Timothy Eglinton

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Tim Eglinton

Professor Timothy Eglinton FRS.jpg
Timothy Eglinton at the Royal Society admissions day in London, 2014
Timothy Ian Eglinton
Alma mater
Scientific career
Fields Geology
Carbon cycle
Sedimentology [1]
Thesis An investigation of kerogens using pyrolysis methods  (1988)
Website www.biogeoscience.ethz.ch/the-group/people-a-z/person-detail.html?persid=170221

Timothy Ian Eglinton FRS [2] is a professor of biogeoscience at the Geological Institute, ETH Zürich. [3]



Eglinton was educated at Plymouth Polytechnic where he was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental science in 1982. He went on to study at Newcastle University, where he was awarded a Master of Science degree[ when? ] and a PhD in 1988 for research investigating kerogens using pyrolysis. [4]

Research and career

Eglinton's research [1] [3] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] is:

focussed on understanding of the processes that govern the Earth's carbon cycle from the molecular level to the global scale, and on the legacy of past biological activity and environmental conditions contained in organic signatures preserved in the geologic record. [11]

Eglinton has revolutionised studies of Earth's carbon cycle. [2] By developing an entirely new means of tracing the pathways of organic carbon in surface environments, ranging from eroding landforms to rivers, floodplains, the oceanic water column, microbial communities and marine sediments, he has replaced countless estimates and assumptions with accurately known transport times and carbon budgets. [2] His findings have illuminated and reconciled formerly discrepant paleoclimatic records, revealed new forms of microbial life, demonstrated that microorganisms can attack and remobilise billion-year-old organic material, and traced the pathways of petroleum-derived carbon in surface environments. [2]

Awards and honours

Eglinton was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2014. [2]

Personal life

Eglinton is the son of the organic chemist Geoffrey Eglinton. [2] [12] [13] He is married to Lorraine Eglinton, and has two daughters and one son.[ citation needed ]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Diagenesis</span> Physico-chemical changes in sediments occurring after their deposition

Diagenesis is the process that describes physical and chemical changes in sediments first caused by water-rock interactions, microbial activity, and compaction after their deposition. Increased pressure and temperature only start to play a role as sediments become buried much deeper in the Earth's crust. In the early stages, the transformation of poorly consolidated sediments into sedimentary rock (lithification) is simply accompanied by a reduction in porosity and water expulsion, while their main mineralogical assemblages remain unaltered. As the rock is carried deeper by further deposition above, its organic content is progressively transformed into kerogens and bitumens.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kerogen</span> Solid organic matter in sedimentary rocks

Kerogen is solid, insoluble organic matter in sedimentary rocks. It consists of a variety of organic materials, including dead plants, algae, and other microorganisms, that have been compressed and heated by geological processes. Altogether kerogen is estimated to contain 1016 tons of carbon. This makes it the most abundant source of organic compounds on earth, exceeding the total organic content of living matter 10,000-fold.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Micrometeorite</span> Meteoroid that survives Earths atmosphere

A micrometeorite is a micrometeoroid that has survived entry through the Earth's atmosphere. Usually found on Earth's surface, micrometeorites differ from meteorites in that they are smaller in size, more abundant, and different in composition. The IAU officially defines meteorites as 30 micrometers to 1 meter; micrometeorites are the small end of the range (~submillimeter). They are a subset of cosmic dust, which also includes the smaller interplanetary dust particles (IDPs).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cholestane</span> Chemical compound

Cholestane is a saturated tetracyclic triterpene. This 27-carbon biomarker is produced by diagenesis of cholesterol and is one of the most abundant biomarkers in the rock record. Presence of cholestane, its derivatives and related chemical compounds in environmental samples is commonly interpreted as an indicator of animal life and/or traces of O2, as animals are known for exclusively producing cholesterol, and thus has been used to draw evolutionary relationships between ancient organisms of unknown phylogenetic origin and modern metazoan taxa. Cholesterol is made in low abundance by other organisms (e.g., rhodophytes, land plants), but because these other organisms produce a variety of sterols it cannot be used as a conclusive indicator of any one taxon. It is often found in analysis of organic compounds in petroleum.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Carbon-to-nitrogen ratio</span>

A carbon-to-nitrogen ratio is a ratio of the mass of carbon to the mass of nitrogen in organic residues. It can, amongst other things, be used in analysing sediments and soil including soil organic matter and soil amendments such as compost.

