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Resilient and Evolving Earth

Modern life on Earth is comprised of complex ecosystems of multicellular organisms, which have evolved from microbes over the last billion years. Plate tectonics and solar irradiation provide the energy, ingredients and setting for habitability by complex life. Past environmental processes challenging these ecosystems – such as ocean acidification, anoxia and climate change – interact with plate tectonics and hydrogeological processes. Throughout geological time these processes have caused major extinction events, though complex life has always recovered and evolved. Contemporary ecosystems are confronted with similar threats. Our research aims to quantify the geological, biological, chemical and physical processes driving the evolution of complex life on Earth, and to contextualize these with solid-Earth and ocean/climate evolution over the last billion years. By contrasting extinction events with intervening periods favourable for life, we aim to identify the nature and rates of key processes determining the limits of habitability and the recovery of ecosystems, and quantify the resilience of life at regional to global scales. Research is being conducted under three overlapping themes:

  • Life at the Edge
  • Earth in Balance
  • Continent-Ocean Interactions


  • Prof. Kliti Grice – Director  (Curtin University)
  • A/Prof. Maria Seton – Deputy Director (University of Sydney)
  • Prof. Morten Allentoft (Curtin University)
  • Dr Linda Armbrecht (University of Adelaide)
  • Prof. Jochen Brocks (Australian National University)
  • Prof. Chris Clark (Curtin University)
  • Prof. Alan Collins (University of Adelaide)
  • A/Prof. Marco Coolen (Curtin University)
  • Prof. Chris Elders (Curtin University)
  • Prof. Dorrit Jacob (Australian National University)
  • Prof. Dietmar Muller (University of Sydney)
  • Prof. Eelco Rohling (Australian National University)