Ms Bea Jackson

Bea (Julia) is researching Devonian plant fossils for a Masters through research.

Bea (Julia) is researching Devonian plant fossils for a Masters through research, contributing to the TERRAFORM research project. She graduated with a B.A. (Hons) in Botany from Trinity College Dublin in 2021 and was elected to Trinity scholarship in 2019. She became interested in palaeobotany and plant-atmosphere interactions during her undergraduate degree. She is currently using fossil plant material to reconstruct atmospheric CO2 concentrations for the Devonian. Her project also aims to use Late Devonian Archaeopteris fossils from Kiltorcan, Co. Kilkenny housed within the NMI and TCD to study some of the oldest forests.

About my project:

The Devonian period (419.2 – 358.9 Mya) was a time of great evolutionary transition and diversification in plant history, with the appearance of several novel traits and the emergence of more complex ecosystems. These significant developments in plant evolution occurred against a backdrop of considerable changes in atmospheric CO2 concentrations. However, there are substantial uncertainties in the CO2 record for the Devonian.

This project aims to use plant fossil traits to improve understanding of palaeoatmospheric CO2 concentrations for this period using well-preserved fossils that span from the Emsian to Famennian age. Stomatal anatomy measurements and carbon isotope composition will be input into a mechanistic model of leaf gas exchange to predict palaeo-CO2 levels. It will contribute toward understanding the atmospheric CO2 record for a crucial period in plant evolution.