Elias Rugen

Elias Rugen

Profile Display Name:

Elias Rugen

E-mail Address:


Start Year

2021 (Cohort 8)

Research interests:

My main research interests revolve around investigating the evolution Earth’s System through time. I am interested in developing and utilising geochemical and isotopic tracers in marine sediments to investigate the profound environmental changes and oxygenation phases that occurred in the Precambrian, prior to the emergence and evolution of animal life.

Hobbies and interests:

Bouldering; Ultra distance running; Mountaineering; Live music

PhD Project
PhD Title

Towards an understanding of the Proterozoic seawater carbon isotope curve.

Research Theme

Past Life and Environments

Primary Supervisor
Primary Institution


Secondary Supervisor
Secondary Institution



The carbon cycle is central to investigating Earth’s past environment, particularly its oxygenation history. Past perturbations in the carbon cycle can be identified by changes in the carbon isotope composition (δ13C) of ancient seawater, preserved in marine carbonate rocks. My project will involve collating unpublished and published carbonate δ13C data from the Proterozoic (c. 2,500–539 Ma) to develop the first comprehensive carbon isotope curve for this Eon. New data will also be gathered via fieldwork (e.g., the Scottish Hebrides), extensive laboratory work and international collaboration. The carbon isotope curve will be supplemented with other geochemical proxies, allowing me to investigate weathering rates (Sr-isotopes), seawater redox conditions (Uisotopes) and productivity levels (Cd-isotopes) across key intervals. The geochemical data will be integrated with a biogeochemical model to predict the controls and evolution of the biotic and abiotic components of Earth’s system throughout the Proterozoic, specifically across major perturbations in the carbon cycle (e.g., the Lomagundi and Shuram Excursions). The project aims to address key questions such as: 1) What were the dominant geological and/or biological drivers of the major carbon isotope excursions during the Proterozoic?; 2) Are carbon isotope excursions good indications for oxygenation events?; and 3) Was the Mesoproterozoic a time of carbon isotope stability and thus Earth system stasis?

Policy Impact
Background Reading


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