Geological Sciences Seminar: Sandy Hetherington, University of Edinburgh

Sponsored by Department of Geological Science


Tuesday, September 21, 2021
12:15 pm – 1:15 pm
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This event is open to:
Faculty/Staff, Students, Alumni/Friends


Event Details:

In search of the roots of roots: 400 million years of plant root evolution

This lecture is one of the “Innovations in Palaeontology Lecture Series” supported by the Palaeontological Association.

“Plant blindness” is the term used to describe the phenomena where plants often go unnoticed or underappreciated by humans. Plant blindness is observed in many contexts including in the study of palaeontology where plants are often overlooked simply as food for animals rather than as the fundamental underpinnings of all terrestrial ecosystems. A major goal of my research is to promote and communicate the importance of land plant evolution and the vast changes plants have made to the Earth System. In my research I utilise a diversity of techniques, including classic comparative methods, new imaging techniques and molecular approaches such as comparative genomics, to shine a spotlight on the evolution of the hidden half of plants – the rooting systems.

Sandy Hetherington is an palaeobiologist interested in how plants evolved to conquer the land. He studied an MSci in Geology at the University of Bristol (2008-2012) and became fascinated by the evolution of land plants. In 2012 he moved to the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Oxford to undertake his DPhil with Prof Liam Dolan on the evolution of lycophyte roots. Sandy’s thesis was awarded the Irene Manton Prize in 2018 for the best thesis in Botany by the Linnean Society. After his DPhil he remained in Oxford, first as a postdoctoral researcher (2017) and then a Junior Research Fellow (2017-2020) continuing his work on root evolution. In October 2020 Sandy moved to the University of Edinburgh to establish his research group supported by a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship.

Email Rey Garduño,, for Zoom link and password.