With few palynologists now directly employed by universities and geological surveys, a much greater demand has been put on industry to support future biostratigraphic research necessary for the continued development of this science. As such MGPalaeo has invested heavily of its time in this area.

Shubklidinium evolution

Australia has a long and proud history in palynological research, stretching back to the infancy of the science and the pioneering work of Isabel Cookson and Basil Balme in the 1950s and ‘60s. Their work and mentorship inspired the next generation of palynologists, such as Robin Helby, Roger Morgan, Alan Partridge, Peter Price, Geoffrey Playford, and Mary Dettmann, who firmly established palynology as a critical petroleum exploration tool in the 1970s and 1980s. Sustained industry and government support continued this trend, and led by John Backhouse, Clinton Foster, Jeff Goodall, Neil Marshall, Robyn Purcell, and Geoff Wood, palynology as a key exploration tool continued to flourish through the 1990s and 2000s. This growth of industry palynology was of particular importance to developing our understanding of the stratigraphy, tectonic history and depositional environments of the North West Shelf, the Gippsland-Otway-Bass basins of the southeast, the coal bearing Permo-Triassic basins of onshore eastern Australia, and the Perth Basin.

It is critical that Australia retains a solid academic base to support the training of future palynologists and to provide further innovative palynological solutions to geological problems. As such, MGPalaeo was delighted that the University of Western Australia re-affirmed its commitment to palynology with the appointment of Daniel Peyrot to the Woodside & Chevron Professorship in Palynology in 2015. MGPalaeo has offered collaborative and ‘in-kind’ support to Dr Peyrot and is already co-supervising one PhD student looking at the palynology and sequence stratigraphy of the Late Jurassic of the Bonaparte Basin, and working on a short paper detailing as yet undescribed Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous marker taxa of the North West Shelf.

Palynological projects that MGPalaeo is leading or actively collaborating with include:

  1. Utilising CA-IDTIMS dated volcanic tuff beds to tie palynological zones to the latest geologic timescales [led by Geoscience Australia but involving partners at Boise State University, the geological surveys of New South Wales and Western Australia, and Santos Ltd]. Read the extended abstract here.
  2. A review of the palynology of the Late Triassic, with particular emphasis on describing the many new dinoflagellate cyst taxa that help recognise the marine flooding surfaces of the Mungaroo Formation [led by MGPalaeo with collaboration from the British Geological Survey].
  3. High resolution study of the depositional environments across the key Hb4 marine flooding surface of the Mungaroo Formation. Correlating fine-scale sedimentology, ichnology and palynology [led by MGPalaeo].
Yodel-2 core – pebble lag marking the base of the major Hb4 marine transgression recognised across the Northern Carnarvon Basin.
  • Co-supervision of two PhD students at the Australian School of Petroleum, The University of Adelaide – looking at the palynology and sequence stratigraphy of the Barrow Delta, Northern Carnarvon Basin, and the sedimentology and palynology of the Jurassic Walloon Coal Measures of the Surat Basin, respectively.
  • Supervision of a PhD student at The University of Wollongong – researching the palynology, sedimentology and sequence stratigraphy of the Dingodinium swanense Zone in the Northern Carnarvon Basin [led by MGPalaeo with support from The University of Wollongong].
  • Tying ICP-MS dating of detrital zircons in the Eromanga and Carpentaria basins to the relative zonal ages and depositional data from palynological analyses [led by Dept. of Earth and Oceans, James Cook University]
  • Biostratigraphy of the Beetaloo Sub-basin – the potential for palynological subdivision of Precambrian and Cambrian of the MacArthur Basin, thus aiding the search for unconventional hydrocarbon deposits in the region [Geological Survey of Western Australia and Chemostrat Ltd]
  • Investigating the geochemical signatures across the Permo-Triassic boundary sections in the Perth Basin, and the toxicity of Late Permian oceans and anoxic Early Triassic marine settings in this basin [led by The University of Tasmania with age and depositional environmental data provided by MGPalaeo].
  • New stratigraphic insights to the Barremian-Aptian transgression, provided by uranium exploration in the Carpentaria Basin [led by Areva Resources Australia and the Dept. of Earth Sciences, The University of Adelaide].
  • Review of the ages of the Jurassic and Cretaceous dinoflagellate cyst zones of the North West Shelf [led by the British Geological Survey and The University ofWestern Australia].
  • Revised stratigraphy of the Gallilee Basin – utilising CA-IDTIMS dating, comprehensive geophysical and sedimentological reviews and new and revised palynological data [led by the Dept. of Earth Sciences, The University of Queensland].
  • Free and reduced-cost processing has also been provided for students at Deakin University, James Cook University, Monash University, The University of Adelaide and The University of Queensland.
  • If you have a research project that we can help with, or if you wish to inquire about what research packages we offer, please don’t hesitate to contact us.