Paleobotany and Micropaleontology
The Leonard R. Wilson Collection of Micropaleontology and Paleobotany comprises approximately 3,800 samples with associated palynological preparations (ca. 50,000 microscope slides), 8,000 macrofossil specimens, and comparative modern plant material. The total number of type and figured specimens in the collections numbers over 1,000. The collection was built largely through the work of the late Dr. Leonard "Dick" Wilson who was curator from 1962-1977. In addition, the collection also incorporates many of the samples and specimens, including type material, collected during his previous academic appointments from 1934-1962. The Collection is maintained by two full-time staff members: an assistant curator and a collection manager.
The primary strength of the collections is Pennsylvanian (Late Carboniferous) palynological (pollen and spores) and macrofossil (leaves, seeds, etc.) floras from Oklahoma and surrounding states (See distribution of collection map). Wilsons research focused on determining the composition and paleoecology of coals (peat swamps) and the collections extensively document the palynology of 11 of the 17 coal seams in Oklahoma. In addition to formally published papers, the paleopalynology and paleobotany collection holds samples collected and studied as part of 31 masters and Ph.D. theses conducted under Wilson from 1960-1976. Many of these theses describe localities that are no longer accessible either through mine abandonment or reclamation, new construction, or flooding for irrigation. In sum, the collections document the palynology (including aquatic microfauna) and paleobotany of sediments from the Ordovician to the Pleistocene and represent a significant source of data for comparative paleobotanical and paleoecological studies with other collections from other geographic regions.
Dr. Richard Lupia, Associate Curator
Margaret Landis, Collection Manager