IAS Benjamin Meaker Visting Professor Daniel Conley, Lund University, Sweden

Daniel Conley

The Evolution of Biosilicification and the Silicon Cycle

1 October - 22 December 2017


Professor Conley received a BSc in Chemistry from Tulane University, New Orleans (1989), a MSc in Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay (1983), and a Ph.D. in Chemical Oceanography at the University of Michigan (1987). He was an Assistant Research Scientist at the University of Maryland Center of Environmental and Estuarine Science and moved to the National Environmental Research Institute, Denmark in 1995. In 2007 he became a Marie Curie Chair and then a Professor in Biogeochemistry at Lund University, Sweden in the Department of Geology. He has been a visiting Professor at Pierre and Marie Curie University and the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Studies, South Africa. He is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, has won numerous awards including the Ruth Patrick Award, Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography and the Swedish Geologist of the Year.


Professor Conley will be working with Dr Kate Hendry to further exciting, cutting-edge research into biosilicification and its geochemical fingerprint. The silicon cycle is inherently linked to the cycling of carbon through both the drawdown of atmospheric carbon dioxide via silicate weathering processes and organic carbon production by biosilicifiers. The evolution of different organisms - from algae to plants and animals - that convert dissolved Si (DSi) into mineralized skeletons has dramatically changed both the terrestrial and marine silicon cycles. Biogenic silica can form a geochemical archive, which is one of the most important tools used for investigating silicon cycling in the modern Earth System and back through geological time.

During his stay Professor Conley will be hosted by Dr Kate Hendry (Earth Sciences)

Proposed events:

Public lecture
date tbc

Another threat from global warming: the expansion of hypoxic zones.

A number of synthesis efforts have documented the world-wide increase in hypoxia across the land-ocean continuum driven by nutrient inputs and warming. The Baltic Sea provides an interesting case study to examine changes in oxygen dynamics because of the diversity of the temporal and spatial scales of hypoxia. Conley will explore the prospects of getting rid of hypoxia and the time scales of improvement through nutrient reductions and geoengineering. 

Followed by an informal reception, supported by The Royal Society

Departmental Geochemistry Group lecture (lunch provided) 
date tbc

Biosilicification drives a decline of dissolved Si in the oceans through geologic time

Conley will give one of the weekly departmental seminars in the School of Earth Sciences about the new interpretation of changes in silicon cycling throughout geological history. The talk will be aimed broadly at members of the School with a geological background. 

Graduate Student Seminar

Silicon cycle evolution in the Cenozoic: a shift in a paradigm?

Dr Hendry and Prof Robinson run weekly reading group meetings for their team. Conley will lead one of these meetings based on the recent papers with his former PhD student, Dr Guillaume Fontourbe, and Dr Hendry. The discussion will be framed around previous pre-2016 papers that frame the hypothesis surrounding the response of ocean silicon concentrations over the last 60 million years, which was tested in our 2016 paper and a new manuscript in review.