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Annual Meeting 2015 - Cardiff: Overview

Number: 59th Annual Meeting
Year: 2015
Location: Cardiff
Hosted By: Cardiff University and Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales
Organised By: Caroline Buttler, Lesley Cherns and Lucy McCobb
General Contact Email:


The 59th Annual Meeting of the Palaeontological Association will be held at Cardiff University and Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales between the 14th–17th December 2015. Organised by Caroline Buttler (, Lesley Cherns ( & Lucy McCobb (

Timetable Outline

Monday 14th December: Symposium and reception

The meeting will begin with a symposium in the afternoon of Monday the 14th of December in the Reardon Smith Lecture Theatre at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales.

The theme of the Annual Symposium is ‘Palaeobiotic interactions’:

Time SlotEvent
13.00 – 13.15Welcome
13.15 – 13.55Dr Paul Taylor (Natural History Museum), Competition and symbiosis on hard substrates in the marine fossil record
13.55 – 14.35Dr Paul Wright (National Museum Wales) & Dr Lesley Cherns (Cardiff University), Leaving no stone unturned: the feedback between biotic diversity and early  diagenesis
14.35 – 15.15Prof Rosmarie Honegger (University of Zurich), Fossil lichens
15.15 – 15.45 Break
15.45 – 16.25 Dr Liz Harper (University of Cambridge), Something ate my fossil:  from anecdote totesting hypotheses
16.25 – 17.05Dr Chris Berry (Cardiff University) & Prof Bill Stein (Binghamton University), Rooted in Earth history: the Devonian transition to a forested planet
17.05 – 17.45 Dr Cris Little (University of Leeds), Animal-animal and animal-microbial ecological  interactions in ancient methane seep communities
18.00 – 20-00 Icebreaker reception in the Main Hall of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, with the opportunity to look around the Evolution of Wales galleries and the William Smith Exhibition.

Tuesday 15th December: Conference, AGM, Annual Address and Dinner

The conference will be held at Cardiff University and will commence on Tuesday the 15th of December with a full day of talks and posters.

The Association AGM will take place before the Annual Address.

The Annual Address will be given by Prof John Hutchinson (Royal Veterinary College) prior to the evening reception and will be entitled “Computer modelling and simulation of extinct organisms: its utility and limitations for reconstructing the evolution of locomotor behaviour”.

In the evening there will be a reception and the Annual Dinner at Cardiff City Hall.

Wednesday 16th December: Conference

A full day of talks in parallel sessions (depending on demand) and posters. Talks, on both days, will be allocated 15 minutes including questions.

Thursday 17th December: Field-trip

In the morning, the field-trip will visit classic Silurian carbonates of the Usk Inlier, and we will then take you to Blaenavon, a World Heritage Site. Lunch will be at Big Pit National Coal Museum with the opportunity to go 300 feet (91 m) underground with a miner-guide. We will aim to be back in Cardiff by 5.30pm and will stop at the train station.

Venue and travel

All conference venues, including the Annual Dinner, are within 5-10 minutes’ walk of each other, located in Cardiff city centre. The train station is a c. 20 minute walk from the venues.

Accommodation is available within walking distance of the University and the city centre.

Getting to Cardiff

By Train

Cardiff Central railway station is a c. 20 minute walk from the conference venues and close to many hotels. Booking early will get the best rail ticket prices, especially from London Paddington station. From Cardiff Central station, there is also a frequent train service which stops at Cathays station (located on the Cathays Park Cardiff University campus).

Rail services connect Cardiff with London, Bristol, Birmingham, Southampton, Manchester and Liverpool, as well as many other cities and towns.

By Coach

Cardiff is also served by regular coach services from towns and cities across the UK; these are often cheaper than the trains. For information, see National Express Coaches ( and Megabus (

Local bus services also operate from Cardiff Central station.

By Car

There is limited parking around the University, and almost none on campus, so driving to meeting venues is not the best option. There is ‘pay and display’ car parking available on Park Place and within the civic centre (along College Road, City Hall Road, King Edward VII Avenue and Museum Avenue) but this fills up very quickly, especially just prior to Christmas. This typically costs around £6 per day, payment is by coin or debit/credit card. Charges for city centre multi-storey car parks vary considerably, up to £12 per day.

By Plane

Cardiff Airport is approximately 12 miles (19 km) from the city centre. There are bus and train links to Cardiff city centre, as well as a taxi service (taxi fare to Cardiff city centre approximately £31). There are rail and bus links to Cardiff from other airports such as Bristol, Heathrow and Gatwick.


Taxis can be found at the front of Cardiff Central station and a number of other locations around the city centre.

