Dr Aubrey Zerkle

Dr Aubrey Zerkle
Reader; Director of Postgraduate Research


I am a biogeochemist and a PI of the Peter James Clark Centre for Philosophical Geobiology. My primary interests are in the early Earth and extraterrestrial environments.

Research in my group focuses on understanding the co-evolution of life with planetary environments over geologic timescales. We utilize a multi-disciplinary approach, including stable isotope geochemistry, microbiology, trace element and nutrient analyses, to examine these interactions and possible feedbacks in modern and paleo-environments. Current research projects revolve around three broad areas:

1. Investigating feedbacks between the geosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere during important transitions in Earth history, including the Great Oxidation Event, Punctuated Haze Events, and mass extinction events;

2. Examining biogeochemical cycling in extreme environments that act as modern "analogues" to ancient Earth and exoplanetary systems (e.g., euxinic and acidic environments);

3. Establishing and evaluating stable isotope biosignatures for microbial activity, on Earth and beyond.

source: symbiosis


38 (of 38 /dk/atira/pure/researchoutput/status/published available) for az29. (source: University of St Andrews PURE)
Please click title of any item for full details

Anomalous fractionation of mercury isotopes in the Late Archean atmosphere Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Runsheng Yin, Chaoyue Chen, Xiangdong Li, Gareth Izon, Stephen Grasby
Nature Communications 2020 vol. 11
The atmospheres of rocky exoplanets Oliver Herbort, Peter Woitke, Christiane Helling, Aubrey Lea Zerkle
Astronomy & Astrophysics 2020 vol. 636
The pyrite multiple sulfur isotope record of the 1.98 Ga Zaonega Formation K. Paiste, A. Pellerin, Aubrey Lea Zerkle, K. Kirsimäe, Tony Prave, A. E. Romashkin, A. Lepland
Earth and Planetary Science Letters 2020 vol. 534
Ammonium availability in the Late Archaean nitrogen cycle Jie Yang, Chris Junium, Nathalie Grassineau, Euan Nisbet, Gareth Izon, Anthony Martin, Aubrey Lea Zerkle
Nature Geoscience 2019 vol. 12 pp. 553-557
Anaerobic nitrogen cycling on a Neoarchean ocean margin Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Mark Claire, Tony Prave, Simon W. Poulton, Christopher K. Junium
Earth and Planetary Science Letters 2019 vol. 527
Nitrate Reduction Aubrey Lea Zerkle
Nitrates as a potential N Supply for microbial ecosystems in a hyperarid Mars analog system Jianxun Shen, Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Eva Elisabeth Stueeken, Mark Claire
Life 2019 vol. 9
Biogeodynamics Aubrey Lea Zerkle
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. A, Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 2018 vol. 376
Multiple sulphur isotope records tracking basinal and global processes in the 1.98 Ga Zaonega Formation, NW Russia Kart Paiste, Aivo Lepland, Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Kalle Kirsimae, Gareth Izon, Neel Patel, Fiona McLean, T. Kreitsmann, K Mand, T Bui, A Romashkin, D Rychanchik, Tony Prave
Chemical Geology 2018 vol. 499 pp. 151-164
Origin and evolution of the atmospheres of early Venus, Earth and Mars Helmut Lammer, Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Stefanie Gebauer, Nicola Tosi, Lena Noack, Manuel Scherf, Pilat-Lohinger Elke, Manuel Gudel, John Lee Grenfell, Mareike Godolt, Athanasia Nikolaou
Astronomy and Astrophysics Review 2018 vol. 26
Two-billion-year-old evaporites capture Earth's great oxidation Clara Blättler, Mark Claire, Tony Prave, K. Kirsimäe, J. A. Higgins, P. V. Medvedev, A. E. Romashkin, D. V. Rychanchik, Aubrey Lea Zerkle, K. Paiste, T. Kreitsmann, I. L. Millar, J. A. Hayles, H. Bao, A. V. Turchyn, Matthew Robert Warke, A. Lepland
Science 2018 vol. 360 pp. 320-323
Biological regulation of atmospheric chemistry en route to planetary oxygenation Gareth Izon, Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Kenneth Williford, James Farquhar, Simon Poulton, Mark Claire
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2017 vol. 114 pp. E2571-E2579
High-frequency fluctuations in redox conditions during the latest Permian mass extinction Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Mark Claire, Gareth Izon, Christopher Junium, Richard Twitchett
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 2017 vol. 485 pp. 210-223
Onset of the aerobic nitrogen cycle during the Great Oxidation Event Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Simon W Poulton, Robert J Newton, Mark Claire, Andrey Bekker, Christopher K Junium
Nature 2017 vol. 542 pp. 465-467
Sulphur cycling in a Neoarchean microbial mat Nicolette R Meyer, Aubrey Lea Zerkle, David A Fike
Geobiology 2017 vol. 15 pp. 353-365
The geobiological nitrogen cycle Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Sami Mikhail
Geobiology 2017 vol. 15 pp. 343-352
Sulfur isotope values in the sulfidic Frasassi cave system, central Italy Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Daniel Jones, James Farquhar, Jennifer Macalady
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 2016 vol. 173 pp. 373-386
Emerging biogeochemical views of Earth's ancient microbial worlds Timothy Lyons, David Fike, Aubrey Lea Zerkle
Elements 2015 vol. 11 pp. 415-421
Multiple oscillations in Neoarchaean atmospheric chemistry Gareth Izon, Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Yadviga Zhelezinskaya, James Farquhar, Robert J. Newton, Simon W. Poulton, Jennifer L. Eigenbrode, Mark Claire
Earth and Planetary Science Letters 2015 vol. 431 pp. 264-273
