanding of Ordovician environments around the polar landmass of Gondwana and the influence of sea level changes on the distribution of marine benthos.

Work in Portugal has been supported with a British Council grant.

Ordovician of Eastern Ireland

Research also continues to be directed mainly towards Lower Palaeozoic biostratigraphy and palaeogeographic reconstructions.

Emphasis is on studying the taxonomy and distribution of the trilobite faunas which are sensitive signatures for the recognition of discrete geotectonic plates and their juxtaposition in relation to the Iapetus (Proto-Atlantic) suture zone.

Ireland is a critical area for interpreting the historical spatial relationships of now adjacent suspect terranes along the Iapetus suture; the equivalent zone in England being unexposed. Collaboration with this project is with Dr A Owen, University of Glasgow.

Key publications

Mike Romano has nearly 60 publications in national and international journals. Recent publications include:

  • Whyte, M. A. and Romano, M. (2001). Probable stegosaurian dinosaur tracks from the Saltwick Formation (Middle Jurassic) of Yorkshire, England. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 112, 45-54.
  • Cooper, A.H., Romano, M., Dorning, K.J. and Evans, K.M. (2000). The Silurian to Devonian sequence in the Dornes area, central Portugal. In: Oliveira, J.T., Pereira, Z., Picarra, J.M. and Meireles, C. Silurian to Carboniferous successions of the SW Iberian Massif (Portugal). VIII International Meeting of IGCP Project 421 (IUGS/UNESCO), North Gondwana Mid-Palaeozoic biodynamics, Evora, Portugal, 153 pp. IGM, Geological and Mining Institute, Portugal.
  • Romano, M. and Webb, J. (2000). A new record of Colpocoryphe (Trilobita) from the Skiddaw Group of the Cross Fell inlier, northern England. Geological Journal, 35, 111-114.
  • Romano, M., Whyte, M.A. and Manning, P.L. (1999). New sauropod dinosaur prints from the Saltwick Formation (Middle Jurassic) of the Cleveland Basin, Yorkshire. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, 52, 361-369.
  • Tauber, E., Romano, M. and Reis, J. (1997). The trilobite Actinopeltis (Valongia) wattisoni Curtis, 1961 from the Valongo Formation (Ordovician) of north Portugal. Comunicaçöes do Instituto Geológico e Mineiro, 83, 3-16.
  • Blackburn, K., Ineson, P.R. and Romano, M. (1997). Dry Rigg quarry, Horton-in-Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom. Transactions of the Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (Section B; Applied Earth Science), 16-22.
  • Whyte, M.A. and Romano, M. (1995). Probable sauropod prints from the middle Jurassic of Yorkshire, England. Gaia, 10, 15-26.