Animals, oxygen, and the terminal Proterozoic
I am a geobiologist investigating the relationship between the oxygenation of the deep oceans in the Neoproterozoic (1-0.542 billion years ago) and the origin and earliest evolution of animal life. I address this historical problem by experimenting on modern organisms, such as marine sponges and choanoflagellates, that serve as living models for extinct taxa. I am specifically interested in the oxygen requirements of basal animals and the role of oxygen during the evolution of animal-grade multicellularity. More broadly, I am interested in how global environmental change is coupled to evolutionary innovation.