Philip Wilby

Dr Philip Wilby

Palaeobiologist and geologist
BGS Keyworth


Phil is a palaeobiologist and the Team Leader for Palaeontology in BGS, with particular expertise in taphonomy and sedimentary geochemistry. He also has extensive field experience, particularly in Wales, focusing on the architecture of turbidite systems and the distribution of Quaternary deposits.

Philip Wilby’s Biography

  • 2013 – ongoing : BGS Skills Leader
  • 2012 – ongoing : Palaeontology Team Leader
  • 1996 – ongoing : Survey Geologist, BGS
  • 2010 –2013 : Honorary Researcher, Leicester University
  • 2009 –2011 : Head of Jurassic Surveys & Research
  • 2007 –2009 : Regional Geologist for the East Midlands
  • 1994 –1996 : PDRA, Department of Geology, Bristol University
  • 1989 –1993 : PhD, Open University, Taphonomy
  • 1986 –1989 : BSc Hons, Leicester University, Geology


  • Project management – NERC Science Budget, NERC grants and Commercial
  • Commercial projects relating to national infrastructure, groundwater resources, mineral resources, planning and site investigations

Research interests

  • Taphonomy: the quality of the fossil record
  • Ediacaran biotas and the development of ‘modern’ marine ecosystems
  • Mudrock facies and geochemistry: environmental proxies and diagenetic processes
  • Geology of the Welsh Basin
  • Organic-mineral interactions and the fate of buried organic matter

Current projects and collaborations

  • BGS Research Line 23. The fate of buried organic carbon: from pore to planet
  • Knighton District (BGS 1:50k sheet 180): survey of the bedrock and superficial deposits
  • Are all Marine Bands born equal? BGS cross-cutting stratigraphy project

NERC Open Research Archive — Philip Wilby

Key papers

  • Hearing, T W, Harvey, T H P , Williams, M, Leng, M J, Lamb, A L, Wilby, P R, Gabbott, S E, Pohl, A & Donnadieu, Y. 2018. An early Cambrian greenhouse climate. Science Advances, 4, eaar5690.
  • Morgan, D J R, Raines, M G, Thorpe, S, Castellaro, S, Bailey, E & Wilby, P R. 2017. Passive Seismic Surveying: A new and cost-effective site-assessment tool for the quarrying industry. Quarry Management, March 2017, 20-22.
  • Boon, D P, Chamber, J E, Hobbs, P, Merritt, A, Dashwood, C, Pennington, C, Kirkham, M. & Wilby, P R. 2015. A combined geomorphological and geophysical approach to characterising relict landslide hazard on the Jurassic Escarpments of Great Britain. Geomorphology, 248, 296-310.
  • Noble, S R, Condon, D J, Carney, J N, Wilby, P R, Pharaoh, T C & Ford, T D 2014. U-Pb geochronology and global context of the Charnian Supergroup, UK: Constraints on the age of key Ediacaran fossil assemblages. GSA Bulletin, 127, 250-265.
  • Glass, K E, Ito, S, Wilby, P R, Sota, T, Nakamura, A, Bowers, C R, Miller, K E, Dutta, S, Summons, R E, Briggs, D E G, Wakamatsu, K, & Simon, J D. 2013. Impact of diagenesis and maturation on the survival of eumelanin in the fossil record. Organic Geochemistry, 64, 29-37.
  • Glass, K E, Ito, S, Wilby, P R, Sota, T, Nakamura, A, Bowers, C R, Vinther, J, Dutta, S, Summons, R, Briggs, D E G, Wakamatsu, K, & Simon, J D. 2012. Direct chemical evidence for eumelanin pigment from the Jurassic period. PNAS, 109, 10218-10223.
  • Wilby, P R, Carney, J N & Howe, M P A. 2011. A rich Ediacaran assemblage from eastern Avalonia: Evidence of early widespread diversity in the deep ocean. Geology, 39, 655-658.
  • Woods, M A, Wilby, P R, Leng, M J, Rushton, A W A & Williams, M. 2011. The Furongian (late Cambrian) Steptoean Positive Carbon Isotope Excursion (SPICE) in Avalonia. J. Geol. Soc., London, 168, 851-861.
  • Page, A, Gabbott, S E, Wilby, P R & Zalasiewicz, J A. 2008. Ubiquitous Burgess Shale-style “clay templates” in low-grade metamorphic mudrocks. Geology, 36, 855-858.
  • Barclay, W J, Browne, M A E, Macmillan, A A, Pickett, E A, Stone, P & Wilby, P R. 2005. The Old Red Sandstone of Great Britain. JNCC.
  • Hambrey, M J, Davies, J R, Glasser, N F, Waters, R A, Dowdeswell, J A, Wilby, P R, Wilson, D & Etienne, J L. 2001. Devensian glacigenic sedimentation and landscape evolution in the Cardigan area of southwest Wales. J. Quaternary Science, 16, 455-482.
  • Wilby, P R, Briggs, D E G, Bernier, P & Gaillard, C. 1996. Role of microbial mats in the fossilization of soft tissues. Geology, 24, 787-790.
  • Briggs, D E G, Kear, A J, Martill, D M & Wilby, P R. 1993. Phosphatization of soft-tissue in experiments and fossils. J. Geol. Soc., London, 150, 1035-1038.


  • Imaging and microanalysis of mudrocks and fossil materials
  • Research project design and leadership
  • Mapping structurally complex and glaciated terrains
  • Sedimentary logging and palaeoenvironmental interpretation


  • 1995 – President’s Award, Palaeontological Association

Professional associations

  • 2018 – ongoing:Fellow of the Geological Society, London
  • 1990 – ongoing:Member of the Palaeontological Association

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