I am an astrobiologist: a geoscientist interested in the co-evolution of life and planetary environments across large spans of space and time. My research at the University of Edinburgh’s UK Centre for Astrobiology explores how rocks, minerals and sediments on Earth and Mars can select, shape and sustain communities of organisms, and how organisms in turn produce, degrade and modify rocks and minerals to leave lasting traces. I use experimental, analytical and field-based techniques, and publish in a wide range of journals.
Active research questions include:
- How can micro-organisms become fossilised deep underground?
- How can we recognise and study such fossils?
- How do fossils from Earth inform the search for past or present life on Mars?
- How do soft animal and plant tissues fossilise?
- What is the role of micro-organisms in controlling the biogeochemistry and physical properties of sediments?