Thrombolites at Lake Hawdon, South Australia. Image: A. Chagas

Understanding early life

The ability to recognise the presence of living microorganisms and their ancient counterparts in marine precipitates, i.e., microbialites (rocks made by microbial communities), is crucial for understanding the development and history of early life on Earth.

As our understanding of these ecosystems increases, we find that such rocks hold the keys to understanding the geochemical evolution of the oceans and linked Earth systems.

Many samples preserve geochemical evidence of the water chemistry from which they precipitated.

This project is aimed at testing the fine distribution of ambient and bio-active nutrient metals accumulated within modern and ancient microbialites.

Project members

Professor Gregory Webb

Dorothy Hill Chair in Paleontology
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences