School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences
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Assistant Professor of Geological Sciences and, by courtesy, of Biology and Center Fellow, by courtesy, at the Woods Institute for the Environment
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsThe 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 developmental and ecological data from modern organisms. Ultimately, the goal is to link environmental change with organismal and ecological response through the lens of physiology.
Our field research takes place all over the world--current areas include:
-NW Canada (Yukon and Northwest Territories): Research has been conducted on the early Neoproterozoic Fifteenmile Group, Cryogenian and Ediacaran Windermere Supergroup, and on the Ordovician-Devonian Road River Group in the southern Richardson Mountains
-Southern Canadian Cordillera: Work here has focused on the early Cambrian Mural Formation and its soft-bodied fauna.
-England and Wales: Cambrian-Silurian successions in the Welsh Basin
-Namibia: Ediacaran Nama Group
-Upwelling zones: We study the oxygen minimum zone offshore California as an analogue for ancient low-oxygen oceans.
Professor of Geological Sciences, Emeritus
Current Research and Scholarly Interestsstructure and dynamics of crystalline, glassy, and molten inorganic materials and how these relate to geologically and technologically important properties and processes; solid state Nuclear Magnetic Resoance (NMR); mineralogy; igneous petrology; glass science
Assistant Professor of Geophysics and, by courtesy, of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Center Fellow, by courtesy, at the Woods Institute for the EnvironmentOn Leave from 04/01/2021 To 06/30/2021
BioBefore joining Stanford in January 2014, I held a position as Lecturer in Applied Mathematics and as a Ziff Environmental Fellow at Harvard. I hold a PhD in Geophysics from MIT and a Master in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. Prior to joining graduate school, I worked as a scientific consultant for different international organizations aiming to reduce the impact of natural and environmental disasters in vulnerable communities. The goal of my research is to advance our basic understanding and predictive capabilities of complex multi-phase flows that are fundamental to Earth science. I pursue this goal by developing original computational methods customized for the problem at hand. The phenomena I explore range from the microscopic to the planetary scale and space a wide variety of geophysics systems such as volcanoes, glaciers, and magma oceans. I have taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in scientific, planetary evolution, and natural disasters. Since arriving at Stanford in January 2014, I have co-taught GES 118, Understanding Natural Hazards, Quantifying Risk, Increasing Resilience in Highly Urbanized Regions