Palynological Applications to Sedimentology- BSRG workshop 2019


The 2019 BSRG workshop ‘Palynological Applications to Sedimentology’ was held at the University of Aberdeen from the 17th-19th February. The trip was led by palynology experts Dr. Adam McArthur (University of Leeds), Dr. Alena Ebinghaus (University of Aberdeen) and Dr. Manuel Vieira (Shell), organised by Dan Tek from the University of Leeds, and sponsored by the International Association of Sedimentologists (IAS) and Shell. Twenty researchers from institutions across Europe flocked to the Granite City for an introduction to the weird and wonderful world of palynology.


Our group outside the Meston Building, University of Aberdeen, at the end of the workshop.


After a day of travel and an evening of informal introductions, the workshop began in the morning of the 18th February with a scenic walk, guided by Adam, from the accommodation to the University. The workshop kicked off with an introductory presentation by Adam McArthur, defining palynology, the distinction between palynology and palynofacies, and the applications of both techniques to a variety of problems in almost all sedimentary environments. We then headed to the sample preparation laboratory for an overview of the sample preparation process. Due to the time-consuming and dangerous nature of palynology sample preperation using various acids, best practice was covered with the help of props, and a strong emphasis was placed on health and safety.


Adam and Ilse, the palynology lab technician, explaining the dangers of hydrofluoric acid.


The trip to the lab was followed by a core workshop led by Alena Ebinghaus on core from the Boltysh Crater lake, Ukraine, from which palynological studies have been used to uncover the mysteries of its post-K/Pg boundary fil. The participants were given some time to examine the core and note any interesting features before Alena took the group through the interpretation and explained the palynological work that has been undertaken on the core.


Alena discussing the features in this fascinating core with the group.


After lunch it was time to get hands-on with the critters! Microscopes were set up and the eager trainee palynologists spent some time exploring the microscopic world on the slides. Palynological slides were provided first by Alena, who has used this palynology data to investigate terrestrial lava-sediment interactions on drainage systems in Washington State, USA. The participants were challenged to identify and sketch the types of pollen and spores. Next, Adam provided three slides to each group from different deep-water sub-environments from outcrops in Baja California, Mexico, to showcase the value of palynofacies in palaeoenvironmental reconstructions.


Participants trying to identify the various types of pollen, spores and other organic matter under the microscope.


To top this busy day of learning, the participants were then invited to discuss their work specifically with the course leaders on a one-to-one basis. These conversations carried on as the group headed into Aberdeen for a meal and to the pubs to sample some of Scotland’s finest whiskeys.


Our group enjoying a meal at Manuel’s favourite local eateries.


The second day, run by Manuel Vieira, was industry focused and aimed to exemplify the key application of palynology to wider biostratigraphy, and to subsurface interpretation. Manuel first gave an introduction to biostratigraphy, using examples to demonstrate the drastic changes that can be made to subsurface well correlation based on biostratigraphy and palynology. We were then given an industry-style exercise whereby two logs were correlated using biostratigraphic and palynological markers, uncovering a drastic change in reservoir properties. After a wrap up session and some feedback it was time to say goodbye to our fellow course mates and leaders.


(left) Participants trying to identify their key horizons from a biostratigraphic chart; (right) a completed biostratigraphic chart being checked by Manuel and Alena.

A massive thanks to our course leaders Adam McArthur, Alena Ebinghaus and Manuel Vieira for providing such an insightful, engaging and fun workshop, and to all who attended the workshop!



BSRG core workshop 2017: From Core to Depositional Environment in Deep-Marine Systems (8th-10th September 2017)


The second workshop of our new postgraduate team was a core workshop on deep-marine systems with a focus on facies distribution and reservoir quality. The trip was lead by the Manchester based research group SedResQ around Ian Kane and hosted by our partners from the British Geological Survey (BGS) in the Keyworth core store. The course was very popular and we were happy to invited 24 researchers in different stages of their career from all over the UK as well as Denmark, Italy and Poland.



