He made one of the most comprehensive studies on the Glossopteris Flora, the main component of the fossil deposits of mineral coal in Brazil.
David White won the Thompson Medal in 1931 and the Walcott Medal in 1934. He "himself considered that his structure-carbon ratio for the occurrence of oil and gas was his greatest scientific achievement."
^White, D. (1908) Fossil Flora of the Coal Measures of Brazil, pp. 337-617 + 14 plates IN: White, I.C. (1908) "Commissão de Estudos das Minas de Carvão de Pedra do Brazil”, Final Report, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Part I, p. 1-300 ; Part II, p. 301-617 [Bilingual report, Portuguese & English]. (Facsimile edition: 1988)