Andrew Knoll

Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
Harvard University
26 Oxford Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
Telephone: (617) 495-9306
Death Valley Portraits-3

Working with other members of the MIT NAI team, the Knoll lab will conduct field and laboratory research on evolution and environmental change at the dawn of the Neoproterozoic Era, about 1000 million years ago. We know that eukaryotic organisms, including a diversity of simple multicellular forms, lived in the oceans by 800 million years ago, but we know little about events leading up to this observed increase in diversity. Field research in Russia and elsewhere will focus on biological diversity and environmental conditions just before the observed change in diversity. Knoll’s group will also work collaboratively with other team members to understand the distribution of clay minerals in Proterozoic sedimentary successions and to calibrate remote sensing detections of clay mineralogy made by Mars orbiters. This and continuing research on a key Mars analog site at Rio Tinto, Spain, with colleagues from the Spanish Center for Astrobiology, aim to sharpen our interpretations of environmental signatures preserved in sedimentary rocks of our planetary neighbor.