Professor Henry "Harry" Elderfield, was Professor of Ocean Chemistry and Palaeochemistry at the Godwin Laboratory in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge. He made his name in ocean chemistry and palaeochemistry, using trace metals and isotopes in biogenic carbonate as palaeochemical tracers, and studying the chemistry of modern and ancient oceans - especially those of the glacial epoch and the Cenozoic.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Isorenieratene</span> Chemical compound

Isorenieratene /ˌaɪsoʊrəˈnɪərətiːn/ is a carotenoid light harvesting pigment produced exclusively by the genus Chlorobium. Chlorobium are the brown-colored strains of the family of green sulfur bacteria (Chlorobiaceae). Green sulfur bacteria are anaerobic photoautotrophic organisms meaning they perform photosynthesis in the absence of oxygen using hydrogen sulfide in the following reaction:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Abietane</span> Chemical compound

Abietane is a diterpene that forms the structural basis for a variety of natural chemical compounds such as abietic acid, carnosic acid, and ferruginol which are collectively known as abietanes or abietane diterpenes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Archean life in the Barberton Greenstone Belt</span> Some of the most widely accepted fossil evidence for Archean life

The Barberton Greenstone Belt of eastern South Africa contains some of the most widely accepted fossil evidence for Archean life. These cell-sized prokaryote fossils are seen in the Barberton fossil record in rocks as old as 3.5 billion years. The Barberton Greenstone Belt is an excellent place to study the Archean Earth due to exposed sedimentary and metasedimentary rocks.

Stephen (Steve) R. Larter is a Canadian Emeritus Professor of geochemistry at the University of Calgary. Dr. Larter was appointed as associate vice-president (AVPR-I), effective Feb. 25, 2019 at the University of Calgary.

Ann Pearson is the Murray and Martha Ross Professor of Environmental Sciences at Harvard University and current chair of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Her research in the area of organic geochemistry is focused on applications of analytical chemistry, isotope geochemistry, and molecular biology to biochemical oceanography and Earth history.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">24-Norcholestane</span> Chemical compound

24-Norcholestane, a steroid derivative, is used as a biomarker to constrain the source age of sediments and petroleum through the ratio between 24-norcholestane and 27-norcholestane, especially when used with other age diagnostic biomarkers, like oleanane. While the origins of this compound are still unknown, it is thought that they are derived from diatoms due to their identification in diatom rich sediments and environments. In addition, it was found that 24-norcholestane levels increased in correlation with diatom evolution. Another possible source of 24-norcholestane is from dinoflagellates, albeit to a much lower extent.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tetrahymanol</span> Chemical compound

Tetrahymanol is a gammacerane-type membrane lipid first found in the marine ciliate Tetrahymena pyriformis. It was later found in other ciliates, fungi, ferns, and bacteria. After being deposited in sediments that compress into sedimentary rocks over millions of years, tetrahymanol is dehydroxylated into gammacerane. Gammacerane has been interpreted as a proxy for ancient water column stratification.

Sulfur isotope biogeochemistry is the study of the distribution of sulfur isotopes in biological and geological materials. In addition to its common isotope, 32S, sulfur has three rare stable isotopes: 34S, 36S, and 33S. The distribution of these isotopes in the environment is controlled by many biochemical and physical processes, including biological metabolisms, mineral formation processes, and atmospheric chemistry. Measuring the abundance of sulfur stable isotopes in natural materials, like bacterial cultures, minerals, or seawater, can reveal information about these processes both in the modern environment and over Earth history.

