Erik Sperling

NAI Postdoctoral Fellow
Harvard University
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
From July 2015: Assistant Professor in Geological and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University

Research Interests

My general research interests are earth history and the evolution of life, and the interactions between the biosphere and the geosphere. As such I consider myself a paleontologist, keeping in mind Bruce Runnegar’s statement:

“I like to take the catholic view that palaeontology deals with the history of the biosphere and that palaeontologists should use all available sources of information to understand the evolution of life and its effect on the planet.”

—Runnegar, 1986, Palaeontology, v. 29, p. 1-24.

Consequently, I define my research agenda by the questions I am interested in, rather than the tools I use. I incorporate multiple lines of evidence, and multiple tools, to investigate questions in the history of life. These lines of evidence include fossil data, molecular phylogenetics, sedimentary geochemistry, and developmental and ecological data from modern organisms.