Themed years are at the heart of the Society’s science strategy. Throughout 2020 the Society will explore the topic of life, in a geoscience context, through research conferences, lectures, our education programme and other activities.
Earth is, perhaps, unique in its capacity to host life. The origin of life is among the most fundamental of scientific questions and the source of endless fascination for the public and scientists alike. The evolution and diversity of life on our planet through geological time is inextricably linked with Earth processes such as climate, plate tectonics and the development of a habitable surface environment. Planetary catastrophes such as bolide impacts and flood basalts have caused mass extinctions several times in our geological past.
The linkages between the biosphere and geosphere, both through geological time and in the present day, are clear. Hydrogen produced by serpentinisation on the seafloor, for example, provides ‘fuel’ for bacteria, sustaining a vast and diverse ecosystem of microbial life. The temperature limits to such life, deep in the crust and in seafloor sediments, are only now beginning to be understood.
The Year of Life is an opportunity to showcase both academic and applied research focusing on palaeontology, geobiology, biogeochemical cycling and astrobiology, among others. Events throughout the year will involve academe, industry, economists and government bodies, as well as partner geoscience societies and organisations. We welcome proposals for meetings and events aimed at a range of audiences to explore the geoscience of life on Earth.