Dr Barry Fordham

BSc (Hons) University of Queensland, PhD University of Queensland, MBA University of New England, GAICD Australian Institute of Company Directors

ORCID 0000-0003-4825-1987; Researcher ID H-2284-20

Barry is a micropaleontologist with specialties in foraminifera, conodonts, phylogeny, databases, biostratigraphy, and regional geology.  Since his retirement from a later career in management, he has been keen to get back to research. 

His BSc at the University of Queensland gave him a very solid grounding across geology.  His PhD there, however, ended up being a fresh look at how to deal with the taxonomy and biostratigraphy of fossils given Darwinian evolution  -  yes, a little slow to respond to Charles’ theory!  His subject was Cenozoic planktic forams, using Miocene–Pleistocene oozes from two Deep Sea Drilling Project Sites (Lord Howe Rise; east equatorial Pacific).  Barry concluded that fossils could indeed be dealt with as evolutionary entities, with a host of flow-on advantages for applications in paleontology and other fields, but his solutions, presented in the thesis and later a monograph or two, have proved problematic for his peers.  However, this insight still drives much of his research passions.

Post-PhD, Barry statistically analysed global Permian paleobiogeography for an ARC Research Fellowship, then joined a geological consultancy conducting project development, then tutored in Earth Sciences and paleontology at Macquarie University, finally returning to Brisbane for a 17-year stint with the Geological Survey of Queensland (GSQ).  There he joined regional mapping programs, of especially the Paleozoic Hodgkinson and Yarrol Provinces, focussed on stratigraphic, structural, and tectonic problems.  To provide accurate dating control, he set up a long-running conodont processing laboratory uniquely focussed on recovery from sparsely conodontiferous rocks.

In the later part of his stint with the GSQ Barry gravitated towards management, driven to improve the Survey’s digital information capability, but achieved only mixed success.  This ultimately led to a later career in management per se, with stints in:  community telecommunications networks at the State Library of New South Wales, Sydney; national futures physical-economy modelling at CSIRO, Canberra; project geology and project facilitation at Geo Discovery in Brisbane and FrOGTech in Canberra, and finally Centre Manager of the Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems at ANU, Canberra.  During this period Barry’s interests grew in big-picture sustainability, especially influenced by a wonderful interdisciplinary team he “managed” at CSIRO.

Research interests

  • The “Stratophylogeny” Projects.  The ambitious aim is to grow international collaboration that brings together digital data and applications to draw phylogenies against stratigraphic time scales, as a resource to encourage greater use of phylogenies in paleontology and paleobiology.  Current work includes:  digital phylogenies of Cenozoic macroperforate planktic foraminifera, of the remaining planktic foraminfera, and of cibicidid benthic foraminfera; relational databases to generate evolutionary trees for the Geologic TimeScale Foundation’s TimeScale Creator on-line facility, calibrated ready for future time scales; and continuing development of the evolutionary trees tool within TimeScale Creator (with James G. Ogg, Abdullah Khan Zehady, both Purdue University).
  • Neogene Planktonic Foraminifera Working Group (2018 -- ).  Coordinator, Tracy Aze (University of Leeds); with 26 members.
  • Phylogeny of the Cenozoic planktonic foraminifera.  Leader, Grace S. Lamyman (University of Leeds); with Paul N. Pearson (Cardiff University), Bridget S. Wade (University College London), Jeremy R. Young (University College London), Tracy Aze (University of Leeds)
  • Implications of Mg–Ca chemistry of fossil foraminfera clades and its implications for paleothermometry:  led by Steve Eggins.
  • The apparatus of the Silurian conodont Coryssognathus:  instructive assemblages from the Yass Basin; statistics of element associations from England and Sweden; stratigraphic correlation between the Yass Basin and Canberra Silurian; improved control of Link & Druce’s zonation; age of cores from the Adavale basin, western Queensland (with Robert S. Nicoll, Geoscience Australia).
  • Conodont biostratigraphy and regional geology:  Hodgkinson Province; Yarrol Province, Canberra region.
  • Data Collections:

    Fordham, B. G. (2018). Cenozoic macroperforate planktonic foraminifera phylogeny of Aze & others (2011).  Relational database for TimeScale Creator Evolutionary Tree.  Corrected Version, July 2018. Canberra: Australian National University Data Commons Dataset anudc:5528 https://doi.org/10.25911/5b8df4bfb5ac9.

