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Professor Martin Kennedy


1995-1989 BSc the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Geology and Environmental Science

1991-1995 PhD the University of Adelaide, Department of Geology

1995-1996 Postdoctoral associate, Cornell University,  Ecology and Systematics

1996-1998 Rubey Fellow/Assistant Professor, UCLA, Earth and Space Science

1998-2000 Senior Research Geologist, Exxon Production Research

2000-2007 Assistant/Associate Professor, University of California, Riverside

2007-2010 Professor, University of California, Riverside

2007-2010 Director Graduate program for Global and Environmental Change, UCR

2010-present Professor of Geology, University of Adelaide

2012-present Director Sprigg Geobiology Centre


Research Interests

My research focuses on mechanisms of carbon sequestration and triggers of rapid climate change using an interdisciplinary and process-based approach. I combine detailed field observations with isotopic and mineralogical data from both ancient and modern sediments to determine the changes in the Earth’s biosphere through time, including the controls on the carbon cycle that regulate fossil fuel distribution and influence climate stability. Current research grants include 1) methane clathrate destabilization as a driver of abrupt climate change and 2) control of organic carbon sequestration, planetary oxygenation and petroleum source rock deposition. I head the Australian Shale Carbon Sequestraion Group at the University of Adelaide- an ARC funded industry consortium that studies the nanoscale properties of shales to outcrop scales to construct new understanding of unconventional reservoirs.  My research further investigates the controls on the Precambrian environment and the appearance of complex life in the Ediacaran Period. I am the founding and current director of the Sprigg Geobiology Centre. 


Research Funding

Competitive (Category 1) Grants


2014-2017, Australian Research Council, Lead CI, Quantifying the flux of fugitivie greenhouse gasses associated with coal seam gas and calibirating it to natural baseline and anthropogenic sources. Industry Linkage Program. 


2012-2015, Australian Research Council, Lead CI, From Organo-mineral nanocomposites to Australian basins; an intergrated approach to unconventional gas exploration and development. Industry Linkage Program.


2012-2015, Australian Research Council, Lead CI, Were abrupt change in the Precambrian global carbon cycle the trigger for animal apperance and radition on Earth?  


2011-2014, Australian Research Council, Lead CI, Carbon sequestraion as a feedback to climate warming in a greenhouse ocean


2009-2012. National Science Foundation, Lead CI, Do clay minerals influence the burial and preservation of organic carbon on geological time scales?


2004-2009. NASA Exobiology, Lead CI, Secular rise of clay minerals from biotic soils as a control on the rise of oxygen and advent of multicellular life.


2004-2008. National Science Foundation. Lead CI, Testing the methane hydrate hypothesis for the aftermath of severe Neoproterozoic ice ages.


2002-2006. National Science Foundation. Lead CI, Carbon isotopic tests for Neoproterozoic snowball Earth phenomenon.


2002-2006. National Science Foundation. Lead CI, The TMSA hypothesis: Do clay mineral interlayer surfaces provide an unrecognized sink for organic carbon in the geological record?


1996-1998. National Science Foundation. CI, Mechanisms of base cation cycling in forest biogeochemical systems: Applications of a new tool.


1996-1998, National Science Foundation. CI Sources and consequences and fates of atmospherically-derived elements during soil and ecosystem development.


1995-1998, National Science Foundation. CI Origin of isotopic signatures of Neoproterozoic post glacial cap carbonates.


Selected Journal Articles


Loehr, S. and Kennedy, M.J., 2014, Organomineral nanocomposite carbon burial during Oceanic Anoxic Event 2, Biogeosciences, 11, p. 6815-6844.


Kennedy, M.J., Loehr, S.C., Fraser, S.A., Baruch, E.T., 2014, Direct evidence for organic carbon preservation as clay-organic nanocomposites in a Devonian black shale; from depsotion to diagenesis. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 388, p. 59-70. 


Kennedy, M.J., 2013, Qualitiative environmental change as a function of evolutionary innovation: the non-linear effects of evolutionary innovation biospheric feedbacks. American Naturalist, v.181, P. S100- S111.


Morrison, K.D., Bristow, T.F., Kennedy, M.J., 2013, The reduction of structural iron in ferruginous smectite via the amino acid cystine: Implications for an electron shuttling compound. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v.106 p. 152-163.


Sappenfield, A., Droser, M., Kennedy, M.J., Mckenzie, R., 2012, The oldest Zoophycus and implications for Cambrian deposit feeding, Rapid Communication, Geological Magazine, v. 149, p. 1118-1123  


Bristow, T.F., Kennedy, M.J., Morrison, K.D., Mrofka, D.D., 2012, The influence of authigenic clay formation on the mineralogy and stable isotopic record of lacustrine carbonates. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 90, p. 64-82.


Swart, P. and Kennedy, M.J., 2012, Does the global stratigraphic reproducibility of d13C in Neoproterozoic carbonates require a marine origin? A plio-Pleistocene comparison. Geology, v.40, p. 87-90.


Kennedy, M.J., and Wagner, T., 2011, A clay mineral continental amplifier for marine carbon sequestration in a greenhouse ocean. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, v. 108, 9776-9781.


Kennedy, M.J. and Droser, M.L. 2011, Early Cambrian metazoans in fluvial environments, evidence of the non-marine Cambrian Radiation. Geology, v. 39. P. 583-586.


Kennedy, M.J., and Christie-Blick, 2011, A condensation origin for Neoproterozoic cap carbonates. Geology, v. 39, p. 319-322.


Knauth, L.P., and Kennedy, M.J, 2009, The late Precambrian Greening of the Earth, Nature, v. 460, p.728-732.


Kennedy, M.J., Mrofka, D.D., Von der Borch, C.C., 2008, Snowball Earth termination by destabilization of equatorial permafrost methane clathrates. Nature, v, 453, p. 642-645.


Bristow, T. and Kennedy, M.J., in 2008, Carbon isotope excursions and the oxidant budget of the Ediacaran atmosphere and ocean, Geology, v. 36, p. 863-866.


Fairchild, I. J., Kennedy, M.J., 2007, Neoproterozoic glaciation in the Earth System, Journal of the Geological Society of London, Centennial Issue, v.164, p.895-921.


Jiang, G., Kennedy, M.J., Christie Blick, N., Wu, H., Zhang,S., 2006, Stratigraphy and sedimentary structures of the late Neoproterozoic Doushantuo cap carbonate in south China. Journal of Sedimentary Research, v.76, p. 978-995.  


Kennedy, M.J., Droser, M.L., Mayer, L.M., Pevear, D.M., Mrofka, D.D., 2006, