As a Branco Weiss Fellow, Dr. Ilya Bobrovskiy will study the circumstances behind the origin of complex life on Earth. Dr. Bobrovskiy will be aiming to resolve what were the environmental changes in ancient oceans that shaped the evolution of life from tiny single-celled bacteria to the large and immensely complex animals.
- GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Germany, 2022-
- Postdoctoral Scholar at California Institute of Technology, USA, 2019–2021
- Postdoctoral Fellow at the Australian National University, Australia, 2019
- PhD at the Australian National University, Australia, 2019
- MSc in Geology at the Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia, 2014
- BSc in Geology at the Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia, 2012
- Texaco Postdoctoral Fellowship at Caltech, 2019
- AOGC Exceptional Scientific Contribution Award, 2018
- Mervyn & Katalin Paterson Fellowship at ANU, 2018
- ANU International Postgraduate Research Scholarship, 2015
- First Prize Award at International Tournament in Geology, Moscow, 2008
- The Guardian: 558m-year-old fossils identified as oldest known animal
- The Atlantic: A 558-Million-Year-Old Mystery Has Been Solved
- National Geographic: This Enigmatic Blob Was One of Earth's Earliest Animals
- BBC News: Earliest animal fossils are identified
- Scientific American: Say Hello to Dickinsonia, the Animal Kingdom’s Newest (and Oldest) Member
- Cosmos Magazine: What Ediacaran fossils might represent: Do palaeontologists really know what they looked like?
- The Conversation: Ancient sponges or just algae? New research overturns chemical evidence for the earliest animals
Branco Weiss Fellow Since
Geobiology, Organic Geochemistry
GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany
After almost 4 billion years of bacterial dominance, it took life on our planet just 250 million years to go from the proliferation of unicellular eukaryotes to diversification of animals. This sequence of rapid ecological and evolutionary changes is thought to be related to unprecedented environmental perturbations in ancient oceans and atmosphere, which occurred during this time interval and are recorded in sedimentary rocks. We know these perturbations did happen, but not their magnitude, duration, or driving mechanisms. Resolving this would help to understand not only where we all come from, but also where to search for complex life on other planets as we turn to the worlds beyond ours.
The history of life on our planet is recorded in rocks, but each rock scientists examine has accumulated for hundreds, or even thousands of years, and contains partially preserved remains of organisms that died there throughout all this time. Dr. Ilya Bobrovskiy combines the analysis of fossils, molecular fossils, and stable carbon isotopes in a series of new techniques that allow deconvolving biomarker and stable carbon isotope signals of ancient rocks. With this, Dr. Bobrovskiy is aiming to resolve paleobiology and paleoecology of the first ecologically successful eukaryotes, decipher the carbon isotope record associated with them, and ultimately better constrain the environmental controls on the origins of complex life on Earth.