News from the Sector – May

As you can imagine, due to the weird world in which we are now (temporarily) living, the original list of events and exhibitions that we would update each month has been impacted by a great many cancellations and closures. However, parts of the sector are bouncing back as best they can and some fantastic online events are being held in the interim, whilst we try to navigate our collective way through lockdowns and pandemic dramas.

Much like the rest of you no doubt, we hope normal service will resume very soon, but in the meantime- GCG sends its best wishes to you all.  Our thoughts are with everyone, and particularly those especially struggling at this time. Stay safe, stay connected, and look after your physical and mental well being as best you can.Images in banner © Horniman Museum and Gardens

News from the Sector is a monthly blog series featuring the latest geological and palaeontological news, jobs, exhibitions, and conferences. If you or your institution has anything they would like to add, or advertise on GCG’s News from the Sector, please get in touch at

Conferences and Workshops

There is still time to sign up for the free online webinar (seminar on the web- just in case you’re wondering…) Don’t walk on the rocks! hosted by Dr Jack Matthews at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. This webinar is TONIGHT (May 6th 2020) AT 7PM. The talk ‘…will explore the increasingly important field of geoconservation – the practice of protecting important geological features. A site may be selected because of its educational, scientific, historic, cultural, or aesthetic importance. But once we’ve identified them, how can we best conserve our planets geological treasures? In this talk Dr Matthews will give an overview of the topic, before sharing some of his recent research which is shaping conservation policy at the Mistaken Point UNESCO World Heritage Site in Newfoundland – home to the oldest animal fossils in the world, some of which are showcased in our First Animals exhibition.’

The Second Virtual Palaeontological Congress is being held right now, from the 1st-15th May 2020. It was designed from the outset to be an online event, so should be free of the embryonic-software-knowledge many of the rest of us are facing! The sessions are: Evolution and palaeobiodiversity in Neogene and Quaternary Islands; Fossil insects, their record and evolution; Palynology as a tool in stratigraphic and palaeoenvironmental research: advances and perspectives; PalaeoVC Early career session; and Palaeontology in education and society. Four other more general sessions are: Palaeozoic, Mesozoic, Cenozoic, and General Palaeontology. Keynote presentations are:

  • Identifying the drivers of macroevolution – methods and pitfalls by Dr. Michael J. Benton
  • Reconstructing the biology of Palaeozoic trees by Dr. Anne-Laure Decombeix
  • Constraining the Jurassic – Cretaceous terrestrial biota: new data from Utah helps close the gap across the atlantic basin by Dr. James Kirkland and Dr. Don DeBlieux
  • The conquest of land by arthropods by Dr. Jesús Lozano-Fernández

The Centre for Geoscience and Society is hosting a webinar called: Promoting Diversity in the Geosciences: Meet the IF/THEN STEM Ambassadors, taking place 14th May 2020 at 4pm Eastern Standard Time, which Google tells us is 9pm in the UK. The registration deadline is Tuesday 12th May.

The British Geological Survey is holding a virtual conference 11th to the 15th May 2020 on ‘Responsible Raw Materials; Enabling Responsible Extraction and Use of Natural Resources‘. Registration for the conference is free.

The 4th annual Digital Data in Biodiversity Research Conference has gone digital! It will be hosted online from the 1st to the 3rd June 2020. This year’s theme is ‘Harnessing the Data Revolution and Amplifying Collections with Biodiversity Information Science’. The deadline for registration is the 22nd May 2020, and can be done through EventBrite.

The Progressive Palaeontology conference will run from the 11th to the 13th June 2020 online. More information on how to attend can be found on the PalAss website. The deadline for registration is 3rd June 2020.

The following events are currently still scheduled to take place. However, please check the websites of the specific events for the most up to date information.

The Symposium on Palaeontological Preparation and Conservation (SPPC) will take place on 16th September 2020 at the Natural History Museum London. The SPPC is intended as a forum in which professionals, amateurs and researchers alike, interested in all aspects of preparation, conservation, model-making and related subjects, can participate. Recent years have seen a drop in attendance at SPPC and the future of this symposium has subsequently come into question. SPPC 2020 will be pivotal in determining the future existence of the symposium, and we hope that you will support the conference this year if you would like to see it continue.

As stated, the SPPC (above) will be immediately followed by the Symposium on Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy (SVPCA), due to run from the 16th to the 19th September 2020. A loose programme is already available on the website, including the location of the field trip which will take place at Crystal Palace Park, to be led by the Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs.

The Marine Reptile Conference will take place at the Etches Collection: Museum of Jurassic Marine Life in Kimmeridge, Dorset from the 29th September to the 1st October 2020. ‘The primary focus will be on the fossil record, covering both marine reptiles and other organisms which formed part of their ecosystems, however a session will also take place on modern marine reptiles, and abstracts from researchers studying all aspects of this field are welcomed. Please note- In the event that by the end of July social distancing still looks like it will prevent the conference from taking place at the Etches Collection, the conference will still go ahead on these dates, but in a virtual format.’

The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology will take place in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. The meeting will take place at the Duke Energy Convention Center from the 14th to the 17th October 2020. The abstract deadline is the 14th May 2020. Please note this deadline has been extended.

© Horniman Museum and Gardens

Send us Your Stuff!

If you would like to contribute content to our monthly blog series News from the Sector (and get some free advertising!), please get in touch with Emma Nicholls, email

© Horniman Museum and Gardens

News from the Sector is compiled by Dr Emma Nicholls, Deputy Keeper of Natural History at the Horniman Museum and Gardens.

Images throughout © Horniman Museum and Gardens

Please note, events listed above are not necessarily endorsed by the Geological Curators’ Group. If you have any concerns about a listing, please get in touch with Blog Editor, Emma Nicholls, at

© Horniman Museum and Gardens

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