Dr Aubrey Zerkle

Dr Aubrey Zerkle
Reader; Director of Postgraduate Studies


I am a biogeochemist and a PI of the Peter James Clark Centre for Philosophical Geobiology. My primary interests are in the early Earth and extraterrestrial environments.

Research in my group focuses on understanding the co-evolution of life with planetary environments over geologic timescales. We utilize a multi-disciplinary approach, including stable isotope geochemistry, microbiology, trace element and nutrient analyses, to examine these interactions and possible feedbacks in modern and paleo-environments. Current research projects revolve around three broad areas:

1. Investigating feedbacks between the geosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere during important transitions in Earth history, including the Great Oxidation Event, Punctuated Haze Events, and mass extinction events;

2. Examining biogeochemical cycling in extreme environments that act as modern "analogues" to ancient Earth and exoplanetary systems (e.g., euxinic and acidic environments);

3. Establishing and evaluating stable isotope biosignatures for microbial activity, on Earth and beyond.

source: symbiosis


Recent publications listed in research@st-andrews
Lammer, H, Zerkle, AL, Gebauer, S, Tosi, N, Noack, L, Scherf, M, Pilat-Lohinger, E, Güdel, M, Grenfell, JL, Godolt, M & Nikolaou, A 2018, 'Origin and evolution of the atmospheres of early Venus, Earth and Mars' Astronomy and Astrophysics Review, vol 26, no. 2. DOI: 10.1007/s00159-018-0108-y
Meyer, NR, Zerkle, AL & Fike, DA 2017, 'Sulphur cycling in a Neoarchean microbial mat' Geobiology, vol 15, no. 13, pp. 353-365. DOI: 10.1111/gbi.12227
Zerkle, AL, Poulton, SW, Newton, RJ, Mettam, C, Claire, MW, Bekker, A & Junium, CK 2017, 'Onset of the aerobic nitrogen cycle during the Great Oxidation Event' Nature, vol 542, pp. 465-467. DOI: 10.1038/nature20826
Izon, G, Zerkle, AL, Zhelezinskaya, Y, Farquhar, J, Newton, RJ, Poulton, SW, Eigenbrode, JL & Claire, M 2015, 'Multiple oscillations in Neoarchaean atmospheric chemistry' Earth and Planetary Science Letters, vol 431, pp. 264-273. DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2015.09.018
Farquhar, J, Zerkle, AL & Bekker, A 2014, Geologic and Geochemical Constraints on the Earth's Early Atmosphere. in H Holland & K Turekian (eds), Treatise on Geochemistry: Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences. 2nd edn, vol. 6: The Atmosphere - History, Elsevier, pp. 91-138. DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-08-095975-7.01304-8
Crowe, SA, Paris, G, Katsev, S, Jones, C, Kim, S-T, Zerkle, AL, Nomosatryo, S, Fowle, DA, Adkins, JF, Sessions, AL, Farquhar, J & Canfield, DE 2014, 'Sulfate was a trace constituent of Archean seawater' Science, vol 346, no. 6210, pp. 735-739. DOI: 10.1126/science.1258966
Zerkle, AL, Claire, M, Domagal-Goldman, SD, Farquhar, J & Poulton, SW 2012, 'A bistable organic-rich atmosphere on the Neoarchaean Earth' Nature Geoscience, vol 5, pp. 359-363. DOI: 10.1038/NGEO1425
Li, X, Gilhooly, W, Zerkle, AL, Lyons, T, Farquhar, J, Werne, J, Varela, R & Scranton, M 2010, 'Stable sulfur isotopes in the water column of the Cariaco Basin' Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, vol 74, pp. 6764-6778.
Fouke, B, Zerkle, AL, Walter, A, Pope, K, Ocampo, A, Wachtman, R, Grajales Nishimura, J, Claeys, P & Fischer, A 2002, 'Cathodoluminescence petrography and isotope geochemistry of KT impact ejecta deposited 360km from the Chicxulub crater, at Albion Island, Belize' Sedimentology, vol 49, pp. 117-138.

Contact Details:

Dr Aubrey Zerkle
Irvine Building
University of St Andrews
North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

tel: +44 01334 464949
fax: +44 01334 463949
room: 423 Irvine (office), D2-D4 Bute (labs)
email: az29@st-andrews.ac.uk



Scottish Oceans Institute
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Centre for Exoplanet Science

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