DCO’s Executive Director, Robert Hazen (Carnegie Institution of Washington, USA), has been awarded a $1.4 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation for a three-year data-driven research project on the co-evolution of the planet’s biology and geology.
Earth’s story is a 4-billion-year saga of dramatic transformations driven by physical, chemical, and biological processes. The planet’s living and non-living components have co-evolved together over the ages.
Yet our ability to document, model, and explore these changes is hampered by a lack of data that’s integrated between disciplines. Hazen is part of a multi-institution team that seeks to trace the planet’s co-evolution by curating data integration between a variety of fields including mineralogy, paleobiology, tectonics, geochronology, proteomics, and geochemistry.
Hazen, who developed the concept of mineral evolution, will co-lead the project, which aims to document and understand the near-surface chemistry of earth over 4 billion years. It is hoped that their findings will enrich all of the involved fields as new patterns and phenomena are revealed, including results that will elucidate environmental changes happening currently.
“We are thrilled to be working with the W.M. Keck Foundation on this work, which we hope will establish a model for 21st century, open-access, data-driven science,” Hazen said. "This award is particularly exciting for the Deep Carbon Observatory, as it addresses the critical question of Earth's changing carbon cycle through deep time."
The other partner institutions are University of Arizona, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, and Rutgers University.
This article was adapted from a Carnegie Institution of Washington press release.