Monday, December 7, 2015 - 4:00pm
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Haller Hall, GM 102, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge

EPS Colloquium Series

Dr. David Johnston, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of Natural History, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard, will discuss “An Imperfect History of Phanerozoic O2.” This seminar will cover three parallel research trajectories that all speak to Paleozoic O2 levels. This narrative will touch on everything from protein-level sulfur isotope fractionations, through to database approaches and novel isotope systematics. 

Abstract: The story of Earth's biological and chemical evolution is locked within the geological record of marine sedimentary rocks. Drafting that evolutionary narrative, however, requires a means of accessing and calibrating these rock records. Traditional approaches lean heavily elements like carbon and the relative abundance of its isotopes to reconstruct paleo-environments  and, most notably the history of atmospheric O2. More recently, sulfur and iron based storylines have emerged in complement to that of carbon. The collection, and more importantly the parallel analysis of these three element cycles presents a great opportunity to further sharpen our understanding of Earth history and atmospheric oxygen. As direct O2 proxies remain elusive to absent, proxy development and calibration remains the best vehicle. Developing new tools to recapitulate this story is therefore at the core of my research.

Post-talk reception to follow in Hoffman Lounge, 4th floor.

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Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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EPS Colloquium Series | Harvard University Center for the Environment


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