The study of the evolution of life, ancient environments, ocean dynamics, past climate change, and the resulting interactions and feedback mechanisms is the key to decipher the long history of the Earth system and to explore its complexity. Without a profound and quantitative knowledge of the Earth’s past, we would be very limited in understanding presently occurring climate and environmental change. The study of the history of the Earth allows tracing phases of severe ice and hot houses, decisive extinction and radiation events in life’s evolution, episodes of widespread anoxic conditions in ancient oceans, and paleoenvironmental and evolutionary change in general. The pole includes research in paleontology, focusing on evolutionary patterns, ocean dynamics, and preservation mechanisms, and sedimentology and sedimentary geochemistry, focusing on phases of important paleoenvironmental change and major turnover in life’s evolution.
Permanent research team
Prof. Allison Daley
I am a Palaeontologist interested in the early evolution of arthropods and predation, in particular Cambrian stem-lineage taxa from exceptionally preserved fossil deposits such as the Burgess Shale in Canada and the Emu Bay Shale in Australia. My focus is on a clade of stem-lineage arthropods known as the anomalocaridids, which includes some of the most renown taxa from the Cambrian, owing to their large size, unusual morphology, complicated history of description, and interpretation as top predators.
Lines of research:
- Paleontology of invertebrate animals
- Exceptional preservation and fossils Burgess Shale-type
- Phylogenetic analyses
Research group: Animal Origins and Morphology Lab (ANOM Lab)
Paleoenvironment and mass extinctions
Prof. Thierry Adatte
My primary research interests concern major catastrophes in Earth's history in the broadest sense, including meteorite impacts and episodes of major volcanic eruptions, and their biotic effects. This research integrates paleontology, stratigraphy, sedimentology, clay mineralogy and geochemistry in reconstructing past environmental change associated with or leading up to mass extinctions. My research covers a wide variety of climatic and oceanographic problems from the Phanerozoic and concentrates on the global aspects of major environmental changes (e.g., Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary mass extinction, Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum, global oceanic anoxic events, end-Devonian mass extinction). Other preferred topics include environmental geology, paleoclimatology, global change, phosphorus and carbon cycles, feedback loops, evolution of carbonate platforms, large-scale changes in carbonate facies, sequence stratigraphy, continental weathering systems, chemical weathering, soil formation, in Cretaceous, Tertiary and Quaternary deposits.
Lines of research:
- Mass extinctions
- Environmental changes
- Marine ecology
Associated research groups