I am an evolutionary biologist interested in the early history of life on Earth and the origin of multicellularity. My work focuses mainly on the evolution of cyanobacteria, formerly known as blue green algae. Cyanobacteria originated probably already in the Archean Eon. Around 2.4 billion years ago they are responsible for an increase of atmospheric oxygen, referred to as the Great Oxygenation Event (GOE). First evidence for various unicellular and multicellular cyanobacterial species is found in rocks from the famous, 1.88 by old, Gunflint chert in Canada. With my work I hope to identify, (i) the origin of cyanobacteria, (ii) the diversification of morphological groups within this phylum, and (iii) the consequences this might have had on the early co-evolution of life and Earth.
To investigate these exciting questions I use methods of molecular phylogenetics in combination with fossil data from the Precambrian. To see updates on my current status of research, please have a look at my project webpage evoxyproject.wordpress.com
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Dr Schirrmeister currently teaches 2 courses:
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