School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences
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Assistant Professor of Geological Sciences 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
Ph.D. Student in Geological and Environmental Sciences
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsExploring how systems of erosion and incision on the Colorado Plateau on the 100 ka to 1 Ma time scale. I utilize cosmogenic radionuclide dating, UAV surveys, and conceptual models to define processes, rates, and timings of erosion in arid landscapes.