Dr Uwe Balthasar
Profiles

Dr Uwe Balthasar

Lecturer in Palaeontology

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)

Research interests

Phanerozoic evolution of aragonite and calcite biomineralisation in the context of ocean chemistry
The dominance of aragonite and calcite has fluctuated throughout the Phanerozoic in inorganic precipitates such as ooids or cements. I am interested in understanding how these changes impacted on the evolution of calcifying organisms. To do this I combine inorganic CaCO3 precipitation experiments designed to better interpret the distribution of non-biogenic aragonite and calcite in the rock record with the careful examination of calcareous fossils of uncertain original mineralogy. Ultimately, this work aims at providing an environmental context in which the evolution of biogenic calcification can be assesed in time and space.

Origins of brachiopods and their evolution of biomineralisation
Brachiopods are one of the first animal phyla to appear in the course of the Cambrian explosion and among the most versatile groups with respect to biomineralisation including groups that evolved the ability to secrete apatite, aragonite, calcite, opaline silica, and possibly even the ability to agglutinate sand grains. All of these different biomineralisation strategies of brachiopods evolved  during the Cambrian - Ordovician, whereas no further innovation occured in this respect thoughout the rest of the Phanerozoic. What was driving this burst of innovation in biomineralisation?

Key publications are highlighted

Journals
Articles
Balthasar U & Cusack M 2015 'Aragonite-calcite seas—Quantifying the gray area' Geology 43, (2) 99-102 , DOI
Zhang Z-F, Li G-X, Holmer LE, Brock GA, Balthasar U, Skovsted CB, Fu D-J, Zhang X-L, Wang H-Z & Butler A 2014 'An early Cambrian agglutinated tubular lophophorate with brachiopod characters' Sci Rep 4, Author Site , DOI
Larsson CM, Skovsted CB, Brock GA, Balthasar U, Topper TP & Holmer LE 2014 'PATERIMITRA PYRAMIDALIS FROM SOUTH AUSTRALIA: SCLERITOME, SHELL STRUCTURE AND EVOLUTION OF A LOWER CAMBRIAN STEM GROUP BRACHIOPOD' PALAEONTOLOGY 57, (2) 417-446 Author Site , DOI
Balthasar U, Cusack M, Faryma L, Chung P, Holmer LE, Jin J, Percival IG & Popov LE 2011 'Relic aragonite from Ordovician-Silurian brachiopods: Implications for the evolution of calcification' GEOLOGY 39, (10) 967-970 Author Site , DOI
Topper T 2011 'The oldest brachiopods from the lower Cambrian of South Australia' Acta Palaeontologica Polonica , DOI
Balthasar U & Butterfield NJ 2009 'Early Cambrian “Soft-Shelled” Brachiopods as Possible Stem-Group Phoronids' Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 54, (2) 307-314 , DOI
Balthasar U, Skovsted CB, Holmer LE & Brock GA 2009 'Homologous skeletal secretion in tommotiids and brachiopods' GEOLOGY 37, (12) 1143-1146 Author Site , DOI
Balthasar U 2009 'The brachiopod Eoobolus from the Early Cambrian Mural Formation (Canadian Rocky Mountains)' PALAEONTOLOGISCHE ZEITSCHRIFT 83, (3) 407-418 Author Site , DOI
holmer LE, Stolk SP, Skovsted CB, Balthasar U & Popov L 2009 'THE ENIGMATIC EARLY CAMBRIAN SALANYGOLINA - A STEM GROUP OF RHYNCHONELLIFORM CHILEATE BRACHIOPODS?' PALAEONTOLOGY 52, 1-10 Author Site , DOI
Skovsted CB, Holmer LE, Larsson CM, Högström AES, Brock GA, Topper TP, Balthasar U, Stolk SP & Paterson JR 2009 'The scleritome of Paterimitra: an Early Cambrian stem group brachiopod from South Australia' Proc Biol Sci 276, (1662) 1651-1656 Author Site , DOI
Skovsted CB, Balthasar U, Brock GA & Paterson JR 2009 'The tommotiid Camenella reticulosa from the early Cambrian of South Australia: Morphology, scleritome reconstruction, and phylogeny' ACTA PALAEONTOLOGICA POLONICA 54, (3) 525-540 Author Site , DOI
Grazhdankin DV, Balthasar U, Nagovitsin KE & Kochnev BB 2008 'Carbonate-hosted Avalon-type fossils in arctic Siberia' GEOLOGY 36, (10) 803-806 Author Site , DOI
BALTHASAR UWE 2008 'MUMMPIKIA GEN. NOV. AND THE ORIGIN OF CALCITIC-SHELLED BRACHIOPODS' Palaeontology 51, (2) 263-279 , DOI
Balthasar U 2007 'An early cambrian organophosphatic brachiopod with calcitic granules' PALAEONTOLOGY 50, 1319-1325 Author Site , DOI
Butterfield NJ, Balthasar U & Wilson LA 2007 'Fossil diagenesis in the burgess shale' PALAEONTOLOGY 50, 537-543 Author Site , DOI
Balthasar U & Maidment S 2006 'Pseudoscience should not be published in Nature' Nature 444, (7120) 679-680 Author Site , DOI
Balthasar U 2004 'Shell structure, ontogeny and affinities of the Lower Cambrian bivalved problematic fossil Mickwitzia muralensis Walcott, 1913' LETHAIA 37, (4) 381-400 Author Site , DOI