One of the key laboratories in the department, which supports the work of many research staff, is our Palaeoecology Lab. Many years ago people will remember it being composed of five rooms full to the roof with reference collection material of fossil beetles, pollen slides, plant macro fossils and molluscs, a cold store and a wet sieving facility, all of which were essential to the work of the palaeoecologist.
This has changed over the past decade through the work of Danielle Schreve, Elaine Turton and Robyn Christie, where, in addition to the other collections, the lab now houses a huge array of faunal remains predominantly mammals, but also birds and reptiles. When you have got so many specimens they need to be well organised and recently the laboratory was reconfigured so that we can house all of these items.These now include the unique Coope beetle collection and the Wymer stone artefact collection. Both scientists were pre-eminent world experts in their respective fields: Russell Coope was the pioneer in the use of fossil beetle assemblages to infer past climate change; and John Wymer was the internationally-recognised expert on Palaeolithic archaeology.
Sadly, both have passed away but we are very proud to hold their collections in the new revamped palaeoecology laboratory in Royal Holloway. They are currently being curated, with the intention for these to be made available to the wider research community in the near future.