Supervisors and Institutions
One fully-funded PhD position is currently available in the Animal Origins and Morphology Lab (ANOM Lab: http://unil.ch/paleo) at the Institute of Earth Sciences at the University of Lausanne. The project, fully-funded for four years, is supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation, and the successful applicants will work under the supervision of Dr. Damien Pas and Prof. Allison Daley. The PhD project will focus on developing an astronomical time scale for the evolutionary and ecological events of the Cambrian Explosion.
As a result of the severe lack of biostratigraphically-correlatable fossils (endemism is the rule during the Cambrian) and very rare high-precision radioisotopic dates, the Cambrian time scale remains among the least precise in all the Phanerozoic Eon. The absence of a high-resolution Geological Time Scale (GTS) for the Cambrian Explosion hampers our ability to robustly address a series of widely debated questions over the origin and the rate of the evolutionary and ecological events, their relationship with palaeoceanographic changes, and the claims on whether these events are globally synchronous. This project seeks to construct an astronomical time scale for the Cambrian, and link this new timeframe to major events during the early evolution animals.
In the first stage, the project will involve descriptive sedimentological fieldwork at four localities and lab work focusing on geochemical and geophysical preparation of samples that aims to develop a large numerical database (laboratory XRF analysis, δ13Ccarb, TOC and Magnetic susceptibility). This will provide the core data for times-series analyses. Construction of δ13Ccarb and TOC stratigraphic curves for each location will allow for correlation between the sites, and these data will also be investigated to provide insight into the relationship between Milankovitch cycles and the carton cycles during the Cambrian. The collected data will address questions related to the timing of Cambrian Explosion evolutionary events and how they were influenced by the mechanics of the solar system and global paleoceanographic changes.
The successful candidate will have the opportunity to develop sedimentological fieldwork skills, analytical lab skills and run time series protocol on the collected datasets using state of the art software. A six months stay abroad to train in climate modeling is planned for the successful candidate.