Paleonet: My opinion (and you're welcome to it)
aidan_karley at mail.ru
Fri Feb 22 08:27:05 GMT 2008
In article <mailman.1.1203595211.1134.paleonet at nhm.ac.uk>, Roy Plotnick
<plotnick at uic.edu> wrote:
> A related weakness is the marked decline of paleontology
> at major oil companies. At one time, most companies had large
> in-house paleontological programs for paleoecology and biostratigraphy,
> including associated databases and collections.
> Today, many of these programs are either gone or much smaller,
> with much of the work being contracted out. Farley & Armentrout
> (2000) noted that the number of paleontologists employed
> at major oil companies declined 90% from 1985 to
> 2000! They also pointed to the accompanying decline of oil
> company support for paleontological research at universities and
I've got plenty to debate about this, but I think it would be
better to wait until the follow-up piece is in public, to avoid needless
The broad brush of my initial comment is - sure, the oil companies
themselves don't employ many bug watchers themselves (Shell UK has only 3
or 4, for example). But they don't do much microscope time themselves -
they'll typically have around one bug watcher out on a rig somewhere
(with several projects in work at any one time), with however many others
slaving away over a hot microscope in North Wales on background work.
I'd be more concerned over the prospect of a Tunguska-esque event
over North Wales seriously decimating the European bug watching
community. There's a strange concentration of companies working in this
field in that area - more than the "Robertson's" effect could
But we'll leave it for now, until the follow up is published. For
what it's worth, my look-ahead is to go out to a rig for Shell on the
28th or 29th, along with two bug watchers from a N.Wales company. I
wonder who it'll be?
Which reminds me ...
Is this a dinoflagellate I see before me? Close enough!
Aidan Karley, FGS
Written at Thu, 21 Feb 2008 17:59 GMT, but posted later.
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