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.  He is a School Visitor and has recently retired, very keen to get back to research after a later career in management. 

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 to establish an online facility 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.
  • 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.
  • Conodont biostratigraphy and regional geology:  Hodgkinson Province; Yarrol Province, Canberra region.


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=...)

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

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.