Radiolarians form an important part of the early Palaeozoic (530-350 Ma) planktonic realm. However, their origins and evolutionary development still elude us. This is in large part due to the absence of organic remains. Understanding their evolutionary patterns, phylogenetic relationships and the taxonomy relies on our ability to observe complete structural details. The classical technique in determining the age of deep marine sediments using radiolarian biostratigahphy has huge potential to resolve many long-standing tectonic problems and is applicable to similar systems globally. This method has been used to constrain the timescale of processes involved in the formation of ophiolites, which adds understanding to the evolution of collision systems, in particular the opening and spreading of the various parts of the Mesozoic Tethyan, oceanic realm.

Sarah uses classical methodologies to make a contribution of global significance, and also explores new 3D micro-CT technology to elucidate skeletal architecture evolution that will help to unlock the biostratigraphic potential of Early Palaeozoic (roughly 470 Ma) radiolarians. Advances in 3-D X-ray imaging technology finally present us with an opportunity to make observations at sufficient resolution in a non-destructive manner.

Funding: UQRS
Advisors: Prof Jonathan AitchisonProf Jamie Shulmeister

Project members

Sarah Kachovich

Sarah Kachovich

PhD candidate