The PROPS Group (...see Alumni here)

Professor Galen Halverson

James McGill Professor and T.H. Clark Chair

firefoxI integrate sedimentology, stratigraphy, and isotope geochemistry to reconstruct ancient environments within the context of secular and progressive tectonic, biospheric, and climatic evolution of the earth. The underlying theme of my research is to reconstruct paleoenvironmental change spanning from the middle Proterozoic to the early Phanerozoic (ca. 1800 to 500 ma) and to understand the interconnections between tectonics (i.e., supercontinental break-up and assembly), seawater chemistry and ocean redox, severe climatic fluctuations (including snowball Earth), and the origin and diversification of eukaryotes. This research is fundamentally field-based and geared around detailed geological studies of sedimentary basins that formed during this time.

Dr. Thi Hao Bui

Research Associate and Stable Isotope Lab Deity (PhD, McGill 2015)

firefoxGas hydrates attract broad scientific interest because of their important role in the global carbon cycle and their potential as an energy resource and geological hazard. Because the majority of global gas hydrate reservoirs have formed in marine sediments, especially in convergent margins, different geophysical and geochemical techniques have been developing to identify gas hydrate distribution and abundance in marine sediments. Among those, pore water sulfate profiles appear to be a simple tool to estimate the methane fluxes and gas hydrate saturation contents. It is clear in a broad sense that systems dominated by methane migrating from deep sources with higher methane fluxes will be characterized by shallow sulfate methane transition (SMT) depths and high average gas hydrate saturation states. However, SMT depths are not only controlled by the underlying methane flux, but they also depend on the availability of sulfate from the overlying sediment column. It is therefore important to understand the integrated microbial processes controlling sulfur cycling in the system.

Dr. Maxwell Lechte

Post-doctoral Fellow (PhD, U Melbourne 2019)


I study the sedimentology and geochemistry of marine sedimentary rocks in order to reconstruct Precambrian environmental conditions during key evolutionary events, in order to better understand the drivers and consequences of eukaryotic evolution. My research focuses on the biogeochemical cycling of iron: the distribution of sedimentary iron is a proxy for the evolution of the Earth’s surface redox conditions, and iron-rich chemical sediments can capture the chemistry of their contemporaneous seawater. Iron-rich marine sedimentary rocks from the early Neoproterozoic (potentially coincident with the first animal life) are well-preserved in the sedimentary basins of Yukon, and offer insights into the relationship between ocean chemistry, oxygenation and ecosystem complexity. More about my research can be found on my personal page at

Dr. Katie Maloney

Post-doctoral Fellow (PhD, U Toronto 2022)


My research focuses on the co-evolution of the biosphere and geosphere. I use field-based, paleoenvironmental analysis to investigate: (1) the diversification and evolution of early eukaryotes; (2) the paleobiology and paleoecology of the Ediacaran Biota, the first known, large complex life; and (3) ecosystem reconstruction of critical transitions in Earth’s history. I am particularly interested in the macroalgae (e.g., seaweed) and their role in transforming seafloor environments and altering ocean geochemistry, setting the stage for the rise of more complex life. Learn more about my research at


Dr. Joshua Zimmt

Post-doctoral Fellow (PhD, Berkeley, 2023)



Pascale Daoust

PhD student (2017–), Earth and Planetary Sciences; Research Director, Anticosti Island World Heritage Project

firefoxCarbonate rocks and sediments are an important component of the Earth system, in particular in the context of ocean acidification. Therefore, ancient and modern carbonates can provide insights on both the effects of modern climate change and past paleoclimatic perturbations. The objective of my PhD research is to simulate the progressive impact of ocean acidification on the mineralogy of modern platform carbonate sediments and compare the results with the mineralogy of ancient carbonates from key greenhouse periods in Earth's history.


Angelo dos Santos

PhD student (2018–), Earth and Planetary Sciences; Lecturer, John Abbott College

firefoxMy research is focused Mesoproterozoic intracratonic basins. The Mesoproterozoic is sometimes referred to as the dullest era of Earth’s history. Yet, during this time, evolutionary innovations such as eukaryote life forms and sexual reproduction appeared, and yet this massive transition in the biosphere is not obviously recorded in proxies of global biogeochemical cycles. To better comprehend this poorly studied era of Earth’s history, I use chemostratigraphy, sequence stratigraphy, drill core logging, and geochronology in sedimentary successions in Greenland and Australia. The goal is to define the depositional age, setting and tectonic framework of the studied basins in order to illuminate environmental changes and the footprints of early eukaryotic evolution in the Mesoproterozoic.

Charlotte Spruzen

PhD student (2021–) and Tomlinson Fellow, Earth and Planetary Sciences


For my PhD project I’m focusing on Neoproterozoic (1000 – 542 million years ago) microbialites, which are ancient carbonate rocks built by microbes. My fieldwork is based in Yukon, Canada (traditional territory of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and Nacho Nyak Dun First Nations).  To understand microbial reefs in this area, I use microscopy to investigate the range of fine-scale features in microbialites, and I also measure rare earth elements preserved in early-precipitating cements to understand the chemistry of the water in which these organisms lived. In addition, I work at stratigraphic scale to examine the large-scale structure of reef assemblages within sedimentary basins, and I’m aiming to tie this stratigraphy into Re-Os radiometric ages. 


Ajani Bissick

MSc student (2021-), Earth and Planetary Sciences




PROPS Alumni