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27/03/2012

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 27 March 2012

Adam Walton meets the influential paleobotanist Prof Dianne Edwards, whose work on fossils in Wales and China has revealed how early plants colonised the planet.

  • Prof. Dianne Edwards (Repeat)

    This week there's another chance to hear Adam's conversation with a botanist whose research has significantly advanced our understanding of how, nearly half a billion years ago, plants first made the move from sea to land and colonised planet Earth, ultimately paving the way for all other life to follow.

     

    Swansea-born Dianne Edwards is a paleobotanist and Research Professor at Cardiff University's School of Earth and Ocean Sciences. Her research has taken her all over the world, although many of the fossils which have played a key part in her discoveries are actually right here in Wales. As well as her work on the structure of early land plants she's also found firm evidence of wildfires some 420 million years ago and even discovered the earliest known animal droppings from around the same time.

     

    Dianne is a Fellow of the Royal Society and she's recently been elected President of the Linnean Society, the world's oldest scientific organisation devoted to the study of biology. She's a founding trustee of the National Botanic Garden of Wales and, in recognition of her work there, she was awarded the CBE.

     

    In this week's programme Adam meets Dianne in her laboratory at Cardiff University to discuss the childhood inspirations which ignited her interest in botany, the difficulties of fieldwork in remote areas of China and Patagonia and the scientific significance of fossilised millipede poo!

     

    Links

    Wikipedia: Dianne Edwards

    BBC News: Fossils Reveal Oldest Wildfire

    National Botanic Garden of Wales

    Linnean Society

    International Organisation of Paleobotany

Broadcasts

Adam Walton

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