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The Micropalaeontological Society

The Micropalaeontological Society (TMS) is a scientific society based in the UK but with international membership, it was founded in 1970 for the promotion of the study of micropalaeontology (the study of microscopic fossils).

The Micropalaeontological Society
Logo of The Micropalaeontological Society.jpg
Legal statusRegistered charity
PurposePromotion and support of Micropalaeontology
  • UK
c. 500 members
John Gregory
PublicationJournal of Micropalaeontology
WebsiteThe Micropalaeontological Society

TMS is established as a UK registered charity, number 284013, with the objective "to advance the education of the public in the study of Micropalaeontology" and is operated exclusively for scientific and educational purposes. It publishes a journal, special publications and newsletter, organises meetings and makes various awards and grants.

The society is organised into six specialist groups, namely Foraminifera, Microvertebrates, Calcareous Nannofossils, Ostracods, Palynology and Silicofossils. The groups hold separate meetings, including field trips, throughout the year; these were traditionally meetings for UK-based members but have become more international in their scope. For example, the TMS joint Foraminifera and Nannofossil Spring Meeting have taken place in Denmark, France, Germany, Poland and, The Netherlands.[1] The Society holds an annual conference during November each year. The most recent conferences have been held at the British Geological Survey (2012), The Natural History Museum, London (2013), the 2014 meeting will be held at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.



The Micropalaeontological Society was founded in 1970 as the British Micropalaeontological Group (BMG) with the stated aim of furthering the study of micropalaeontology. The primary founder of the BMG was Professor Leslie Rowsell Moore (1912–2003) of the University of Sheffield. The principal aims of the BMG were to host scientific meetings and to organise multidisciplinary micropalaeontological research on British type sections from all systems, and publish the results. The inaugural committee and technical meetings of the BMG were held in Imperial College London in 1971.[2][3] The Group was organised by a main committee and had five specialist groups. The latter were the conodont, foraminifera, ostracods, pollen, spores, and non-calcareous microplankton (i.e. palynology), and other special micropalaeontological interests.

In 1975, the BMG became the British Micropalaeontological Society (BMS) and it produced its first publication, a newsletter The British Micropalaeontologist.[4] In 2001 the Society changed its name to The Micropalaeontological Society (TMS), to reflect the increasing international profile and membership. There are currently (2014) six specialist groups, namely Calcareous Nannofossil, Foraminifera, Microvertebrate, Ostracod, Palynology and Silicofossil. Members of TMS may elect to be part of one or more of these groups. Specialist group and general meetings are held throughout the year and the Annual General Meeting is traditionally held each November.

The society is one of the three main UK-based palaeontological societies and collaborates with the Palaeontological Association the Palaeontographical Society and the Geological Society of London via the Joint Committee for Palaeontology.


The society produces the Newsletter of Micropalaeontology twice a year. In 1982 the association initiated its serial journal, the Journal of Micropalaeontology.[5] Between 1982 and 1983, one issue per year was produced; this was increased to two parts per annum in 1984. Prior to this the society published occasional publications such as stratigraphical atlases of individual microfossil groups and conference proceedings and the Stereo Atlas of Ostracod Shells (published 1973-1998). In 2003 the society changed the publication model from essentially self-publishing to using the Geological Society Publishing House (GSPH) for all matters associated with production and distribution. The GSPH now produces all the society Special Publications. To date, there have been 6 Micropalaeontology Special Publications produced with the GSPH:

  • TMS006 - Landmarks in Foraminiferal Micropalaeontology: History and Development. Edited by A.J. Bowden, F.J. Gregory and A.S. Henderson.[6]
  • TMS005 - Biological and Geological Perspectives of Dinoflagellates. Edited by F. Marret, J.M. Lewis & L.R. Bradley.[7]
  • TMS004 - Micropalaeontology, Sedimentary Environments and Stratigraphy: A Tribute to Dennis Curry (1912-2001). Edited by J. E. Whittaker and M. B. Hart.[8]
  • TMS003 - Ostracods in British Stratigraphy. Edited by J. E. Whittaker and M. B. Hart.[9]
  • TMS002 - Deep-Time Perspectives on Climate Change: Marrying the Signal from Computer Models and Biological Proxies. Edited by M Williams, A M Haywood, J Gregory & D N Schmidt.[10]
  • TMS001 - Recent Developments in Applied Biostratigraphy. Edited by A. J. Powell & J. B. Riding.[11]

The Micropalaeontological Society executive committeeEdit

The main committee comprises a President, Secretary and Treasurer, who each have a three-year term of office. The main committee also includes the editors of the Journal, Special Publications and Newsletter, as well as the Membership Secretary, Webmaster, Publicity Officer, Industrial Liaison Officer and Archivist. They are elected for a three-year term of office and are eligible to stand for a second term. At each main committee meeting a representative of each specialist group (currently Calcareous Nannofossil, Foraminifera, Microvertebrate, Ostracod, Palynology and Silicofossil) should be present. Group Representative positions are normally held for two years.

