Ass. Prof., University of Vienna

Dr. habil., University of Vienna

PhD, University of Birmingham

leyla.seyfullah at

Leyla Seyfullah

I work on fossil plants and their relationship to the modern plant biota. I am interested in how we got to the modern flora and the history of past ecosystems, and what lead to the shifts we see in plant evolution, particularly palaeoclimate change. I focus on plant groups that do not have flowers such as the gymnosperms (like conifers) and free-sporing plants (like ferns). I use anatomy, morphology, cuticles, pollen and spores to try to reconstruct and understand the fossil record of plants. I also specialize in amber (fossilized plant resins) research, examining the organisms preserved inside amber, but also understanding the amber as a chemo-fossil, as well as how the amber itself can become preserved. Understanding the reasons that resins are produced and then preserved as amber is a key to understanding resinous ecosystems today and in the past. I am interested in clarifying which groups of plants (living or extinct) produced the amber we find today and under which conditions. This work together also allows me to explore the effect of palaeoclimate on terrestrial ecosystems, and how this affected the evolution of plants (and their interaction with other organisms).




Plant anatomy and morphology

Plant defenses

Selected Publications

Seyfullah, L.J., Beimforde, C., Dal Corso, J., Perrichot, V., Rikkinen, J. and Schmidt, A.R., 2018. Production and preservation of resins–past and present. Biological Reviews, 93(3), pp.1684-1714.

Seyfullah, L.J., Roghi, G., Dal Corso, J. and Schmidt, A.R., 2018. The Carnian Pluvial Episode and the first global appearance of amber. Journal of the Geological Society, 175(6), pp.1012-1018.

Seyfullah, L.J., Roberts, E.A., Schmidt, A.R., Ragazzi, E., Anderson, K.B., Rodrigues do Nascimento, D., Ferreira da Silva Filho, W. and Kunzmann, L., 2020. Revealing the diversity of amber source plants from the Early Cretaceous Crato Formation, Brazil. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 20(1), pp.1-22.