Recap session with Ian Kane


After an introduction into deep-marine sedimentary processes and their related deposits we started hands on with the core description. The attendees worked in small groups on classic examples from the Early Cretaceous Scapa Sandstone Member and the Late Jurassic Brae Formation to get familiar with different bed types. In the afternoon session, we focussed on the larger depositional environment of each cored section and its potential as hydrocarbon reservoir. This was well demonstrated with the correlation of petropysical data and the described cored intervals. In the evening, we all went out for a good curry and explored the pubs in Nottingham. The second day started with a short recap of the discussed depositional systems and was followed by another classic core from the Magnus field with a little exercise lobe deposits. The rest of the Sunday was reserved for open questions and discussion before everyone started on their sometimes long journey home.



Connecting reservoir quality with facies variations.


We would particularly thank our lecturer team, Dr. Ian Kane, Daniel Bell and Ross Ferguson as well as our partners from the BGS, Oliver Wakefield, Johanna Thomson and Steve Thorpe that helped us to put together a great weekend.

Hopefully see you at the next event!

Arne Fuhrmann (Postgraduate representative of the BSRG)



Discussion about the depositional environment over the core with Dan and Ross

Meet your committee -Part 3


Welcome to the third part of “Meet your committee”. This time learn a little bit more about Arne Fuhrmann, one of our postgraduate representatives, and James Churchill, one of our industry representatives.

Arne Fuhrmann – Postgraduate representative


Hi, I am Arne, PhD student from the University of Manchester. My project deals with the allogenic and autogenic forcing mechanisms on deep-marine slope channel deposits and their influence on reservoir quality. To link these large scale driving mechanisms to bed and grain scale, I am using an integrated approach that covers seismic, well logs and core data from offshore Tanzania. Fortunately, my project also involves exciting fieldwork in Chile and France and allows me to travel a lot. In my free time I love being in the outdoors to hike, climb or ride my bike!

Since when have you been a member of the BSRG?

I joined the BSRG before I moved to England in last autumn to stay up to date on news in the sedimentological research community. Although, I am feeling like being a full member after my first Postgraduate field trip to Northumberland and the BSRG AGM in Cambridge last December.

What is your position in the committee?

I am a Postgraduate Representative. We are a working in a team of four to organize annual workshops and field trips for the PhD students in our research community. This year we started with a very exciting modeling workshop at the University of Bangor dealing with subaqueous sediment gravity flows, which was a great success. We already have a lot of interesting events in planning that cover different disciplines in sedimentology. So stay updated!

Why did you decide to volunteer for it?

I made the decision to volunteer for the community after the last field postgraduate fieldtrip in Northumberland. I think it is a very nice thing to bring different researcher together and help them to network and exchange their views. It also allows me to develop my own ideas for workshops and field trips and work together with interesting people to make them happen. So far it has been great fun!

What do you like specifically about the BSRG?

The one thing I like most about the BSRG is how inclusive it is to everyone that is interested in sedimentology and how easily it connects you to like-minded people. All the meetings and field trips are very informal, which gives you an excellent basis to get new professional connection and to make friends.

Get in contact with Arne via


James Churchill- Industry representative


Hi, I’m James and a 17-year industry veteran after studying at the Universities of Liverpool and Aberdeen.  After university I worked as a sedimentologist for over 14 years before trying something different as a Production Geologist, first at BG Group and now Shell.  So, although I no longer get to the core store as much I used to sedimentology and reservoir quality remain my “work hobbies”.

Since when have you been a member of the BSRG?

My first BSRG meeting was in 1997 when it was held at the University of Liverpool, so I guess I have been a member since then.  If I’m honest I can’t remember much about the meeting other than dancing the night away with what I would soon realise were “eminent academics”!  Since then I’ve been to various meetings and always found them relevant, thought provoking and a great way to stay in touch with sedimentological research.

What is your position in the committee?

Over the years I’ve worked with various students and academics to help steer research in an applied direction and being part of the BSRG committee is an extension of that.  Working in industry means you look at research through a slightly different lens so being part of the committee brings that perspective to the meetings and awards.

Why did you decide to volunteer for it?

Why not?  Recently I have regularly been to the BSRG annual meetings (although I did miss the last one) and being part of the committee is a great way to be more involved and steer the group.

What do you like specifically about the BSRG?

