The astrobiology-related research at Lund University focus on questions
related to the biotic response to asteroid/meteorite impacts on Earth.
Examples of questions include the marine and terrestrial sediments across
the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (65 million years ago) where pollen
analyses supplemented by geochemical and geomagnetic studies of my
research group, have been instrumental in resolving several questions
concerning this mass-extinction event. We are now using this results as
a proxy for investigating the patterns of biological and environmental
changes in order to resolve the causes behind other, enigmatic
mass-extinction and radiation events in Earth's history and we have
recently, together with Scientists at NASA HQ, in Washington DC detected
new impact craters on Earth and are presently mapping the biotic signal
connected to these events.
Another question relates to one of the most dramatic times on Earth the Silurian-Devonian (ca. 400 Ma) when the evolution of terrestrial vegetation lead to the plants colonisation of land. We are studying the effects on the atmospheric O2 and CO2 levels. Sedimentological, geochemical and paleontological studies have revealed exceptional alterations in seawater chemistry, sedimentology and biodiversity showing that the Silurian period was characterised by dramatic environmental changes indicated from positive 13C and 18O deviations.
At Lund University also a research theme "Astrobiology: past, present, and future" is carried out by the interdisciplinary Pufendorf Institute . The programme at the Institute aims at strengthening and further developing research at Lund University related to astrobiology. It also will strengthen both research and education in astrobiology at Lund University and further involves the third mission, with dissemination of knowledge of through public communication and engagement, in the form of popular science articles, lectures and through media communication.
Scientists from several institutions are involved in the programme and efforts concentrate on three focus themes: Exoplanets and their Environments, The Emergence of Life and History and Philosophy of Astrobiology. Workshops on several themes have been held at the Institute and excursions to astrobiologically interesting geological sites have been organised.