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expire: The "Lost Worlds" of Polar Forests and Dinosaurs - then and when...

Professor Bob Spicer
Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space and Astronomical Research,
The Open University,
Milton Keynes,

Throughout the Late Cretaceous (99.6 to 65 million years ago) abundant fossil remains distributed around margins of the present day Arctic Ocean point to a ‘lost world’ where dinosaurs roamed through lush forests growing where today only sea ice and frozen polar deserts exist. The combination of prolonged winter darkness and relative warmth is absent from today’s world.

Despite almost half the year being dark these forests sequestered vast amounts of carbon from the Late Cretaceous high CO2 atmosphere and gave rise to huge coal deposits.

This is the story of how these extinct polar ecosystems have been investigated. It is a story of how ancient temperatures, rainfall and even cloudiness can be ‘decoded’ from leaf fossils. It is also about how plant communities functioned and changed through space and time, and how they might have to be re-engineered in a future where controlling greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere will be a global priority.

Date Wednesday, 27 February 2013
Time 5:30pm - 6:30pm
Audience Public
Event Category Sciences
Event Type Lecture
LocationSt David St lecture theatre
Contact NameJenny Leyden
Contact Phone03 479 7534

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