Evolution and Past Environments

Microscope photo of a thin section of fossil fragments

Evolution and Past Environments is concerned with reconstructing environmental conditions and the evolution of life from 'deep time' (Palaeozoic and Cenozoic) to the Anthropocene. This theme includes the Centre for Palaeobiology and the Anthropocene Research Group.

Research in this theme aims to enhance our knowledge of past environments, past climates and the processes and patterns of the evolution of life to inform us about our current and future world. The geological record provides us with critical information on how the Earth responds to major changes. We research the complex interactions and feedbacks between the atmosphere, oceans and terrestrial land surfaces to examine the interactions between the biosphere and other components of the Earth system at a range of temporal and spatial scales.

Using palaeontology, palynology, sedimentology, organic and inorganic geochemistry, stable isotope fractionation and geochronology (optically-stimulated luminescence), our research is supported by excellent analytical facilities and well-equipped laboratories in the School and through partnerships with other departments in the College of Science and Engineering.

Our researchers publish in journals of the highest international quality, and have strong links with other laboratories around the world. Our research is supported by NERC, The European Union, ERC, DFG, Newton-NERC, The Royal Society, National Geographic, The Leverhulme Trust, The Geological Society of London, and the British Geological Survey.