The Life and Work of William G. Chaloner FRS 1928-2016

Andrew C. Scott, Peter R. Crane

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Bill Chaloner was one of the world’s leading authorities on the study of plant fossils. He developed new approaches in his research, including integration of work on macroscopic plant fossils with investigations of fossil pollen and spores, and helping develop the field of palaeopalynology. Bill’s early work on plants of the Carboniferous (ca. 300 million years ago) resulted in a better understanding of the plants themselves, as well as improved insights into Carboniferous coal-forming vegetation. He was also influential in documenting the early diversification of plants on land about 400 million years ago and the evolutionary adaptation of plants to terrestrial conditions. A major emphasis in Bill’s later research was to use the fossil record to examine the responses of plants to global environmental change. In particular, he was a pioneer in understanding how fossil plants could be used to reveal changes in the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere. Bill possessed a polymath-like grasp of diverse subject matter, and with a clear and critical mind he was especially adept at distilling disparate information into a coherent and understandable whole. As an engaging, accomplished and enthusiastic teacher and mentor he inspired countless young scientists, including through five decades of service to several colleges of the University of London.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationUpperville, Virginia
PublisherOak Spring Garden Foundation
Number of pages75
ISBN (Print)978-0-692-16727-4
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2018

Cite this