Scientists from Binghamton University, Cardiff University, and New York State Museum have reported the discovery of the floor of the world's oldest forest, right here in the Catskill Mountains of Gilboa, Schoharie County. "It was like discovering the botanical equivalent of dinosaur footprints," said Dr. William Stein, associate professor of biological sciences at Binghamton University. "But the most exciting part was finding out just how many different types of footprints there were. The newly uncovered area was preserved in such a way that we were literally able to walk among the trees, noting what kind they were, where they had stood and how big they had grown." Scientists are now piecing together a view of this ancient site, dating back about 385 million years ago, which could shed new light on the role of modern-day forests and their impact on climate change.
We'll be interviewing Cardiff University's Dr. Chris Berry about his research on this ancient forest in Gilboa. What kind of plants did they find? What was this ancient forest floor like? What do these ancient plants tell us about the climate back then?
Dr. Chris Berry is a Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Earth and Ocean Sciences - School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Cardiff University (1998-present). Dr. Berry was a Research Fellow at the University of Wales, Cardiff University (1996-1998); Royal Society Exchange Fellowship, Liège University (1994-1995); and earned his PhD - Devonian Plant Fossils from Venezuela, Geology Department, Cardiff University (1993) and BA Earth Sciences – Cambridge University (1989).
Dr. Berry specializes in understanding the early radiation of large plants and birth of forest ecosystems in the Devonian Period (380 million years ago).