TMS PresidentsEdit

  • F. J. Gregory (2013–present)
  • M. P. Smith (2010-2013)
  • M. K. Kucera (2007-2010)
  • D. J. Siveter (2004-2007)
  • H. W. Bailey (2001-2004)
  • J. E. Whittaker (1998-2001)
  • R. J. Aldridge (1995-1998)
  • A. R. Lord (1992-1995)
  • M. B. Hart (1989-1992)
  • A. C. Higgins(1986-1989)
  • B. M. Funnell(1984-1986)
  • R. H. Bate (1982-1984)
  • B. Owens (1980-1982)
  • J. W. Murray (1978-1980)
  • J. W. Neale (1976-1978)
  • R. H. Cummings (1974-1976)
  • P. C. Sylvester-Bradley (1972-1974)
  • L. R. Moore (1970-1972)


The Society offers a variety of awards and honours to the micropalaeontological community, including the Brady Medal, the Alan Higgins Award for Applied Micropaleontology, the Charles Downie Award, Honorary Memberships, Student Awards, Grants-in-Aid, TMS Educational Trust Awards.

The Brady MedalEdit

The Brady Medal is highest award of The Micropalaeontological Society. It is named in honour of George Stewardson Brady (1832–1921) and Henry Bowman Brady (1835–1891) in recognition of their outstanding pioneering studies in micropalaeontology and natural history. The medal was commissioned and was awarded for the first time in 2007.[12] The recipients of the Brady Medal are:

  • 2013: Dr. Graham L. Williams
  • 2012: Prof. Richard J. Aldridge
  • 2011: Prof. John A. Barron
  • 2010: Prof. Christopher R. Barnes
  • 2009: Prof. Thomas M. Cronin
  • 2008: Prof. Katharina von Salis
  • 2007: Prof. John W. Murray


Grants-in-Aid are awarded annually to help student members of the Society and early career researchers (i.e. within 10 years of obtaining their last degree) with fieldwork, conference attendance, or any other specific activity related to their research which has not been budgeted for. The applicant can claim up to £500 towards their research activity.


  1. ^ TMS Joint Foraminifera-Nannofossil Meeting 2014
  2. ^ Hodgkinson R. L. (2008) "Tales from the Archive 1- The Foundation of The Society, 1970-1971". Newsletter of Micropalaeontology 77, p.38-39
  3. ^ AASP ORAL History Project, Interview with Bernard Owens, February 2005
  4. ^ Hodgkinson R. L. (2008) "Tales from the Archive 2. New Beginnings – 1976/1977 – The Newsletter". Newsletter of Micropalaeontology 78, p.39-40
  5. ^ The Geological Society of London Journal of Micropalaeontology
  6. ^ Bowden, A.J., Gregory, F.J. and Henderson A.S (2014) "Landmarks in Foraminiferal Micropalaeontology: History and Development". Geological Society TMS Special Publication
  7. ^ Marret, F., Lewis, J.M. and Bradley L.R. (2013) "Biological and Geological Perspectives of Dinoflagellates". Geological Society TMS Special Publication
  8. ^ Whittaker, J.E. and Hart, M.B. (2010) Micropalaeontology, Sedimentary Environments and Stratigraphy: A Tribute to Dennis Curry (1912-2001). Geological Society TMS Special Publication
  9. ^ Whittaker, J.E. and Hart, M.B. (2009) Ostracods in British Stratigraphy. Geological Society TMS Special Publication
  10. ^ Williams, M., Haywood, A.M., Gregory, J. and Schmidt, D.M. (2007) Deep-Time Perspectives on Climate Change: Marrying the Signal from Computer Models and Biological Proxies. Geological Society TMS Special Publication
  11. ^ Powell, A.J. and Riding, J.B. (2005) Recent Developments in Applied Biostratigraphy. Geological Society TMS Special Publication
  12. ^ Siveter, David (2008). "The Brady Medal". Journal of Micropalaeontology. 27 (1): 1–4. doi:10.1144/jm.27.1.1.