The Ediacaran–Cambrian transition (~580–530 million years ago) represents one of the most profound events in the history of life on Earth, marking the sudden appearance and subsequent proliferation of all major animal groups in the fossil record. This time interval also records significant environmental change in the Earth system, including fluctuations in atmospheric oxygen concentrations and rapid motion of the continents. A number of hypotheses have been proposed to link the interactions between biotic and environmental change; however, a detailed temporal record of this time period is currently underdeveloped, and the interrelationships among changes to the marine, terrestrial, tectonic, geodynamic, and biotic systems require integration of disparate datasets from a wide spectrum of disciplines. This project assembles a diverse team of scientists to test fundamental hypotheses regarding the Earth system at the dawn of animal life by using a combination of outcrop and drill core studies to study six key Ediacaran–Cambrian regions worldwide. Field and analytical results will be combined with modelling studies to elucidate the co-evolution of life and environment across the most iconic boundary in the geologic record. The proposed study will integrate directly with established K-12 and university outreach programs both domestically and internationally, and it will contribute a variety of new educational materials to international online programs, museums, and field displays.
By generating a new temporal and stratigraphic framework for the Ediacaran–Cambrian transition, this project will test hypotheses related to the co-evolution of life and environment across the most iconic boundary in the geologic record. The investigators propose to generate collaborative field- and lab-based activities to integrate sedimentological, geochemical, paleontological, geochronological, and paleomagnetic records from six key Ediacaran–Cambrian sedimentary successions worldwide. This project will also provide support to the ICDP-funded 'Geological Research through Integrated Neoproterozoic Drilling: The Ediacaran–Cambrian Transition' (GRIND-ECT) project, which represents a one-time, community-wide effort for Earth scientists to obtain unique Ediacaran–early Cambrian core material. The extensive, continuous sampling throughout the Ediacaran and lower Cambrian provided by the GRIND-ECT project, coupled with the proposed field campaigns and modeling components, will provide a unique opportunity to advance Ediacaran–Cambrian chronology and set the stage for a new generation of research opportunities. Established K-12 and university outreach programs both domestically and internationally will be supported, and new educational materials to international online programs, museums, and field displays will be prepared.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
|Effective start/end date||9/1/20 → 8/31/25|
- National Science Foundation: $277,263.00