The Ecology of Carboniferous Peat Swamps
During the Carboniferous period, roughly 310 million years ago, humid, swampy forests covered the global tropics. These forests, which are the source of today’s coal deposits, harbored a great diversity of strange and unusual plants. The Phillips Coal Ball Collection is a dataset that tallies plant remains preserved in limestone nodules in coal, offering an unprecedented look into the diversity of these forest communities. I will be helping to digitize this dataset and run paleoecological analyses, comparing plant communities between different coals to uncover a cohesive picture of floral change across space and time.