School of Earth and Environment

Lewis Alcott Lewis Alcott

Postgraduate Researcher

Email address: eelja@leeds.ac.uk
Room: G13 28 University Road

Affiliation: Earth Surface Science Institute

Biography

I am a PhD student based in the Earth Surface Science Institute at the University of Leeds. I previously graduated with a Masters in Geoscience in the subjects of Geology with Physics. After this I worked at BOC Ltd managing industrial gas and equipment. My research focuses on the interplay between the Earth system and the biosphere over the Great Oxygenation Event.

Qualifications

PhD Candidate (2016 - Present)

MGeoSci Geology with Physics (2011 -2015) Keele University

  • Project Title - "Palaeoenvironment of Knowle Quarry, Shropshire, England. The effect of volcanic ash on Silurian coral reefs with a detailed comparison of several Wenlockian reefs."

Memberships/Fellowships

Geochemical Society - Student Member

European Association of Geochemistry - Student Member

The Palaeontological Society - Member

Research Interests

My key interests lie within the relationships between the Earth system and the biosphere. Linking the controls on the evolution of organisms and the Earth as a whole through time by applying modern and ancient analogues to a variety of environments. Primarily what the dynamics are which manage both realms and how they each play their own part.

Teaching Interests

Undergraduate practical demonstrating:

SOEE 1485 Mathematics for Earth, Environmental and Geographical Scientists

SOEE 1570 Geology 1 (Palaeontology)

SOEE 2145 Palaeoecology, Palaeobiology and Evolution

Project details

Project title

Early Earth oxygenation and links to the phosphorus cycle.

Supervisors

Dr Ben Mills and Professor Simon Poulton

Funding

I am funded by a Leeds Anniversary Research Scholarship.

Start date

1 October 2016

Project outline

The Great Oxidation Event (~2.4Ga-2.2Ga) induced a series of events which are heavily studied within Earth Science. This rise in oxygen to a few percent of modern day levels is believed to have been caused and controlled by a variety of factors. The evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis and its development is believed to have been a key driver in this increase along with changes in the Earth System during this critical and dynamic time period.

This major increase in oxygen ties with one of Earth's first major glaciations. This snowball Earth event alone would have disrupted and effected the steady systems established and developing over this time.

The Lomagundi carbon isoptope excursion (~2.1Ga) is also believed to have been a result in this rise in oxygen. Possibly from an increased nutrient input to cause drastic boosts in primary productivity across the globe.

This relationship of the Earth system with the biosphere has lead to several hypothesis justifying the GOE's cause, timing and effects. The bioavailability of nutrients depends not only on the supply to the oceans via weathering but also the behaviour of nutrients within the water column under the ever changing redox conditions during this period. Developing a greater understanding of phosphorus and trace element bioavailability over this major period in Earth history can potentially enhance our ability to decipher feedbacks to early planetary oxygenation.