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David Wacey

Dr David Wacey

Future Fellow (CMCA@Physics)
Microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis, Centre for (CMCA)

Contact details
Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis (CMCA)
The University of Western Australia (M010)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 8074
Personal homepage
Room 1.61, Physics Building, Perth campus
BA DPhil Oxf.
I am an ARC Future Fellow researching the origin and evolution of life. I obtained my D.Phil. from Oxford University in 2004 studying the effects of sulfate-reducing bacteria on biomineralization. My current research focuses on morphological, chemical and isotopic tracers of primitive Archean life, using cutting edge techniques such as NanoSIMS and Transmission Electron Microscopy. I am also the author of an introductory textbook on Archean life entitled ‘Early Life on Earth: A Practical Guide’.
Key research
My research seeks to elucidate how and when life originated on Earth and whether it could have originated on other planets such as Mars. Within this framework, I am part of a multidisciplinary team based jointly at the Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation & Analysis and the School of Earth & Environment.
I use a variety of research tools, including field based mapping and sample collection in Australia, optical and electron microscopy, state of the art computer based imaging, microbiology and high resolution geochemistry.
3 Books, 11 book chapters and 32 journal articles including:

Brasier, M., Antcliffe, J., Saunders, M., and WACEY, D. (2015) Changing the picture of Earth’s earliest fossils (3.5-1.9 Ga) with new approaches and new discoveries. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 112 (16), 4859-4864.

WACEY, D., Kilburn, M.R., Saunders, M., Cliff, J.B., Kong, C., Liu, A.G., Matthews, J.J., and Brasier, M.D. (2015) Uncovering framboidal pyrite biogenicity using nano-scale CNorg mapping. Geology 43, 27-30.

WACEY, D., Saunders, M., Roberts, M., Menon, S., Green, L., Kong, C., Culwick, T., Strother, P. and Brasier, M.D. (2014) Enhanced cellular preservation by clay minerals in 1 billion-year-old lakes. Nature Scientific Reports 4, 5841; DOI:10.1038/srep05841.

Pacton, M., WACEY, D., Corinaldesi, C., Tangherlinin, M., Kilburn, M.R., Gorin, G.E., Vasconcelos, C. and Danovaro, R. (2014) Viruses as a new agent of organomineralization in the rock record. Nature Communications 5, 4298 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5298.

WACEY, D., Mcloughlin, N., Kilburn, M.R., Saunders, M., Cliff, J., Kong, C., Barley, M.E. and Brasier, M.D (2013) Nano-scale analysis reveals differential heterotrophic consumption in the ~1.9 Ga Gunflint Chert. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 110 (20), 8020–8024.

McLoughlin, N., Grosch, E.G., Kilburn, M.R. and WACEY, D. (2012) Sulfur isotope evidence for a Paleoarchean sub-seafloor biosphere, Barberton, South Africa. Geology 40, 1031–1034.

Weber, K.A., Spanbauer, T.L., WACEY, D., Kilburn, M.R., Loope, D.B. and Kettler, R.M. (2012) Biosignatures link microorganisms to iron mineralization in a paleoaquifer. Geology 40, 747-750

Pacton, M., Ariztegui, D., WACEY, D., Kilburn, M.R., Rollion-Bard, C., Farah, R. and Vasconcelos, C. (2012) Going Nano: A new step towards understanding the processes governing freshwater ooid formation. Geology 40, 547-550.

WACEY, D., Kilburn, M.R., Saunders, M., Cliff, J. and Brasier, M.D. (2011) Microfossils of sulfur metabolizing cells in ~3.4 billion year old rocks of Western Australia. Nature Geoscience 4 (10), 698-702

WACEY, D., McLoughlin, N., Whitehouse, M.J. and Kilburn, M.R. (2010) Two co-existing sulfur metabolisms in a ca. 3,400 Ma sandstone. Geology 38 (12), 1115-1118.

WACEY, D. (2009) Early Life on Earth: a practical guide. Springer Science and Business Media, 274p.

WACEY, D., Wright, D.T. and Boyce, A.J. (2007) A stable isotope study of microbial dolomite formation in the Coorong region, South Australia. Chemical Geology 244, 155-174.

McLoughlin, N., Brasier, M.D, WACEY, D, Green, O.R. and Perry, R.S. (2007) Formulating Biogenicity Criteria for Endolithic Microborings on Early Earth and Beyond. Astrobiology 7, 10-26.

Brasier, M.D., McLoughlin, N., Green, O.R. and WACEY, D. (2006) A fresh look at the fossil evidence for early Archaean cellular life. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 361, 887-902.

Wright, D.T. and WACEY, D. (2005) Precipitation of dolomite using sulphate-reducing bacteria from the Coorong Region, South Australia: significance and implications. Sedimentology 52, 987-1008.
Previous positions
Postdoctoral research associate, Oxford University, UK (2005-2008)
University Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UWA (2008-2011)
Research Fellow, University of Bergen (2011-2013)
Research Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence for Core to Crust Fluid Systems, UWA (2013-14)
Current external positions
Editorial Board of Nature Scientific Reports
Editorial Board of Geobiology
Current projects
1. Remarkable preservation of Precambrian organic material
2. Linking ancient, modern and potential extra-terrestrial biosignatures
3. Nano-signatures of microbial life in volcanic ecosystems
4. Investigation of life in a 3.5 billion-year-old sandstone
5. Life in the Proterozoic - Gunflint and Torridon biotas
Research profile
Research profile and publications

The University of Western Australia

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Last updated:
Tuesday, 3 November, 2015 2:39 PM