The BSRG is a really friendly and accessible society, and as sedimentology remains strong in the UK and Europe the annual meetings are an excellent way to bring myself up-to-speed with sedimentological research that I might have missed throughout the year.  It also means I get to know students that might be colleagues or collaborators in the future.  Oh, and the fieldtrips are great!

Get in contact with James via

To learn more about the committee visit:

Meet your committee -Part 2


Welcome to the second part of “Meet your committee”. This time learn a little bit more about Megan Baker and Kevin Boulesteix, two of your postgraduate representatives.


Megan Baker – Postgraduate representative


megan 1

Megan in the field

Hello, I’m Megan, I am a second year PhD student studying the effect of clay type on the properties of cohesive sediment gravity flows at Bangor University, UK. My PhD has so far focussed on experimental sedimentology, producing muddy flows in the lab and measuring their velocities, run-out distances and deposit geometries. My PhD is also introducing me to some field geology as well; I have completed fieldwork studying the superb Aberystwyth Grits. In my free time I like to enjoy the beautiful scenery of North Wales by mountain walking, sailing and running.

Since when have you been a member of the BSRG?

The first BSRG meeting I attended was at Nottingham in 2014, hosted by the BGS. The year after, I plucked up the courage to give my first ever presentation at the AGM in Keele – I was so happy to be presenting on the first day!

What is your position in the committee?

I am one of the postgraduate representatives for BSRG. With the other postgrad reps I help organise workshops and fieldtrips for our postgraduate community.

megan 2

Megan demonstrating a turbidity current to visitors in the Hydro lab at the University Bangor

Why did you decide to volunteer for it?

I really enjoyed the BSRG postgraduate fieldtrip to Northumberland and decided it would be fun to help organise more exciting trips. These trips are always such a great way to meet other postgraduate students, and by helping to organise them you always get to go along!

What do you like specifically about the BSRG?

I think the best part of BSRG is how friendly it is, during meetings everyone is very approachable and I think that helps make these meetings really valuable if you are a PhD student, as you can easily talk to experienced sedimentologists. I also like the postgraduate fieldtrips, these are great opportunities to experience the geology of the UK and even further afield.

Get in contact with Megan via


Kevin Boulesteix- Prostgraduate representative


Kevin on the top of the Piton des Neiges, La Reunion

Hello, I’m Kévin, a PhD student from the University of Manchester working across the Strat Group and the Mudrock Research Group. I’m a 2 meters tall French which makes it easy to use me as a natural scale or Jacob’s Staff. I had a first experience in the UK in 2014 for a research internship in the Fluvial Research Group at the University of Leeds followed by a MSc at Imperial College. I began my PhD research in autumn 2016. I focus on deepwater mudrock depositional processes and sequence stratigraphy during the Middle to Late Permian icehouse to greenhouse transition. To do so, I am using cores and outcrop data from the Karoo Basin in South Africa. When I am not dealing with rocks, I like hiking in different parts of the world, watching and playing football, and enjoying food (is it surprising for a French?).

Since when have you been a member of the BSRG?

As a fresh PhD student, I discovered the society in 2016 during a BSRG field trip in Northumberland. A month after this, I participated to my first BSRG AGM in Cambridge. Such a good start as a new BSRG members!

What is your position in the committee?

I am part of the Postgraduate Representatives team. Our primary role is to be a point of contact for the postgraduate community in the UK and in Europe. We also organize different activities such as field trips and workshops. Previous workshops include ichnology, seismic interpretation and core interpretation among others. We are trying to make everyone interested!  We already have different ideas for this year. So stay tuned!


Kevin points out the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary at Zumaia, Spain

Why did you decide to volunteer for it?

I decided to be involved in the society after the BSRG Northumberland field trip. I realized how important is the BSRG to gather people from different universities and field of interests. I think that having a good network and exchanging ideas is one of the key of success as a postgraduate student and the different BSRG activities are a very good opportunity to do so.

What do you like specifically about the BSRG?

I really like the informal and friendly atmosphere in the BSRG in either the conference or the activities. We get to know each other very easily due to the relatively small number of participants and the several occasions to be together. It is also very easy to find help through the email list or the different social medias where the society is present.

Get in contact with Kevin via

To learn more about the committee visit:

Meet your committee -Part 1


Welcome to the BSRG blog! In the coming weeks the blog will feature a series about the committee of the group. This time get to know Marco Patacci, our webmaster, and Yvonne Spychala, our Outreach Officer.


