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Roland Goldring, 1928-2005

The study of trace fossils has lost one of its founders in Roland. He did fundamental work on the ichnology of shallow-marine facies. His Geol Soc Memoir (1971) on the Baggy Beds of North Devon is a classic example of detailed fieldwork and careful observations of sedimentary structures and bed geometries, leading to inspired interpretations. Many of his papers show he had a genuine understanding of how animals were interacting with the sediment to create the patterns preserved. Roland saw traces where others had missed or not appreciated them. He was certainly an original thinker. Roland published many papers on ichnofabrics and ichnofacies, often in joint authorship, collaborating with many friends and colleagues around the world. He worked on formations of all ages - except for the Pliocene, as he used to say!

Roland travelled widely; his trip to Western Mongolia in 1993 was one he often talked about, with the discovery of trace fossils in Precambrian-Cambrian boundary strata. More recently he was extremely excited with the burrows he found in cores from the Khuff and Arab oolites of Saudi Arabia, and how the ichnofabrics related to reservoir properties. He also undertook research on the local rocks not far from Reading - Tertiary (Reading Beds) and Cretaceous (the Farringdon Sponge gravels were a favourite). Perhaps the culmination of Roland's work came with his book, Fossils in the Field - a very personal account of palaeoecology, so useful for students.

Roland was very much involved with the Palaeontological Association in the 1970s, editing Palaeontology for nine years and as Vice-President 1973-75. His inimitable editing style will be fondly remembered by authors (and his students!); he would leave notes in a barely legible scrawl. Roland was awarded a Lyell Fund in 1970 by the Geological Society for his contributions to palaeontology.

After degrees at Bristol (BSc 1952; PhD 1955), Roland had two years at St Andrews before going to Reading University as lecturer. He gave a variety of courses on the soft-rock side, but especially enjoyed the teaching of fieldwork and mapping. He was Reader in Geology when he retired in 1993, but continued research right until he died suddenly in August 2005. He married his wife Anne in 1958 and they had two daughters, Lesley (1959) and Ruth (1961).

Roland was special to many people and he will be sorely missed. He took a great interest in his students and kept in touch throughout their careers. He was always good for advice and support, and his Xmas cards always had a scrawled gem of sedimentological information. Roland had a distinctive and individual way of examining sediments in the field - close attention to detail, careful use of the hand lens, all very quiet and intense. He would collect his thoughts and then after careful consideration, point to some small insignificant-looking observation he had made, and come up with an insightful interpretation. That is how one will remember Roland.

Maurice Tucker