‘Trees are the architects of the modern world,’ says Dr Ashleigh Hood. At the end of the Devonian period, forests emerged and spread, providing a great source of oxygen via photosynthesis. So while many consider the emergence of animals to be the principal driver of contemporary life, Ashleigh’s work suggests the atmospheric oxygen provided by terrestrial plants has been foundational to the emergence of Earth’s modern biosphere.
The Royal Society of Victoria is delighted to congratulate Dr Ashleigh Hood, the 2022 recipient of the Phillip Law Postdoctoral Award, and the first to be awarded in the new category of Earth Sciences. Her research focuses on the co-evolution of life and planetary surface conditions over the last several billion years of Earth’s history. Ashleigh attained her PhD in geology from the University of Melbourne in 2014.