Marco Patacci – Webmaster

On the top of VieuxChaillol, France

Marco on the top of Vieux Chaillol, France

Hello, I’m Marco, a research fellow and co-investigator of the Turbidites Research Group at the University of Leeds. You might recognise me from my Italian accent and current full beard. I am mainly a field geologists, although I have done quite a bit of experimental work in flume tanks during my PhD. The newest bit of research I am working on is looking at mudstone caps of turbidites: where is the mud coming from, what is its composition? When I am not travelling, in my free time I like orienteering, skiing and relaxing on the beach, and I have a keen interest in macroeconomics.

Since when have you been a member of the BSRG?

My first BSRG conference was at the University of Durham in 2005 – that is when I met the BSRG! The year after in Aberdeen was my first BSRG presentation but I must confess I don’t remember much of the talk, I was probably too concentrated on not saying anything wrong…

What is your position in the committee?

I look after the website and the mailing list – not the most exciting job some might think, but there are a few nice perks, like the fact that I am often the first point of contact of people wanting to “talk” to the BSRG and also the fact that I curate the history of the BSRG: I like that part – being able to preserve the good memories!

mearuring mudcaps with my new Jacob's staff, Castagnola, Italy

Marco measuring mudcaps with his new Jacob’s staff, Castagnola, Italy

Why did you decide to volunteer for the society?

BSRG was a very welcoming society when I started attending and a couple of years later, when I was still a PhD student, a new webmaster was needed. I had some experience with website development and maintenance, so I thought it would be a good idea to help, and over the years I enjoyed being part of the committee greatly and I am glad I made that choice.

What do you like specifically about the BSRG?

Firstly, BSRG meetings, as they are a good mixture of postgraduate students and experienced sedimentologists and at the same time they remain quite small and easy to get by. In addition, postgraduate fieldtrips, as they have been a great source of experiences and ideas and an opportunity to meet other postgraduate students and post-docs. Finally, because meeting and fieldtrips cost relatively little, there is never a problem in finding some funding to go: how do you beat that?

Get in contact with Marco via


Yvonne Spychala -Outreach Officer


Yvonne in the field at Chos Malal, Argentina

Hi, I’m Yvonne a postdoctoral research assistant at the Comparative Sedimentology Group at the University of Utrecht. Most people might associate me with the University of Leeds where I was part of the Stratgroup going work in South Africa. I’m a field geologist that has recently started to also work on experimental sedimentology at the Eurotank. My current research focusses on dimensions of lobe deposits and the connection of flume experiments and outcrop studies. My favourite pastime is travelling – choose the right job to do a lot of that. When I’m not jetting around the world, I love to go on long hikes, kayaking and ,when the occassion arises, surfing.

Since when have you been a member of the BSRG?

The first BSRG I attended was 2012 at University College Dublin. It’s also where I gave my first presentation ever.

What is your position in the committee?

I’m the Outreach Officer. It is a new position that has been created at the AGM in 2016. Part of the role is to maintain the social accounts of the society: Facebook, Twitter…and recently I found out we even have a Linkedin group. I’m also the person people can get in contact with, when they have an idea of a joint event with the BSRG.


Yvonne on top of a magmatic intrusion at Bruchhauser Steine, Germany

Why did you decide to volunteer for it?

I have managed the Twitter account of the society for a while, before there was an official position. It’s quite funny, because when I started out I was a newbie regarding Twitter, but since no one else volunteered when Chris asked if anyone was willing to do it, I just went for it. I realised quickly that social media is a good way to inform members and the broader research community of what BSRG is all about. Conferences, events, grants, research- just to name some things. When the position of Outreach Officer was advertised I immediately thought that I could do more for the society if I had this official position.

What do you like specifically about the BSRG?

I really like the informal atmosphere at BSRG meetings. It’s easy to get into a discussion with the attendees, students as well as experienced sedimentologists. In addition, the BSRG offers postgraduate field trips and workshops – something I have not seen in this framework from any other society. These events bring PhD students (and post-docs) together and help them to connect with each other.

Get in contact with Yvonne via

To learn more about the committee visit: