Dianne Edwards

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Professor Dianne Edwards MA, PhD, ScD(Cantab), CBE, FRS, FRSE, FLS, FLSW (born 1942[1]) is a palaeobotanist, who studies the colonisation of land by plants, and early land plant interactions.

Early life

Edwards was born in Swansea, South Wales, and spent much of her time at her parents' bungalow on the Gower Peninsula.[2]


Edwards' work has centred on early plant fossils, the majority of which have been retrieved from the UK.[3] Her interest in early plants was initiated after she studied plant fossils preserved in three dimensions in the mineral pyrite (fools' gold).[3]

Much of her later work has centred on the Rhynie chert and charcoalified fossils, large and microscopic, from the Welsh borderlands and South Wales.

Edwards is a Distinguished Research Professor, and former Head of School within the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, at Cardiff University.[4][5]

She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society, Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, an honorary Fellow at the University of Wales, Swansea, a Corresponding Member of the Botanical Society of America, and has links with China, consulting for the Beijing Museum of Natural History, and working on fossils from that country.[6]


Among Edwards's most notable works, are the discovery of vascular tissue in Cooksonia,[7] the description and analysis of stomata in early land plants,[8] and very early liverwort-like plants.[9] The charcoalified nature of many of her fossils have enabled her to prove that wildfires took place in the Siluruan period.[10] She has also worked on several enigmatic fossils such as Nematothallus,[11] Tortilicaulis[12] and Prototaxites.[13]

She is the author or co-author of a considerable number of botanical names of fossil plants, such as Danziella D.Edwards (2006)[14] and Demersatheca C.-S. Li & D.Edwards (1996).[15]



  1. ^ Entry: D. Edwards. Index of Botanists, Harvard University Herbarium, retrieved 16 December 2017
  2. ^ Walton, Adam (27 March 2012). "Prof. Dianne Edwards". BBC – Wales – Radio Wales – Science Cafe. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Professor Dianne Edwards FRS – The first plants
  4. ^ "Professor Dianne Edwards - People - Cardiff University". Cardiff University. Retrieved 2018-09-11.
  5. ^ "Professor Dianne Edwards CBE PhD, ScD(Cantab) FRSE, FLS, FLSE, FLSW, FRS". WISRNet, Women in Science Research Network. 2015.
  6. ^ a b Professor Dianne Edwards
  7. ^ Edwards, D.; Davies, K. L.; Axe, L. (1992). "A vascular conducting strand in the early land plant Cooksonia". Nature. 357 (6380): 683–685. Bibcode:1992Natur.357..683E. doi:10.1038/357683a0.
  8. ^ Edwards, D.; Kerp, H.; Hass, H. (1998). "Stomata in early land plants: an anatomical and ecophysiological approach" (PDF). Journal of Experimental Botany. 49 (Special Issue): 255–278. doi:10.1093/jexbot/49.suppl_1.255.
  9. ^ Edwards, D.; Duckett, J. G.; Richardson, J. B. (1995). "Hepatic characters in the earliest land plants". Nature. 374 (6523): 635–636. Bibcode:1995Natur.374..635E. doi:10.1038/374635a0.
  10. ^ Glasspool, I. J.; Edwards, D.; Axe, L. (2004). "Charcoal in the Silurian as evidence for the earliest wildfire". Geology. 32 (5): 381–383. Bibcode:2004Geo....32..381G. doi:10.1130/G20363.1.
  11. ^ Edwards, D.; Rose, V. (1984). "Cuticles of Nematothallus: a further enigma". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 88 (1–2): 35–54. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.1984.tb01563.x.
  12. ^ Edwards, D. (1979). "A late Silurian flora from the Lower Old Red Sandstone of south-west Dyfed". Palaeontology. 22: 23–52.
  13. ^ Burgess, N. D.; Edwards, D. (1988). "A new Palaeozoic plant closely allied to Prototaxites Dawson". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 97 (2): 189–203. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.1988.tb02461.x.
  14. ^ Edwards, Dianne (2006), "Danziella artesiana, a new name for Zosterophyllum artesianum from the Lower Devonian of Artois, northern France", Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 142 (3–4): 93–101, doi:10.1016/j.revpalbo.2006.04.008
  15. ^ Li, C.-S. & Edwards, D. (1996), "Demersatheca Li et Edwards, gen. nov., a new genus of early land plants from the Lower Devonian, Yunnan Province, China", Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 93 (1–4): 77–88, doi:10.1016/0034-6667(95)00120-4
  16. ^ IPNI.  D.Edwards.
  17. ^ PalAss at 60. https://www.palass.org/sites/default/files/media/association/palass_at_60.pdf: The Palaeontological Association. 2017. p. 34.
  18. ^ ""No. 55513"". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 1999. p. 8.
  19. ^ "Lyell Medal winners". The Geological Society.
  20. ^ "Founding Fellows". Learned Society of Wales. Learned Society of Wales. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  21. ^ "Hans Rosling one of four new honorary doctors at Faculty of Science and Technology – Uppsala University, Sweden". uu.se. Retrieved 3 February 2016.

External links

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