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Research Interests

The research interests in the Sperling Lab are Earth history and the evolution of life, and the interactions between the biosphere and the geosphere. As such this research can generally be considered paleontology, insofar as paleontology encompasses all aspects of the history of life.

Consequently, we define our research agenda by the questions we are interested in, rather than the tools used. This research incorporates multiple lines of evidence, and multiple tools, to investigate questions in the history of life. These lines of evidence include fossil data, molecular phylogenetics, sedimentary geochemistry, and ecological and physiological data from modern organisms. Ultimately, the goal is to link environmental change with organismal and ecological response through the lens of physiology.

Information on the Sedimentary Geochemistry and Paleoenvironments Project (SGP) can be found here:



Collaborator Tiffani Fraser (Yukon Geological Survey) has published an article in Yukon Exploration and Geology detailing all the shale-related research occurring across Yukon Territory, including research from our lab.

Lab member Tom Boag, in colloboration with colleagues at Harvard, Virginia Tech, and Missouri, has co-authored a publication on the evolution of the Ediacara biota:

Lab member Malcolm Hodgskiss' masters research on the formation of molar-tooth structures in Proterozoic carbonates was published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters ( Congratulations Malcolm!