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Research Interests

The research interests in the Sperling Lab are Earth history and the evolution of life, and the interactions between the biosphere and the geosphere. As such this research can generally be considered paleontology, insofar as paleontology encompasses all aspects of the history of life.

Consequently, we define our research agenda by the questions we are interested in, rather than the tools used. This research incorporates multiple lines of evidence, and multiple tools, to investigate questions in the history of life. These lines of evidence include fossil data, molecular phylogenetics, sedimentary geochemistry, and ecological and physiological data from modern organisms. Ultimately, the goal is to link environmental change with organismal and ecological response through the lens of physiology. This work across multiple time scales, from ancient to modern global change. 

Information on the Sedimentary Geochemistry and Paleoenvironments Project (SGP) can be found here:



First year doctoral student Andy Marquez has received the Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation--congratulations Andy!!!

The first paper from the Sedimentary Geochemistry and Paleoenvironments Project (SGP) has been published early online at Geochemical Perspectives Letters. The paper, which is available here, was led by Alex Lipp and Oliver Shorttle, and investigated changing records of provenance and weathering through geologic time.

So we can't really count this as work from the lab, but the paper is so cool it has to be highlighted. Post-doc Murray Duncan has recently published work from his Phd thesis using the Metabolic Index to demonstrate how variable oxygen and temperature conditions set range limits for the Roman Seabream in South Africa. These analyses also predict how global change will likely affect its range in the future. The paper is published here in Conservation Physiology.