Chris Cleal

Contact Details

Dr Christopher Cleal
Natural Sciences
National Museum Cardiff

Cathays Park
CF10 3NP

Phone: +44 (0)29 2057 3310

Staff Name

Dr Christopher Cleal

Job Title

Head of Botany

Areas of Responsibility:

Responsible for botany collections, including vascular plants, bryophytes, algae and fungi. Undertakes research in palaeobotany, and for overseeing other research in botany and for related public engagement to a wide range of audiences.

Qualifications, memberships and relevant positions

BSc, PhD. Fellow of the Linnean Society and of the Geological Society London. Member of the International Association for Plant Taxonomy (member of Fossil Plant Committee), Palaeontological Association (former Council Member and Editor), Systematics Association, Geologists’ Association, Geological Curators’ Group, European Association for the Conservation of Earth Heritage (ProGeo – UK Delegate), British Institute for Geological Conservation (BIGC – Treasurer).

Research Interests

Palaeozoic palaeobotany; relationship between vegetation, landscape change and palaeoclimates during the Late Palaeozoic Ice Age; taxonomy of medullosaleans seed-plants, marratialean ferns and sphenophytes.  Changing plant diversity through geological time.  History of palaeobotanical science the UK. Development of coalfield geoheritage as educational and geotouristic resources. 


Selected Publications

Pardoe, H.S., Cleal, C.J. & Fraser, H.E. (2019) Bibliography of European Palaeobotany and Palynology 2016-2017. National Museum Wales, Cardiff. ISBN: 978-0-7200-0635-3.

Pardoe, H.S., Cleal, C.J. & Fraser, H.E. (2017) Bibliography of European Palaeobotany and Palynology 2014-2015. National Museum Wales, Cardiff. ISBN: 978-0-7200-0640-7

Cleal, C. J. 2016. A global review of Permian macrofloral biostratigraphical schemes. In Lucas, S. G. & Shen, S. Z. (eds), The Permian timescale. Geological Society, London (Special Publication, 450),

Bashforth, A.R., Cleal, C.J., Gibling, M.R., Falcon-Lang, H.J. & Miller, R.F. 2014. Paleoecology of Early Pennsylvanian vegetation on a seasonally dry tropical landscape (Tynemouth Creek Formation, New Brunswick, Canada). Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 200, 229-263.

Fraser, H.E, Pardoe, H.S. & Cleal, C.J. 2014. Bibliography of European Palaeobotany and Palynology 2012-2013. National Museum Wales, Cardiff, 116 pp. 

Cascales-Miñana, B. & Cleal, C.J. 2013. What is the best way to measure extinction? Reflection from the palaeobotanical record. Earth-Science Reviews, 124, 126-147.

Singh, K.J., Singh, R., Cleal, C.J., Saxena, A. & Chandra, S. 2013. Carboniferous floras in siliciclastic rocks of Kashmir Himalaya, India and the evolutionary history of the Tethyan Basin. Geological Magazine, 150, 577-601.

Cleal, C.J. & Shute, C.H. 2012. The systematic and palaeoecological value of foliage anatomy in Late Palaeozoic medullosalean seed-plants. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, 10, 765-800.

Cleal, C.J., Uhl, D., Cascales-Miñana, B., Thomas, B.A., Bashforth, A.R., King, S.C. & Zodrow, E.L. 2012. Plant biodiversity changes in Carboniferous tropical wetlands. Earth-Science Reviews, 114, 124-155.

Dimitrova, T.Kh., Cleal, C.J. & Thomas, B.A. 2011. Palynological evidence for Pennsylvanian extra-basinal vegetation in Atlantic Canada. Journal of the Geological Society, London, 168, 559-569.

Waters, C.N., Somerville, I.D., Jones, N.S., Cleal, C.J., Collinson, J.D., Waters, R.A., Besly, B.M., Dean, M.T., Stephenson, M.H., Davies, J.R., Freshney, E.C., Jackson, D.I., Mitchell, W.I., Powell, J.H., Barclay, W.J., Browne, M.A.E., Leveridge, B.E., Long, S.L. & Mclean, D. 2011. A revised correlation of Carboniferous rocks in the British Isles. Geological Society, London (Special Report, 26), 186 pp.

Cleal, C. J., Opluštil, S., Thomas, B. A. & Tenchov, Y. 2010. Late Moscovian terrestrial biotas and palaeoenvironments of Variscan Euramerica. Netherlands Journal of Geosciences, 88, 181-278.

Cleal, C.J. & Thomas, B.A. 2010. Botanical nomenclature and plant fossils. Taxon, 59, 261-268.

Cleal, C.J., Shute, C.H., Hilton, J. & Carter, J. 2009. A revision of the Pennsylvanian-aged Eremopteris-bearing seed plant. International Journal of Plant Sciences, 170, 666-698.

Cleal, C.J. & Thomas, B.A. 2009. Introduction to plant fossils. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, ix + 237 pp

Pšenička, J., Bek, J., Cleal, C.J., Wittry, J. & Zodrow, E.L. 2009. Description of synangia and spores of the holotype of the Carboniferous fern Lobatopteris miltoni, with taxonomic comments. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 155, 133-144.

Cleal, C.J. 2008. Palaeofloristics of Middle Pennsylvanian medullosaleans in Variscan Euramerica. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 268, 164-180.

Anderson, J.M., Anderson, H.M. & Cleal, C.J. 2007. Brief history of the gymnosperms: classification, biodiversity, phytogeography and ecology.  South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria (Strelitzia, 20), 279 pp.

Cleal, C.J. 2007. The Westphalian-Stephanian macrofloral record from the South Wales Coalfield. Geological Magazine, 144, 465-486.

Opluštil, S. & Cleal, C.J. 2007. A comparative analysis of some Late Carboniferous basins of Variscan Europe. Geological Magazine, 144, 417-448.

Burek, C.V. & Cleal, C.J. 2005. The life and work of Emily Dix (1904-1972). In A.J. Bowden, C.V. Burek & R. Wilding, R (eds), History of palaeobotany: selected essays. Geological Society of London (Special Publication, 241), pp. 181-196.