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Research project


Project overview

The terrestrial biosphere is the thin outer layer of the Earth that sustains life and includes plants, soil and microbes. A small fraction of the terrestrial biosphere is washed into rivers and eventually deposited in the ocean. This process is important because it helps to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It may also be an important factor in mitigating future anthropogenic climate change. However, the importance of this process in future warm climates is one of the most poorly understood and quantified aspects of the climate system and remains a major gap in our understanding.

One way to test the behaviour of the Earth in warmer-than-present climate states is to examine the geological record. This is a central theme that has run throughout my research and can provide unique and powerful insights into our warm future. Using molecular fossils (biomarkers) and cutting-edge model simulations, I will use the geological record to test: 1) how the terrestrial biosphere responds to higher temperatures, and 2) how this influenced atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

This study will develop exciting new geochemical tools and will be relevant to other episodes of climate change during Earth's history. This work is timely and has the potential to provide a step-change in our understanding of the terrestrial biosphere and how the earth system responds to a substantial carbon cycle perturbation, such as current anthropogenic warming.

This project is funded by the Royal Society and the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).


Lead researcher

Dr Gordon Inglis PhD

Principal Research Fellow

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

Research outputs

Daniel Gaskell,
Matthew Huber,
Charlotte O'Brien,
Paul Acosta,
Christopher J. Poulsen,
& Pincelli M. Hull
, 2022 , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , 119 (11) , e2111332119
Type: article
Tripti Bhattacharya,
Jordon Hemingway,
Sarah Feakins,
& Jessica E. Tierney
, 2022 , Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences , 50 , 369--394
Type: article
Jaime Toney,
Jiang Zhu,
Christopher J. Poulsen,
Ulla Röhl,
Stewart S.R. Jamieson,
Jörg Pross,
Margot J Cramwinckel,
Srinath Krishnan,
Mark Pagani,
P.K. Bijl,
& James Bendle
, 2021 , Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology
Type: article
Megan Rohrssen,
Elizabeth M. Kennedy,
Erica M. Crouch,
J. Ian Raine,
Dominic Strogen,
David Naafs,
Margaret E. Collinson,
& Richard D. Pancost
, 2021 , Geology , 49 (5) , 520--524
Type: article
Jessica E. Tierney,
Christopher J. Poulsen,
Isabel Montanez,
Tripti Bhattacharya,
Ran Feng,
Heather Ford,
Bärbel Hönisch,
Sierra Petersen,
Navjit Sagoo,
Clay Tabor,
Kaustubh Thirumalai,
Jiang Zhu,
Natalie Burls,
Yves Godderis,
Brian T. Huber,
Linda Ivany,
Sandra Kirtland Turner,
Daniel Lunt,
Jennifer McElwain,
Benjamin Mills,
Bette L. Otto-Bliesner,
Andy Ridgwell,
& Yi Ge Zhang
, 2020 , Science , 370 (6517)
Type: review