Academic Year 2023-2024
Institution University of Aberdeen


School: School of Geosciences

Project: Did earthworms change the world? Investigating how animals and plants revolutionised carbon cycling in calcareous soils through deep time

Supervisors: Dr Alex Brasier, Dr Neil Ogle & Dr Stephen Bowden

Undergraduate Education: BSc Geology and Petroleum Geology, University of Aberdeen

Postgraduate Education: MSc Soil Science, University of Aberdeen

Research: Studies on modern-day soils demonstrate the importance of earthworms. These “ecosystem engineers” alter the mechanical and chemical properties of the soil. Their capability to consolidate loose soils and weaken compacted soils is becoming increasingly important for soil remediation. However, we lack understanding of the ramifications of earthworm development through the geological record.

To understand if the development of earthworms affected palaeosols we first need to explore palaeosols prior to their evolution. Using fieldwork, microscopy, and radioisotope dating, I will be comparing calcretes through deep time- exploring the similarities and differences of these palaeosols during different periods of animal and plant development. Aiming to answer, did earthworms change the world?


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