Registration and booking

Registration, abstract submission, booking and payment (by credit/debit card) will be through online forms available on the Palaeontological Association website and commences on Monday the 13th of July 2015. Abstract submission closes at midnight on Friday the 18th of September 2015; abstracts submitted after this date will not be considered. Registration payments made after Friday the 2nd of October 2015 will incur an additional administration charge of £25.00. The final deadline for registration is Friday the 13th of November 2015. Registrations and bookings will be taken on a strictly first come, first served basis. No refunds will be available after the final deadline. The cost of registration is the same as last year. Registration costs include the icebreaker reception on the Monday evening, sandwich lunches on Tuesday and Wednesday, full registration package and tea/coffee from Monday through to Wednesday. Accommodation must be booked separately (see below).  

 Early-bird RegistrationStandard Registration*Icebreaker (optional)Annual Dinner (optional)Field Trip (optional)
Non-member£120.00£145.00FREE for delegates£45.00£30.00
Ordinary/Retired Member£90.00£115.00FREE for delegates£45.00£30.00
Student Member£60.00£85.00FREE for delegates£45.00£30.00

*Registration payments made after Friday the 2nd of October 2015. | All prices are in GBP.

Registration Status: Closed


Oral presentations

All speakers (apart from the symposium speakers) will be allocated 15 minutes. You should therefore prepare a 12 minute talk to allow time for questions and switching between presenters. We will have a number of parallel sessions in adjacent theatres so timing will be especially important. All the lecture theatres will have a single A/V projector linked to a large screen. All presentations should be submitted and checked the day before they are scheduled. Cardiff University is PC-based, so Mac-based presentations may cause problems, particularly if animations are included. If you are using a Mac, please make sure your presentation is PC-compatible before you leave your institution. If we are oversubscribed with oral presentations, you will be offered the opportunity to present your work as a poster presentation. Preference will normally go to those in the early stages of their career.

Poster presentations

Poster boards will accommodate an A0-sized poster presented in portrait format. The boards will not be suitable for posters of this size in landscape format. Materials to fix the poster to the boards will be available at the meeting.

Abstract Submission

All abstract submissions are via an online form with built-in text editors. This form is access by a unique weblink emailed to registered delegates after payment has been verified by our bank. The forms permits you to submit one oral and one poster abastract per use (if  you want to submit multiple abstracts of one type please use the link you where sent multiple times). Each abstract can be no more than 200 words in length not including the title. You will also require co-authors full names and their institutional addresses in order to complete a submission. Please follow the instructions on the form, incomplete or incorrectly formated submissions will not be accepted.


This needs to be booked separately. Cardiff has a wide variety of hotels, hostels and guest-houses at a range of prices, which can be booked through the usual online resources. Most of the well-known hotel companies are represented. It is recommended that delegates look for reviews and ratings such as those at to decide which would suit them best. also lists a number of providers of accommodation, from budget to luxury.

City centre hotel examples:

Bed & Breakfast accommodation:

There are large numbers of B&Bs on Cathedral Road near Cardiff Castle. You are advised to check their ratings on Trip Advisor or other review websites as standards do vary.

  • Lincoln House Hotel (Cathedral Road)
  • Jolyon’s at No. 10 (Cathedral Road)
  • Number 62 (Cathedral Rd)
  • Church Guest House (Cathedral Road)

Budget accommodation:

A brand new YHA Youth Hostel has opened in Cardiff city centre with parking and private rooms, close to the rail and coach stations: This is approximately a 30 minute walk from the conference venues. It has dorm rooms and en-suite double and family rooms starting from £16.

There are four backpacker hostels in the City, details available at

  • Bunkhouse Hostel (St Mary Street)
  • Nomad Backpacker (Roath)
  • The River House Backpackers (Riverside)
  • NosDa Studio Hostel (Riverside)

Travel grants to student members

The Palaeontological Association runs a programme of travel grants to assist student members (doctoral and earlier) to attend the Annual Meeting, in order to present a talk or a poster. For the Cardiff 2015 meeting, grants of less than £100 (or the € equivalent) will be available to student presenters who are travelling from outside the UK. The actual amount available will depend on the number of applicants and the distance travelled. Payment of these awards is given as a disbursement at the Meeting, not as an advance payment. Students interested in applying for a PalAss travel grant should contact the Executive Officer, Dr Tim Palmer (e-mail, once the organisers have confirmed that their presentation is accepted, and before the 1st of December 2015. Entitle the e-mail “Travel Grant Request”. No awards can be made to those who have not followed this procedure.


Cardiff is the capital city of Wales with many cultural and entertainment attractions (see During the conference, there will be a Christmas market in the centre of the city and ice-skating outside City Hall. There are many restaurants and bars in the city centre.


We look forward to seeing you in Cardiff in December

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