Dr Uwe Balthasar
Profiles

Dr Uwe Balthasar

Lecturer in Palaeontology

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

Biography

Biography

since 2019: Admissions Tutor for Earth Sciences Degree Programs

since 2014: Lecturer in Palaeontology

07/11 – 08/14  University of Glasgow       Postdoctoral Research Associate

07/09 – 06/11   University of Glasgow       Volkswagen Research Fellow

01/07 – 06/09  University of Uppsala        VR-Research Fellow

04/06 – 12/06   University of Cambridge     Postdoctoral Research Associate


Qualifications

2014    Postgraduate Certificate of Academic Practice; University of Glasgow

2006   Ph.D., University of Cambridge, Department of Earth Sciences 

2001   Diploma in Geology, Philipps Universität Marburg (equivalent of a MSc in Geology)

Roles on external bodies

since 2017: Trustee and full council member of the Palaeontological Association

Key publications

Eichenseer K, Balthasar K, Smart C, Stander J, Haaga KA & Kiessling W (2019) 'Jurassic shift from abiotic to biotic control on marine ecological success' Nature Geoscience Publisher Site , DOI Open access
Balthasar U & Cusack M (2015) 'Aragonite-calcite seas—Quantifying the gray area' Geology 43, (2) 99-102 , 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
Butterfield NJ, Balthasar U & Wilson LA (2007) 'Fossil diagenesis in the burgess shale' PALAEONTOLOGY 50, 537-543 Author Site , DOI
View all publications
Teaching

Teaching

Teaching interests

I teach palaeontology and geological field skills across all Earth Science degree programmes. 

Module Leader for:

GEOL 1004 (Palaeontology and Stratigraphy)

GEOL 3001 (Geological Mapping Research Project and Professional Skills)

GEOL 3002 (Independent Research Project and Professional Skills)

Contributing to:

GEOL 1005 (Geological Maps and Structural Geology)

GEOL 2001 (Sedimentology and Palaeontology)

GEOL 2006 (Geological Fieldwork)


Research

Research

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?

Publications

Publications

Key publications

Eichenseer K, Balthasar K, Smart C, Stander J, Haaga KA & Kiessling W (2019) 'Jurassic shift from abiotic to biotic control on marine ecological success' Nature Geoscience Publisher Site , DOI Open access
Balthasar U & Cusack M (2015) 'Aragonite-calcite seas—Quantifying the gray area' Geology 43, (2) 99-102 , 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
Butterfield NJ, Balthasar U & Wilson LA (2007) 'Fossil diagenesis in the burgess shale' PALAEONTOLOGY 50, 537-543 Author Site , DOI

Key publications are highlighted

Journals
Articles
Balthasar U, Kershaw S, Da Silva A-C, Seuss B, Cusack M, Eichenseer K & Chung P (2021) 'Palaeozoic stromatoporoids and chaetetids analysed using electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD); implications for original mineralogy and microstructure' Facies 67, (1) 0-0 Publisher Site , DOI Open access
Skovsted CB, Balthasar U, Vinther J & Sperling EA (2020) 'Small shelly fossils and carbon isotopes from the early Cambrian (Stage 3-4) Mural Formation of western Laurentia' Papers in Palaeontology , DOI Open access
Balthasar U, Jin J, Hints L & Cusack M (2019) 'Brachiopod Shell Thickness links Environment and Evolution' Palaeontology , DOI Open access
Eichenseer K, Balthasar K, Smart C, Stander J, Haaga KA & Kiessling W (2019) 'Jurassic shift from abiotic to biotic control on marine ecological success' Nature Geoscience Publisher Site , DOI Open access
Sperling EA, Balthasar KU & Skovsted CB (2018) 'On the edge of exceptional preservation: insights into the role of redox state in Burgess Shale-type taphonomic windows from the Mural Formation, Alberta, Canada' Emerging Topics in Life Sciences , DOI Open access
Skovsted CB, Knight I, Balthasar KU & Boyce WD (2017) 'Depth related brachiopod faunas from the lower Cambrian Forteau Formation of southern Labrador and western Newfoundland, Canada' Palaeontologia electronica (Online) , DOI Open access
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) 'Erratum: An early Cambrian agglutinated tubular lophophorate with brachiopod characters' Scientific Reports 4, (1) , 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 Open access
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
Topper TP, Holmer LE, Skovsted CB, Brock GA, Balthasar U, Larsson CM, Stolk SP & Harper DAT (2013) 'The oldest brachiopods from the lower Cambrian of South Australia' ACTA PALAEONTOLOGICA POLONICA 58, (1) 93-109 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
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
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
Balthasar U & Butterfield NJ (2009) 'Early Cambrian "soft-shelled" brachiopods as possible stem-group phoronids' ACTA PALAEONTOLOGICA POLONICA 54, (2) 307-314 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
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
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 U (2008) 'Mummpikia gen. nov and the origin of calcitic-shelled brachiopods' PALAEONTOLOGY 51, 263-279 Author Site , 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
Balthasar U & Amler MRW (2003) 'Silicified foraminifera from the Lower Carboniferous Genicera Formation (Cantabrian Mountains, Northern Spain) and their palaeoenvironmental interpretation' CFS Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg (242) 1-19