Geobiology and Biogeochemistry

Low-temperature geochemistry enlists a wide range of traditional scientific disciplines (e.g. chemistry, biology, geology) to address questions involving Earth surface processes, modern climate studies, deep time, and many more.  At Harvard and under this heading, our department has a particular interest in the study of Earth history. Often termed Geobiology, our strengths include the study of paleontology, sedimentology, and biogeochemistry, all of which requires a truly interdisciplinary approach to science.

Faculty and their research interests:

David Johnston: Isotope geochemistry and historical geobiology; re-animating ancient ecosystems and ocean chemistry using stable isotope systems, chemical speciation techniques, modern microbial experiments (for calibration) and theoretical considerations

Andrew H. Knoll: Paleontology and sedimentary geology; astrobiology, Mars Exploration Rovers

Francis Macdonald: Earth history; field geology; tectonics; co-evolution of the crust, the ocean, climate, and life as revealed through field and geochemical studies of the stratigraphic record

Ann Pearson: Global organic carbon and nitrogen cycles; light stable isotope biogeochemistry; compound-specific d13C and D14C analysis of lipids and proteins; microbial metabolism in anoxic marine systems; sources of carbon to marine sediments; evolutionary history of lipid biosynthesis

Daniel Schrag: Geochemical oceanography, paleoclimatology, stable isotope geochemistry

Geobiology and Biogeochemistry Video Streams:

Daniel Stolper 041714 (New insights into the formation of methane at both low and high temperatures using stable isotopes)