    Fordham, B. G., Aze, T., Haller, C., Zehady, A. K., Pearson, P. N., Ogg, J. G., & Wade, B. S. (2018). Cenozoic macroperforate planktonic foraminifera phylogeny of Aze & others (2011).  TimeScale Creator Evolutionary Tree.  Corrected Version, July 2018.  Five datapacks for Java software package. Canberra: Australian National University Data Commons Dataset anudc:5529 https://doi.org/10.25911/5b8df4ddb9497.

    Fordham, B. G., Aze, T., Haller, C., Zehady, A. K., Pearson, P. N., Ogg, J. G., & Wade, B. S. (2018). Future-proofing the Cenozoic macroperforate planktonic foraminifera phylogeny of Aze & others (2011).  Data repository for published article. Canberra: Australian National University Data Commons Collection anudc:5530 https://doi.org/10.25911/5b8df50c1f2bd.

    Zehady, A. K. (2019). Source code, Integrated Species–Phenon Tree feature, Evolutionary Tree column, TimeScale Creator visualization platform. Canberra: Australian National University Data Commons Collection anudc:5980 https://doi.org/10.25911/5db66f7bc1935.

    Zehady, A. K., Fordham, B. G., & Ogg, J. G. (2019). Cenozoic macroperforate planktonic foraminifera phylogeny of Aze & others (2011). TimeScale Creator Integrated Species–Phenon Tree. Corrected Version, July 2018. Four datapacks for Java software package. Canberra: Australian National University Data Commons Collection anudc:5981 https://doi.org/10.25911/5db66faba683b.

    Zehady, A. K., Fordham, B. G., & Ogg, J. G. (2019). Integrated species–phenon trees:  visualizing infraspecific diversity within lineages.  Data repository for published article. Canberra: Australian National University Data Commons Collection anudc:5982 https://doi.org/10.25911/5db66fd8c5127.


Selected publications:

(for more, go to https://anu-au.academia.edu/BarryFordham ; also  -  https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Barry_Fordham ; https://scholar.google.com.au/citations?hl=en&user=Ppwr9DMAAAAJ&view_op=...)

Zehady, A. K., Ogg, J. G., Fordham, B. G., Palem, G., Bobick, J. & Ogg, G. M. (2020)  Visualization of evolutionary relationships through geologic time in Timescale Creator.  Applied Computing and Geosciences, 8 (100037).  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acags.2020.100037

Zehady, A. K., Fordham, B. G., & Ogg, J. G. (2019)  Integrated species–phenon trees:  visualizing infraspecific diversity within lineages. Scientific Reports, 9: e18968.  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-55435-w.

Lamyman, G. S., Fordham, B. G., Pearson, P. N., Wade, B. S., Wignall, P. B., Cantalapiedra, J. L., Young, J. R., & Aze, T. (2019)  Morphological traits and macroevolution of Cenozoic planktonic foraminifera. In J. B. Riding, J. B., Hennissen, J. A. I., & Wilson, M. (Eds.), The Micropalaeontological Society Annual Conference 2019.   British Geological Survey, Keyworth UK, 13--14 November 2019, pp. 38–39.

Fordham, B. G., Aze, T., Haller, C., Zehady, A. K., Pearson, P. N., Ogg, J. G., & Wade, B. S. (2018)  Future-proofing the Cenozoic macroperforate planktonic foraminifera phylogeny of Aze & others (2011). PLoS ONE, 13(10): e0204625. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0204625

Fordham, B. G., Zehady, A. K., & Ogg, J. G. (2018)  Visualising foram phylogenies.  Oral presentation. Forams 2018:  International Symposium on Foraminifera; Foraminifera in a Changing World. Edinburgh, 17–22 June 2018.  Session XVII:  Evolution, Stratigraphy, and Geological Crises.

