Tag: Leyla J. Seyfullah

Leyla is interested in plant evolution and biology through time. She is both a botanist (Bachelor of Science in plant science from the University of Edinburgh, UK) and a palaeobotanist (PhD from the University of Birmingham, UK), with particular interest in the evolutionary history and biology of gymnosperms such as the conifers. She also has a research master’s degree (awarded by Silsoe College at Cranfield University, UK) on harvesting tea in Africa — mostly because she thought it sounded like fun and would have better weather than research in Scotland, both of which turned out to be true. Subsequently, she worked as a scientist at the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, before plunging into her PhD.

Leyla became a Dorothea Schlözer postdoctoral fellow at the Georg-August University of Göttingen in Germany, and now she is a researcher there. Her current focus is on trying to understand how and why plants produce resin and how this relates to the distribution of amber deposits.

Leyla rather enjoys being out of the office, whether in the lab dissolving rocks and other things, or better yet in the field, where she can see some of the world’s most exceptional fossils, interesting geological features and rarest plants.

Contact Details:

Dr. Leyla J. Seyfullah, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Courant Research Centre Geobiology, Göttingen, Germany.

Fossil focus: Stuck in time — life trapped in amber

Fossil Focus
by Leyla J. Seyfullah*1 and Alexander R. Schmidt1 Introduction: Some of the most extraordinary fossils ever discovered, from insects to plants and feathers, are preserved in amber. Amber is the term for various solidified forms of plant resin that occur in the rock record. It can be found in many different colours, shapes and sizes (Fig. 1). Until the past decade, it was thought to be very rare, but new discoveries have shown that it is more abundant in terms of both geographical coverage and presence through time than was previously thought. Although many amber deposits do not contain fossils, some do. Fossils (also known as inclusions) in amber often have exquisite, three-dimensional preservation, retaining fine surface and structural details, and are frequently preserved at lea...

Life as a Palaeontologist: Going solo and making a living out of working with fossils

Life as a Palaeontologist
by Leyla Seyfullah*1 Introduction: In an article on Palaeontology [online] last year, Sarah King explained how undertaking a PhD can help you to launch an academic career in palaeontology. Obtaining that PhD can be a frustrating yet ultimately rewarding experience, but it is only the beginning for many palaeontologists — and it is worth pointing out that a PhD isn't a prerequisite for certain jobs in palaeontology (for example, dealing fossils). Here, I hope to give you a sense of what might happen after the PhD, and how this could lead to a wide range of new challenges and take you down previously unimagined paths. You didn't think that getting a job in palaeontology would be straightforward, did you?! As a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) student, you are dedicated to working on your doct...

Fossil Focus: Using Plant Fossils to Understand Past Climates and Environments

Fossil Focus
by Leyla J. Seyfullah*1 Introduction: Fossils provide us with our only direct record of prehistoric life. Studying them can help us to reconstruct the anatomy, behaviour and evolution of long-extinct organisms. Perhaps less obviously, fossils are also among the most important sources of information for scientists attempting to learn about past (palaeo) climates and environments — a major focus of research in Earth and environmental sciences, motivated in part by concerns over future climate change. Fossil plants (Fig. 1), in particular, can be useful for decoding past climate signals. Most plants are terrestrial (meaning that they live on land). They are generally incapable of moving around, and so are totally dependent on the atmosphere and the soil or rock (substrate) on which they gro...