How have the biosphere, lithosphere, and hydrosphere interacted through time and space to drive the long-term evolution of the integrated Earth system?
This overarching question motivates most of my research. Specifically, the Macrostrat research group is involved in quantifying the spatial and temporal distribution of rocks, sediments, fossils, and geochemical proxy records at multiple different spatial and temporal scales, from daily growth bands in organisms, to regional patterns of sedimentation tracked over tens of millions of years, to the 3.8 billion year record in the upper crust of an entire continent. The goal: to better describe the history of Earth systems, to develop and test hypotheses for what has controlled that history, and to build empirically constrained forward models of biological and physical environmental change over time.
Synthesis of fundamental stratigraphic and paleobiological data is critical to addressing many important questions, ranging from the global trajectory of biodiversity to long-term carbon cycling. I am involved in several relevant database and database building initiatives:
I regularly teach: