I’m primarily interested in the interactions between life and the environment on the early Earth.
My current research uses anoxic synthesis, simulated diagenesis, and synchrotron work to determine how bio-essential metals are scavenged during nucleation and growth of the mineral greenalite, an abundant component of sedimentary iron formation. This enables us to predict the availability of key micronutrients, such as Cu, Ni or Zn in ancient oceans. I also examine the metal content of natural greenalite preserved in Archean and Paleoproterozoic iron formation to place constraints on nutrient availability in specific environments.
I’ve previously worked on tracking major shifts in oceanic redox that occurred in the Precambrian using a variety of geochemical proxies, including Fe-speciation, Ce anomalies, S isotopes and U isotopes. These major redox shifts are hypothesised to have influenced the appearance and radiation of modern-like animal groups. I’ve worked closely with paleo-ecologists to tie together the chemical and ecological records.
I’ve worked on modern geochemical cycles too, including the marine and terrestrial sulfur cycle. I’m always interested in improving the proxy tools we use in ancient sediments, and so have been involved in calibration studies and improving methodologies.
I’m a stipendiary lecturer at St Edmund Hall, and provide regular tutorials for students at the college. My teaching covers sedimentology and geochemistry across all year groups.
View Selected Publications
He, T., M. Zhu, B. J. W. Mills, P. M. Wynn, A. Y. Zhuravlev, R. Tostevin, P. A. E. Pogge von Strandmann, A. Yang, S. Poulton, and G. A. Shields, 2019. Possible links between extreme oxygen perturbations and the Cambrian radiation of animals. Nature Geoscience .
Tostevin, R., Clarkson, M.O., Gangl, S., Shields, G.A., Wood, R.A., Bowyer, F., Penny, A.M. and Stirling, C.H., 2019. Uranium isotope evidence for an expansion of anoxia in terminal Ediacaran oceans. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 506, pp.104-112.
Tostevin, R., He, T., Turchyn, A. V., Wood, R. A., Penny, A. M., Bowyer, F., Antler, G. & Shields, G. A. 2017. Constraints on the late Ediacaran sulfur cycle from carbonate associated sulfate. Precambrian Research
Penny, A. M., Wood, R. A., Zhuravlev, A. Y., Curtis, A., Bowyer, F., Tostevin, R., 2017. Intraspecific variation in an Ediacaran skeletal metazoan: Namacalathus from the Nama Group, Namibia. Geobiology.
Tostevin, R., Wood, R.A., Shields, G.A., Poulton, S.W., Guilbaud, R., Bowyer, F., Penny, A.M., He, T., Curtis, A., Hoffmann, K.H. and Clarkson, M.O., 2016. Low-oxygen waters limited habitable space for early animals. Nature Communications, 7
Tostevin, R., Shields, G. A., Tarbuck, G. M., He, T., Clarkson, M. O., & Wood, R. A. (2016). Effective use of cerium anomalies as a redox proxy in carbonate-dominated marine settings. Chemical Geology, 438, 146-162
Tostevin, R., Craw, D., Van Hale, R., & Vaughan, M. (2016). Sources of environmental sulfur in the groundwater system, southern New Zealand. Applied Geochemistry, 70, 1-16
Wood, R.A., Poulton, S.W., Prave, A.R., Hoffmann, K.H., Clarkson, M.O., Guilbaud, R., Lyne, J.W., Tostevin, R., Bowyer, F., Penny, A.M. and Curtis, A., 2015. Dynamic redox conditions control late Ediacaran metazoan ecosystems in the Nama Group, Namibia. Precambrian Research, 261, pp.252-271.
Penny, A.M., Wood, R., Curtis, A., Bowyer, F., Tostevin, R. and Hoffman, K.H., 2014. Ediacaran metazoan reefs from the Nama Group, Namibia. Science, 344(6191), pp.1504-1506.
Tostevin, R., Turchyn, A.V., Farquhar, J., Johnston, D.T., Eldridge, D.L., Bishop, J.K. and McIlvin, M., 2014. Multiple sulfur isotope constraints on the modern sulfur cycle. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 396, pp.14-21.