Ekologi och evolution av tidiga eukaryoter i neoproterozoikum: mikro och geokemisk undersökning

Tidsperiod: 2017-01-01 till 2019-12-31

Projektledare: Heda Agić

Finansiär: Vetenskapsrådet

Bidragstyp: Bidrag för anställning eller stipendier

Budget: 3 150 000 SEK

The Neoproterozoic Era (1000-541 million years ago) was a time of major environmental change in Earth´s history such as the oxygenation of the atmosphere and the oceans, low-latitude glacial episodes (Snowball Earth), radiation of eukaryotic clades and the origin of animals. Life in this period is predominantly represented by organic-walled microfossils. However evolutionary relationships between these eukaryotic fossils and their ecology are poorly understood.This multidisciplinary project combines a systematic study of the microfossil communities via high-resolution microscopy and chemical composition analysis, to investigate fossils diagnostic features and palaeoenvironments they inhabited. Sampling of several poorly investigated Tonian-Cryogenian rock successions from Baltica and Laurentia will provide fossils suitable for microstructural studies via SEM, TEM, FIB-EM. These data will reveal characters overlooked by usual light microscopy studies, show detailed morphological evolution in early eukaryotes and enable a better comparison with modern protists.  Analysis of carbon isotopic composition of individual fossils will help differentiate between the autotrophic and heterotrophic modes of life, revealing their place in the Neoproterozoic food pyramid. Additionally, comparison between these assemblages and geochemical change in their environments may provide further insight into adaptations of marine communities in various regions through Tonian and Cryogenian Periods.