Cindy Lee is a retired Distinguished Professor known for her research characterizing the compounds that comprise marine organic matter.

Margaret (Peggy) Delaney is marine geochemist known for her research on trace elements to examine changes in ocean chemistry over time.

Yan Zheng is a marine geochemist known for her research on metals in groundwater and private wells in Bangladesh, China, and the United States. She is an elected fellow of the Geological Society of America and the American Geophysical Union.

Hilairy Ellen Hartnett is professor at Arizona State University known for her work on biogeochemical processes in modern and paleo-environments.

Maureen Hatcher Conte is biogeochemist known for her work using particles to define the long-term cycling of chemical compounds in seawater.

Elisabeth Lynn Sikes is an American geoscientist who is a professor at Rutgers University. Her research considers carbon cycling. She was awarded the 2022 Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research Medal for Excellence in Research.


  1. 1 2 Timothy Eglinton publications indexed by Google Scholar OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Anon (2014). "Professor Timothy Eglinton FRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 25 August 2017. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the royalsociety.org website where:
    “All text published under the heading 'Biography' on Fellow profile pages is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.” --Royal Society Terms, conditions and policies at the Wayback Machine (archived 2016-11-11)
  3. 1 2 Timothy Eglinton publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  4. Eglinton, Timothy Ian (1988). An investigation of kerogens using pyrolysis methods (PhD thesis). Newcastle University. OCLC   18424031. EThOS   uk.bl.ethos.380730.
  5. Goñi, Miguel A.; Ruttenberg, Kathleen C.; Eglinton, Timothy I. (1997). "Sources and contribution of terrigenous organic carbon to surface sediments in the Gulf of Mexico". Nature. 389 (6648): 275–278. Bibcode:1997Natur.389..275G. doi:10.1038/38477. S2CID   4413505.
  6. Gustafsson, Örjan; Bucheli, Thomas D.; Kukulska, Zofia; Andersson, Mette; Largeau, Claude; Rouzaud, Jean-Noël; Reddy, Christopher M.; Eglinton, Timothy I. (2012). "Evaluation of a protocol for the quantification of black carbon in sediments". Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 15 (4): 881–890. Bibcode:2001GBioC..15..881G. doi: 10.1029/2000GB001380 .
  7. Goñi, Miguel A.; Ruttenberg, Kathleen C.; Eglinton, Timothy I. (1998). "A reassessment of the sources and importance of land-derived organic matter in surface sediments from the Gulf of Mexico". Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 62 (18): 3055–3075. Bibcode:1998GeCoA..62.3055G. doi:10.1016/S0016-7037(98)00217-8.
  8. Eglinton, T. I.; Aluwihare, L. I.; Bauer, J. E.; Druffel, E. R.; McNichol, A. P. (1996). "Gas chromatographic isolation of individual compounds from complex matrices for radiocarbon dating". Analytical Chemistry. 68 (5): 904–12. doi:10.1021/ac9508513. PMID   21619188. S2CID   29957103.
  9. Sauer, Peter E.; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Hayes, John M.; Schimmelmann, Arndt; Sessions, Alex L. (2001). "Compound-specific D/H ratios of lipid biomarkers from sediments as a proxy for environmental and climatic conditions". Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 65 (2): 213–222. Bibcode:2001GeCoA..65..213S. doi:10.1016/S0016-7037(00)00520-2.
  10. Eglinton, T. I. (1997). "Variability in Radiocarbon Ages of Individual Organic Compounds from Marine Sediments" (PDF). Science. 277 (5327): 796–799. doi:10.1126/science.277.5327.796. S2CID   54810484.
  11. Professor Dr. Timothy Ian Eglinton, Geologisches Institut, ETH Zürich
  12. Anon (2014). "Eglinton, Prof. Geoffrey" . Who's Who (online edition via Oxford University Press  ed.). A & C Black. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U282026.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  13. "Timothy I. Eglinton". whoi.edu. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

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