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Departments & Programs



Departmental research in Geobiology explores the interrelationships between the history of life and the history of Earth and other planetary bodies. Current research topics include Precambrian life and evolution, early tectonic and surface systems on Earth, the early history of water on Mars, the causes and consequences of mass extinction events, and controls on evolutionary trends in the history of animal life. Sedimentological, geochemical, isotopic, molecular biomarker, and statistical approaches are employed.

Topics of Study

Weathering and sediment generation in the Archean
Profile: Don Lowe (GES)

Synthesis and stability of peptides in early Earth hydrothermal systems
Profile: Dennis Bird (GES)

End-Permian mass extinction and Triassic recovery
Profile: Jonathan Payne (GES)

Extinction selectivity in the fossil record
Profile: Jonathan Payne (GES)

Evolution of body size: intrinsic and extrinsic controls
Profile: Jonathan Payne (GES)

Evolutionary ecology during the rise of dioxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere
Profile: Dennis Bird (GES) and Norman Sleep (Geophysics)