the Torridonian microbiota

dolphins en route to the Isle of Rhum

dolphins en route to the Isle of Rhum

Torridonian Sequence - Northwest Scottish Highlands

Charles Wellman (Sheffield University) and I have been collecting organic-rich shales and phosphatic nodules from Torridonian rocks since 2008. Most of our work is focused on documenting microfossils extracted via acid maceration (palynology) but in 2011 we teamed up with the Martin Brasier's group at Oxford University to summarize the micropaleontology of the entire sequence in, The Earth's Earliest non-marine Eukaryotes. which was published inNature 10.1038/nature09943.

Systematics & Taxonomy

A primary goal is to provide a comprehensive systematic monograph of the Torridonian microbiota, based on field collections made between 2008 to 2012. We have built a provisional taxonomic database of over 40 species of protists and cyanobacteria, including a new genus of cyanobacteria, Eohalothece Strother & Wellman 2016 10.1111/pala.12212. Pictured here is a lobate thallus that is the largest organism found in the assemblage, from 300 to 900 ┬Ám in width.

Lobate thalloid. Diabaig section @ Badachro.