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Simon Beurel

Simon Beurel
  • Tasks

    PhD student in the DFG project "Reconstructing fossil-rich East Asian amber forests using inclusions of seed plants"

    Research interests

    In my project, I study amber inclusions of seed plants from the Cretaceous to the Cenozoic of East Asia. In the past years, East Asian amber deposits of Myanmar (mid-Cretaceous), Fushun (China, early Eocene) and Zhangpu (China, middle Miocene) revealed a tremendously increasing number of inclusions; however, research interests were mainly focused on arthropod, other invertebrate and even vertebrate inclusions. Fossil seed plants from these East Asian ambers are still virtually unstudied. Thus, source forests of East Asian ambers have been basically interpreted on the basis of arthropod inclusions, leading to contradictory results.

    By investigating these fossil plants, I aim to reconstruct the amber source forests of Myanmar, Fushun and Zhangpu deposits. I use light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and three-dimensional X-ray microscopy (microCT and synchrotron) for the morphological-anatomical investigation and the taxonomic classification of the inclusions. Then, I will compare the found plant taxa to fossil and extant analogous taxa to have a better understanding of their palaeoecological requirements. I will use this information to reconstruct the vegetation of the East Asian amber floras, the habitat types and the structure of their source forests. This is relevant for a profound palaeoecological evaluation of the plethora of invertebrates and vertebrate inclusions recovered from these ambers. Furthermore, my study has the potential to provide significant keys for understanding terrestrial palaeoecosystems of East Asia and their evolution in time and space, as well as palaeobiogeographic patterns and the evolutionary history of specific plant lineages.

    Research topics

    • Plant inclusions in amber
    • Evolution of seed plants
    • Reconstruction of Mesozoic and Cenozoic palaeoenvironments and palaeoclimate
    • Mesozoic fossil wood anatomy, taxonomy, palaeobiogeography