Dr Mark Fox-Powell

Dr Mark Fox-Powell
Research Fellow


My interests lie in maximising scientific return from upcoming or current planetary missions, particularly those that are exploring potential habitats for extraterrestrial life. In my research, I apply a range of geochemical, spectroscopic and microbiological techniques to answer questions central to the ongoing exploration of the solar system. My PhD at the University of Edinburgh investigated the geochemical constraints on habitability in simulated martian brines, and provided new insights into how the differences in aqueous chemistry on Earth and Mars has helped drive the differences in habitability we see today.

As a Leverhulme-funded research fellow at the University of St Andrews, working with Dr Claire Cousins (PI), I am using a combined field and laboratory approach to investigate how signatures of microbial life might become delivered to and preserved on the surfaces of icy moons such as Europa and Enceladus, and how they might be detectable to spacecraft.

Peer-reviewed publications

Fox-Powell, M. G., Osinski, G. R., Applin, D., Stromberg, J., Allender, E., Gázquez, F., Cloutis, E. & Cousins, C. R. (2019) Natural analogue constraints on Europa's non-ice surface material. Geophysical Research Letters doi: 10.1029/2018GL081339

Payler, S. J., Biddle., J. F., Sherwood Lollar, B., Fox-Powell, M. G., Edwards, T., Ngwenya, B. T., Paling, S. M. & Cockell, C. S. (2019) An Ionic Limit to Life in the Deep Subsurface. Frontiers in Microbiology 10: 426

Fox-Powell, M. G., Channing, A., Applin, D., Mann, P., Cloutis E. & Cousins, C. R. (2018) Cryogenic silicification of microorganisms in hydrothermal fluids. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 498 1-8

Stevens, A. H., Childers, D., Fox-Powell, M. G., Nicholson, N., Jhoti, E. & Cockell, C. S. (2018) Growth, viability and death of planktonic and biofilm Sphingomonas desiccabilis in simulated martian brines. Astrobiology doi:10.1089/ast.2018.1840

Fox-Powell, M. G. & Cockell, C. S. (2018) Building a geochemical view of microbial salt tolerance: Halophilic adaptation of Marinococcus in a natural magnesium sulfate brine. Frontiers in Microbiology 9: 739

Cockell C. S., Biller B., Bryce C., Cousins C., Direito S., Forgan D., Fox-Powell M. G., Harrison J., Landenmark H., Nixon S., Payler S. J., Rice K., Samuels T., Schwendner P., Stevens A., Nicholson N., & Wadsworth J. (2018) The UK Centre for Astrobiology: A Virtual Astrobiology Centre. Accomplishments and Lessons Learned, 2011–2016. Astrobiology 18 (2) 224-243

Fox-Powell, M. G., Hallsworth, J. E., Cousins, C. R. & Cockell, C. S. (2016) Ionic strength is a barrier to the habitability of Mars. Astrobiology 16 (6) 427-442

Cockell, C. S., Bush, T., Bryce, C., Direito, S., Fox-Powell, M. G., Harrison, J. P., et al., Habitability: A Review. Astrobiology 16: 89-117 (2016)

Stevenson, A., Burkhardt, J., Cockell, C. S., Cray, J. A., Dijksterhuis, J., Fox-Powell, M. G., et al., Multiplication of microbes below 0.690 water activity: implications for terrestrial and extraterrestrial life. Environmental Microbiology 17 (2) 257-277 (2014)

Submitted/In review:

Moreras-Marti, A., Fox-Powell, M. G., Zerkle, A., Gázquez, F., Brand, H. & Cousins, C. R. (In review) Geochemical controls on Mars analogue rhyolite- and basalt-hosted Icelandic hydrothermal environments. Geophysical Research Letters

source: symbiosis


7 (of 7 published available) for mgfp. (source: University of St Andrews PURE)
Please click title of any item for full details

An ionic limit to life in the deep subsurface Samuel J. Payler, Jennifer F. Biddle, Barbara Sherwood Lollar, Mark George Fox-Powell, Thomas Edwards, Bryne T. Ngwenya, Sean M. Paling, Charles S. Cockell
Frontiers in Microbiology 2019 vol.10
Growth, viability, and death of planktonic and biofilm Sphingomonas desiccabilis in simulated martian brines Adam H. Stevens, Delma Childers, Mark George Fox-Powell, Natasha Nicholson, Elisha Jhoti, Charles S. Cockell
Astrobiology 2019 vol.19 pp.87-98
Natural analogue constraints on Europa's non-ice surface material Mark George Fox-Powell, Gordon R. Osinski, Daniel Applin, Jessica M. Stromberg, Fernando Gázquez, Ed Cloutis, Elyse Allender, Claire Rachel Cousins
Geophysical Research Letters vol.Early View
Building a geochemical view of microbial salt tolerance Mark George Fox-Powell, Charles S. Cockell
Frontiers in Microbiology 2018 vol.9
Cryogenic silicification of microorganisms in hydrothermal fluids Mark George Fox-Powell, Alan Channing, Daniel Applin, Ed Cloutis, Louisa J. Preston, Claire Rachel Cousins
Earth and Planetary Science Letters 2018 vol.498 pp.1-8
The UK Centre for Astrobiology Charles S. Cockell, Beth Biller, Casey Bryce, Claire Rachel Cousins, Susana Direito, Duncan Forgan, Mark George Fox-Powell, Jesse Harrison, Hanna Landenmark, Sophie Nixon, Samuel J. Payler, Ken Rice, Toby Samuels, Petra Schwendner, Adam Stevens, Natasha Nicholson, Jennifer Wadsworth
Astrobiology vol.18
Ionic strength is a barrier to the habitability of Mars Mark George Fox-Powell, John Hallsworth, Claire Rachel Cousins, Charles Cockell
Astrobiology 2016 vol.16 pp.427-442

Contact Details:

Dr Mark Fox-Powell
Irvine Building
University of St Andrews
North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

tel: 01334 463936
room: 510
email: mgfp@st-andrews.ac.uk



School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

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