A Tribute to Professor Marcelle BouDagher-Fadel
UCL Press is saddened by the recent death of Professor Marcelle BouDagher-Fadel, whose landmark books Biostratigraphic and Geological Significance of Planktonic Foraminifera and Evolution and Geological Significance of Larger Benthic Foraminifera were published by UCL Press.
Marcelle was a Professorial Research Associate at UCL, where she spent her academic life for over 40 years. She was an internationally recognised expert on foraminifera, microscopic marine organisms that are vital to today’s marine ecosystems.
Marcelle BouDagher-Fadel was a Professorial Research Associate at UCL, where she spent her academic life for over 40 years. She was an internationally recognised expert on foraminifera, microscopic marine organisms that are vital to today’s marine ecosystems. In the fossil record they play a vital role in enabling the reconstruction of past environments and stratigraphic dating.
Marcelle’s virtually unique microscope skills enabled her to identify, at the species level, fossil foraminifera in thin rock sections dating from the Holocene to the Carboniferous. This truly remarkable capability made her a highly sought-after collaborator, and she worked with many research teams from around the world. She authored over 200 scientific outputs, perhaps the most noteworthy being her two open access, definitive monographs on Larger Benthic Foraminifera and on Planktonic Foraminifera, published by UCL Press, which together have currently been downloaded over 67,000 times in more than 150 countries across the world.
Her work was wide-ranging and, for example, provided constraints on the timing of the Himalayan orogeny, the effect of the opening of the Atlantic on the distribution and migration of marine genera, the archaeology of Phoenician ports, and the effect of the opening of the Suez Canal on the Eastern Mediterranean fauna.
Marcelle studied for her first degree in Lebanon and came to the UK in 1980. She studied at UCL for her MSc and graduated from UCL with a PhD in 1986. She then worked for a year as Curator of the Micropalaeontology Collection in the then UCL Department of Geology, before taking a family career break.
In 1993 she was awarded a Royal Society Daphne Jackson Fellowship, which she held at UCL and that allowed her to return to research in a part-time capacity. From 1996 to 2005 she worked in UCL as a post-doctoral research fellow with Professors Alan Lord and Fred Banner. In 2005 she was employed as an Editorial Assistant for Elsevier’s Earth and Planetary Sciences Letters, working with the then Editor, Professor David Price in the UCL Department of Earth Sciences. In 2007 she was appointed as a Senior Research Associate working again with Professor Price in his then Office of the UCL Vice-Provost (Research). Her personally led research activity blossomed, working with industry and collaborators from around the world. She was promoted to Principal Research Associate in 2009, and then to Professorial Research Associate in 2016.
She will be fondly remembered by the UCL Press team for the warmth, kindness and drive towards making her work as accessible as possible to as many as possible. Our thoughts are with her family, friends and collaborators. She will be sorely missed.