Researchers of NIGPAS

Updatetime: 2021-02-10 Editor : trace fossils;the end-Permian mass extinction

On November 18, eight senior paleontologists were awarded “Lifetime Achievement Honor” by the Palaeontological Society of China (PSC) at the Opening Ceremony of the First Asian Palaeontological Congress (APC) with celebrations the 90th anniversary of the Palaeontological Society of China (PSC). Academician ZHOU Zhiyan and Academician CHEN Xu from NIGPAS won this honor.

Prof. ZHOU Zhiyan is a renowned paleobotanist and stratigrapher. He was elected as an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1991, a honorary member of the Palaeobotanical Section of American Botanical Society from 1989, and a honorary member of Palaeontological Society of China (PSC). He was the vice chairman of the International Organization of Paleobotany (IOP) from 1987 to 1992, committee member of International Association of Plant Taxonomy (IAPT) and committee member of fossil plants from 1993 to 2006.

He participated in the compilation of comprehensive treatises on "Chinese Geological Strata" and "Chinese Fossils", presided over the comprehensive research on the Mesozoic coal series and their faunas and floras in Northeast and Central South China. He is the first person to systematically study the Early Jurassic flora in southern China. He pointed out the potential taxonomic significance of the cuticle micro- and ultrastructure of Suturovagina Chow et Tsao (Cheirolepidiaceae), systematically summarized on the oldest Ginkgo biloba, Podocarpaceous, and Cheirolepidiaceous fossils, and studied on Early Tertiary ferns from Fildes Peninsula, King George Island, Antarctica. His systematic study of the Mesozoic Ginkgoalean megafossils is regarded as a landmark work in the field.

His representative works include "Mesozoic continental deposits of China", "Mesozoic ginkgoaleans: Phylogeny, classification and evolutionary trends", "Comparative studies of leaf cuticle ultrastructure between living and the oldest known fossil Ginkgo in China", etc. In 2009, he started to organize the compilation of "Chinese Paleoflora", and finished the volume of "Chinese Ginkgo Plants" in 2017. He has won the first prize of the Natural Science Award of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; the second prize of the Jiangsu Science and Technology Award; the Centennial Commemorative Award of the Sahni Foundation of India and many other honors.

CHEN Xu, a renowned paleontologist and stratigrapher, an Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and an Honorary Member of the Paleontological Society of China. He was the Chairman of the Graptolite Group of the International Palaeontological Association in 1990s and the Vice-Chair and Chair of the Subcommission on Ordovician Stratigraphy (1992-2008), International Commission on Stratigraphy

In addition to the compilation of the book Graptolites of China, he established and redefined substantially the division and correlation of graptolite zones of Ordovician to Early Devonian in China. In 1997, he led an international working group and successfully established the Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for the Darriwilian Stage of the Ordovician at Huangnitang, Changshan, Zhejiang Province, which was the first GSSP in China and also the first within the Ordovician System globally. In recent years, he adopted series of new methods to address the process and mechanism of the graptolite extinction and survival in the Ordovician-Silurian transition time, which turned out to be a great success of global influence. In cooperation with leading scientists of USA, he compiled a total of 26 reconstruction maps of the global climate zones from Cambrian to Miocene, which systematically demonstrate the evolution of the global climate during Phanerozoic. Among his latest achievements, the project "Marine-facies Stratigraphy of China" led by him and sponsored by SinoPec, has contributed substantially to the exploration and development of shale gas in China.

So far, he has published more than 230 scientific papers and some fifteen volumes of monographs. He was awarded the Second Prize of the National Natural Science Award, the First and Second Prizes of the Natural Science Award of the Chinese Academy of Sciences respectively, the Li Siguang Award for Geological Sciences, and the Golden Medal of Charles University Prague.

As Paleontology is a "small subject" of geology, but it is an indispensable "global subjects" in exploring the long history of the earth's evolution and the origin of life. With the efforts of the older generation of Chinese geologists and paleontologists, the Palaeontological Society of China (PSC) has become one of the academic communities with a long history, far-reaching impact, and remarkable achievements in the Chinese natural sciences. It also holds a very important position in the world paleontological communities.