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Paul B. Wignall

Paul B. Wignall
Paul B. Wignall

The 2017 Jean Baptiste Lamarck Medal is awarded to Paul B. Wignall in recognition of his outstanding contributions to our understanding of mass extinction events in the geological record, with an emphasis on the Permian–Triassic mass extinction.

In a career spanning four decades, Paul Wignall has consistently published work of the highest quality on topics ranging from black shales to bivalve palaeoecology to pyrite framboid petrography. He is an outstanding palaeontologist and sedimentary geologist, who is, however, best known for his thorough approach to unpicking the fossil record at times of biotic crises. He blazed a trail in the 1990s with his work on the role of global warming and marine anoxia in the Permian–Triassic (P–T) mass extinction. He has developed a multifaceted approach to the interpretation of anoxic environments and has written key research texts in this area and on mass extinctions. Most recently, he has examined the link between large igneous province volcanism and mass extinctions. Wignall, born in 1964 in the UK, studied geology at Worcester College, University of Oxford, where he received his BSc degree in 1985. He completed his PhD in 1988 at the University of Birmingham / Natural History Museum, UK on the topic of palaeoecology of the Kimmeridgian of England and northern France and received the Cecil Barber Prize awarded by the University of Birmingham for the best PhD in Earth Sciences. Subsequently, he held a Natural Environment Research Council postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Leicester, UK. In 1989, he took up a position of Lecturer in Palaeontology at the University of Leeds, where he was promoted to Reader in Palaeoenvironments in 1999 and Professor of Palaeoenvironments in 2005. In 2004, he was awarded the James Lee Wilson Award of the Society for Sedimentary Geology for excellence in sedimentology. Since 2014, he has been the Co-Leader of IGCP 630 project: Permian-Triassic climatic & environmental extremes and biotic response. Wignall has supervised 25 research students and 7 postdoctoral researchers. He has produced a prolific publication record comprising 190 peer-reviewed research papers published in international journals, as well as editing 5 volumes and writing 3 books. His publications have been cited more than 11500 times, making him one of the most frequently cited scientists actively conducting research in extinction events today. He has also provided great support to the wider geoscience community, sitting on the panel of the UK’s Research Excellence Framework Review Panel for Earth Sciences (2014), acting as President of the Yorkshire Geological Society (2009–10), as Managing Editor of Earth Science Reviews, and sitting on the editorial board of Geology, Geological Magazine, Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, Geobiology, and Chemical Geology. For all of these reasons, Paul Wignall is a worthy recipient of the 2017 EGU Jean Baptiste Lamarck Medal.