Geologic and Geochemical Constraints on the Earth's Early Atmosphere James Farquhar, Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Andrey Bekker
2014 vol. 6: The Atmosphere - History pp. 91-138
Sulfate was a trace constituent of Archean seawater Sean A. Crowe, Guillaume Paris, Sergei Katsev, CarriAyne Jones, Sang-Tae Kim, Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Sulung Nomosatryo, David A. Fowle, Jess F. Adkins, Alex L. Sessions, James Farquhar, Donald E. Canfield
Science 2014 vol. 346 pp. 735-739
Pathways for Neoarchean pyrite formation constrained by mass-independent sulfur isotopes James Farquhar, John Cliff, Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Alexey Kamyshny, Simon W. Poulton, Mark Claire, David Adams, Brian Harms
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2013 vol. 110 pp. 17638-17643
Quadruple sulfur isotope constraints on the origin and cycling of volatile organic sulfur compounds in a stratified sulfidic lake Harry Daniel Oduro, A. Kamyshny, Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Y. Li, J. Farquhar
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 2013 vol. 120 pp. 251-262
A bistable organic-rich atmosphere on the Neoarchaean Earth Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Mark Claire, Shawn D. Domagal-Goldman, James Farquhar, Simon W. Poulton
Nature Geoscience 2012 vol. 5 pp. 359-363
Biogeochemical sulfur cycling in the water column of a shallow stratified sea-water lake: Speciation and quadruple sulfur isotope composition Alexey Kamyshny, Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Zahra Mansaray, Irena Ciglenecki, Elvira Bura-Nakic, James Farquhar, Timothy Ferdelman
MARINE CHEMISTRY 2011 vol. 127 pp. 144-154
Geological constraints on the origin of oxygenic photosynthesis James Farquhar, Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Andrey Bekker
Photosynthesis Research 2011 vol. 107 pp. 11-36
Molybdenum isotope fractionation by cyanobacterial assimilation during nitrate utilization and N2 fixation Aubrey Lea Zerkle, K. Scheiderich, J. A. Maresca, L. J. Liermann, S. L. Brantley
Geobiology 2011 vol. 9 pp. 94-106
High isotope fractionations during sulfate reduction in a low-sulfate euxinic ocean analog Donald Canfield, James Farquhar, Aubrey Lea Zerkle
Geology 2010 vol. 38 pp. 415-418
Molybdenum isotope, multiple sulfur isotope, and redox-sensitive element behavior in early Pleistocene Mediterranean sapropels Kathleen Scheiderich, Aubrey Lea Zerkle, George Helz, James Farquhar, Richard Walker
Chemical Geology 2010 vol. 279 pp. 134-144
Stable sulfur isotopes in the water column of the Cariaco Basin Xiaona Li, William Gilhooly, Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Tim Lyons, James Farquhar, J Werne, R Varela, Mary Scranton
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 2010 vol. 74 pp. 6764-6778
Sulfur cycling in a stratified euxinic lake with moderately high sulfate Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Alexey Kamyshny, Lee R. Kump, James Farquhar, Harry Daniel Oduro, Michael A. Arthur
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 2010 vol. 74 pp. 4953-4970
The role of calcining and basal fluidization in the long runout of carbonate slides: An example from the Heart Mountain slide block, Wyoming and Montana, USA Mark Anders, Bruce Fouke, Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Enrico Tavarnelli, Walter Alvarez, G Harlow
The Journal of Geology 2010 vol. 118 pp. 577-599
Fractionation of multiple sulfur isotopes during phototrophic oxidation of sulfide and elemental sulfur by a green sulfur bacterium Aubrey Lea Zerkle, James Farquhar, David T. Johnston, Raymond P. Cox, Donald E. Canfield
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 2009 vol. 73 pp. 291-306
Production of 15N-depleted biomass during cyanobacterial N2-fixation at high Fe concentrations Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Christopher Junium, Donald Canfield, Christopher House
Journal of Geophysical Research 2008 vol. 113
Metal limitation of cyanobacterial N2 fixation and implications for the Precambrian nitrogen cycle Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Christopher House, Raymond Cox, Donald Canfield
Geobiology 2006 vol. 4 pp. 285-297
Biogeochemical signatures through time as inferred from whole microbial genomes Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Christopher House, Susan Brantley
American Journal of Science 2005 vol. 305 pp. 467-502
Cathodoluminescence petrography and isotope geochemistry of KT impact ejecta deposited 360km from the Chicxulub crater, at Albion Island, Belize Bruce Fouke, Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Alvarez Walter, Kevin Pope, A Ocampo, R Wachtman, J Grajales Nishimura, P Claeys, Anke Fischer
Sedimentology 2002 vol. 49 pp. 117-138
Partitioning of bacterial communities between seawater and healthy, black band diseased, and dead coral surfaces Jorge Frias-Lopez, Aubrey Lea Zerkle, George Bonheyo, Bruce Fouke
Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2002 vol. 68 pp. 2214-2228

Contact Details:

Dr Aubrey Zerkle
Irvine Building
University of St Andrews
North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

tel: +44 01334 464949
fax: +44 01334 463949
room: 423 Irvine (office), D2-D4 Bute (labs)


Scottish Oceans Institute
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Centre for Exoplanet Science

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The Secretary
Scottish Oceans Institute
Institiud Chuantan na h-Alba
Gatty Marine Laboratory
East Sands St Andrews
KY16 8LB

tel: +44 (0) 1334 463472
fax: +44 (0) 1334 463443