Dr Fred Bowyer

Dr Fred Bowyer


My research interests focus on the environmental conditions that accompany major evolutionary transitions in Earth history. Much of my previous work has focused on water column redox and nutrient cycling during the Ediacaran Period (approximately 635 to 540 million years ago), at which time there is burgeoning evidence from the body fossil record for the emergence of complex, animal-grade life forms. In an attempt to better understand the co-evolution of palaeoenvironments and life, I integrate sedimentology, chemostratigraphy (e.g. C and Sr isotope geochemistry) and geochronology (zircon U-Pb CA-ID-TIMS) with sediment geochemistry and palaeontology.

Research interests

Ongoing research:


  • The interaction between palaeoenvironments and life across the Proterozoic-Phanerozoic transition. A major focus of research is concerned with the apparent abrupt disappearance of (largely) enigmatic fossils that typify late Ediacaran sedimentary deposits worldwide and the rapid diversification of animals in the early Cambrian. I am particularly interested in changing regional ecosystem dynamics and biogeochemical cycles. Particular areas of interest include the Nama Group (southern Namibia and northwest South Africa), the Yudoma Group (southeast Siberia), and the Yangtze Block (South China).
  • Temporal correlation of globally distributed geological successions of the Ediacaran and Cambrian. I am interested in high precision radiometric dating techniques (e.g. zircon chemical abrasion ID-TIMS U-Pb dating), chemostratigraphy (particularly C and Sr isotopes) and biostratigraphy to better understand stratigraphic equivalence between sections. I am particularly interested in chemostratigraphic correlation across Ediacaran and Cambrian aged strata of the Siberian craton.
  • Surface conditions across the Earth's middle age. Greater than 700 million years separated the evolution of the earliest (probable) stem-group eukaryotes and their diversification into complex, multicellular forms prior to the evolution of animals. The reason for this prolonged interval of evolutionary stasis remains unclear and the paradigm concerning the parallel oxygenation of the biosphere has recently been challenged. Particularly, greater geochemical scrutiny of these Mesoproterozoic successions is unravelling a more complex ocean redox structure than previously assumed. My current research focus concerns geochemical analyses of exceptionally preserved Mesoproterozoic outcrop and drill core samples from the North China craton.
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD, Geology, University of Edinburgh
  • MEarthSci, Geology and Physical Geography, University of Edinburgh

Research groups and institutes

  • Earth Surface Science Institute