Thomson, S. A., Pyle, R. L., & others [including Fordham, B. G.]  (2018)  Taxonomy based on science is necessary for global conservation. PLoS Biology, 16(3), e2005075.  doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2005075

Fordham, B. G., Huber, B. T., & Haynes, S. J. (2016)  Evidence for ancestry in taxonomic studies:  lessons from mid-Cretaceous biserial planktonic foraminifera. Paper presented at the International Geological Congress, Abstracts Vol. 35, 35th International Geological Congress, Cape Town, South Africa, Aug. 27 - Sept. 4, 2016. 

Fordham, B. G. (1986)  Miocene–Pleistocene planktic foraminifers from D. S. D. P. Sites 208 and 77, and phylogeny and classification of Cenozoic species.  Evolutionary Monographs (6), University of Chicago:  200 pp., 25 pls.

Fordham, B. G. (1991)  A literature-based phylogeny and classification of Silurian conodonts.  Palaeontographica [Stuttgart], Abteilung A, 217 (1–3):  1–136.

Fordham, B. G. (1995)  Advantages of Comprehensive Taxonomy for routine systematic documentation in conodont biostratigraphy.  Boletín de la Academia Nacional de Ciencias, Córdoba [Argentina], 60:  469–482.

Fordham, B. G. (1992)  Chronometric calibration of mid-Ordovician to Tournaisian conodont zones:  a compilation from recent graphic-correlation and isotope studies.   Geological Magazine [University of Cambridge], 129:  709–721.

Fordham, B. G. (1998)  Silurian time:  how much of it was Prídolí?  In:  Gutiérrez-Marco, J. C. & Rábano, I. (Ed.), Proceedings of the Sixth International Graptolite Conference of the GWG (IPA) and the 1998 Field Meeting of the International Subcommission on Silurian Stratigraphy (ICSIUGS):  80–84.  Instituto Tecnológico Geominero de España, Madrid (Temas Geológico-Mineros, 23).

Murray, C. G., Blake, P. R., Hutton, L. J., Withnall, I. W., Hayward, M. A., Simpson, G. A., & Fordham, B. G. (2003)  Yarrol terrane of the northern New England Fold Belt:  forearc or backarc?  Discussion and Reply.  Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 50:  271–293.

Bultitude, R. J., Garrad, P. D., Young, D., Donchak, P. J. T., & Fordham, B. G. (2002)  Mungana Sheet 7763 Queensland.  1:100 000 Geological Map Commentary, Queensland Department of Mines and Energy.

Jones, R. K., Turner, S., & Fordham, B. G. (2000)  Late Devonian fauna from the Columbine Sandstone (Coffee Hill Member), Gap Creek, central New South Wales:  Palaeozoic vertebrate biochronology and global marine/non-marine correlation.  Final Report of IGCP 328 (1991–1996).  Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, 223:  523–541.

Bultitude, R. J., Garrad, P. D., Donchak, P. J. T., Domagala, J., Champion, D. C., Rees, I. D., Mackenzie, D. E., Wellman, P., Knutson, J., Fanning, C. M., Fordham, B. G., Grimes, K. G., Oversby, B. S., Rienks, I. P., Stephenson, P. J., Chappell, B. W., Pain, C. F., Wilford, J. R., Rigby, J. F., Woodbury, M. J. (1997)  Cairns Region.  In:  Bain, J. H. C. & Draper, J. J. (Ed.), North Queensland Geology.  AGSO Bulletin, 240:  225–325.

Bultitude, R. J., Donchak, P. J. T., Domagala, J., Fordham, B. G., & Champion, D. C. (1990)  Geology of the Hodgkinson Province.   In:  Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Pacific Rim Congress 90.  Proceedings, III:  75–81.  A. I. M. M., Parkville (Victoria).

McNamara, K. J. & Fordham, B. G. (1981)  Mid-Cautleyan (Ashgill Series) trilobites and facies in the English Lake District.   Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 34:  137–161.

Fordham, B. G. & Bell, G. D. (1978)  An empirical assessment and illustration of some multivariate morphometric techniques.   Journal of the International Association of Mathematical Geology, 10:  111–139.