Marine Life Talk at NOC in Southampton

Plesiosaur paddle – a fossil hindfin of a plesiosaur during excavation (photo by Aubrey J Roberts)

Thu, 2 February 2017

Prehistoric marine reptiles from the Arctic – from excavation to research

Reptiles adapted to marine environments at present are limited to a few species which are restricted to warm climates. However, during the time of the dinosaurs (Mesozoic Era) marine reptiles were diverse and included several large reptile groups that are now extinct, including plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs. These animals have been a keen interest of vertebrate palaeontologists since Mary Anning’s discoveries in the early 1800s and have a world-wide distribution in the fossil record. As part of a logistically challenging project, broad-scale excavations of these animals from the Arctic desert of Spitsbergen (Norway) have produced dozens of marine reptile fossil skeletons the past decade. The study of this Late Jurassic (~150 million years old) ecosystem has revealed several new species to science and increased our knowledge on how these strange reptiles lived and died in the ancient Boreal sea.

Speaker: Aubrey Roberts is a final year PhD student at the University of Southampton in collaboration with the University of Oslo (Norway). Her doctoral research encompasses describing new species of plesiosaurs from Spitsbergen and the study of their evolutionary- and life history. Through her research she has participated in five expeditions to the Arctic of Spitsbergen to excavate ancient marine reptiles. Aubrey received her undergraduate and MSc degrees in evolutionary biology from the University of Oslo.


Visiting the NOC: As the NOC is located within the Port of Southampton and entry is via Dock Gate 4 Port Security require all visitors bring along with them their confirmation ticket and a valid form of photographic ID (Driving License / Passport). The Port of Southampton is the Strategic Authority for the implementation of security within the port area where the NOC is located.

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Parking at NOC

There are a number of designated visitor parking spaces available at NOC. If these are full after 5pm please drive to the staff car parks barriers and access can be given by pressing the intercom button in the box next to the barrier, on requesting entry you will be asked for Name and Car Registration number and the barrier will be lifted.

Please do not park in areas not designated for parking and ensure roadways are kept clear.

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Next Month’s Talk

2 March 2017 – The relative importance of water column and topographic divers in the distribution of benthic biomass – Speaker: Matteo Ichino

Marine Life Talks are held on the first Thursday of each month at 7.30pm in the Henry Charnock Lecture Theatre, National Oceanography Centre. Please sign in outside the lecture theatre on level four.

All talks are free and open to members of the public.

Event dates: 
Thursday 2 February 2017 - 19:30