Lecturers for this Course

Daniel Rothman (MIT), Roger Summons (MIT), Andy Knoll (Harvard), Kevin Peterson (Dartmouth), John Hayes (WHOI), Paul Hoffman (Harvard), and Sam Bowring (MIT).

Lec # Topics Lecturers Readings


Geochemical Signals of the Proterozoic-Phanerozoic Transition


Lecture 1

Logan, G. A., J. M. Hayes, G. B. Hieshima, and R. E. Summons. "Terminal Proterozoic Reorganization of Biogeochemical Cycles." Nature 376 (1995): 53-56.

Hayes, J. M., H. Strauss, and A. J. Kaufman. "The Abundance of C13 in Marine Organic Matter and Isotopic Fractionation in the Global Biogeochemical Cycle of Carbon during the Past 800 Ma." Chemical Geology 161 (1999): 103-125.

Rothman, D. H., J. M. Hayes, and R. E. Summons. "Dynamics of the Neoproterozoic Carbon Cycle." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 100 (2003): 8124-8129.

Lecture 2

Fenchel, T. "Marine Plankton Food Chains." Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 19 (1988): 19-38.


The Molecular Fossil Record


Summons, R. E., and M. R. Walter. "Molecular Fossils and Microfossils of Prokaryotes and Protists from Proterozoic Sediments." American Journal of Science 290A (1990): 212-244.

Buy at Amazon Summons, R. E., and J. J. Brocks. "Sedimentary Hydrocarbons, Biomarkers for Early Life." In Treatise on Geochemistry. Vol. 8. Edited by H. D. Holland and K. Turekian. Elsevier, 2005, pp. 63-115. ISBN: 9780080446424.

Volkman, J. K. "Sterols and other Triterpenoids: Source Specificity and Evolution of Biosynthetic Pathwaysstar, Open." Organic Geochemistry 36 (2005): 139-159.


Early Animal Evolution


Porter, S. H. "The Fossil Record of Early Eukaryotic Diversification." Paleontological Society Papers 10 (2004): 35-50.


Molecular Clocks and the Divergence of Metazoans


Knoll, A. H. "Proterozic and Early Cambrain Protists: Evidence for Accelerating Evolutionary Tempo." Proc Natl Acad USA 91 (1994): 6743-6750.

Peterson, K., et al. "Estimating Metazoan Divergence Times with a Molecular Clock." Proc Natl Acad USA 101 (2004): 6536-6541.




Runnegar, B. "Precambrian Oxygen Levels Estimated from the Biochemistry and Physiology of Early Eukaryotes." Paleogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 97 (1991): 97-111. (Global and Planetary Change Section.)

Betts, J. N., and H. D. Holland. "The Oxygen Content of Ocean Bottom Waters, the Burial Efficiency of Organic Carbon, and the Regulation of Atmospheric Oxygen." Paleogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 97 (1991): 5-18. (Global and Planetary Change Section.)

Colman, A. S., and H. D. Holland. "The Global Diagenetic Flux of Phosphorus from Marine Sediments to the Oceans: Redox Sensitivity and the Control of Atmospheric Oxygen Levels." In Marine Authigenesis: From Global to Microbial. Edited by C. R. Glenn, L. Prevot-Lucas, and J. Lucas. Tulsa, OK: SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), 2000, pp. 53-75. SEPM Special Publication No. 66.




Hoffman, P. F., and D. P. Schrag. "The Snowball Earth Hypothesis: Testing the Limits of Global Change." Terra Nova 14 (2002): 129-155.




Bowring, S. A., and M. D. Schmitz. "High-precision U-Pb Zircon Geochronology and the Stratigraphic Record." Reviews in Mineralogy & Geochemistry 53 (2003): 305-326.

Condon, D., et al. "U-Pb Ages from the Neoproterozoic Doushantuo Formation, China." Science 308 (2005): 95-98.


Student Presentations