1) Determine initial/minimal conditions for the emergence of oxygenic photosynthesis
2) Decoding the chemistry of the early atmosphere and ocean
* Speciation / metal concentration / redox state / pH
* Redox evolution through S cycling and H cycling (H-escape)
3) Reconstructing the history of metabolic evolution between LUCA and oxygenic photo-synthesis: Systematic microbiology
4) Developing new isotopic proxies for testing (2) and (3) (e.g., intramolecular signatures)
5) Coupling to thermo-chemical evolution of solid Earth (crust, mantle, and core) and the role of volcanic outgassing, hydrothermal circulation, magnetic field, etc.
Redox evolution is a key to understand early evolution of the biosphere as well as the origin of life.
We are trying to understand how the chemistry of the ocean and atmosphere changed through the combination of biological and geological co-evolutionary processes through interdisciplinary research based on geomicrobiology, evolutionary biology, genome analysis, geology and geochemistry.
ELSI researchers are now developing new biogeochemical tracers for the chemistry of the early atmosphere and ocean, as well as trying to create proto-cyanobacteria artificially in the laboratory.
Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer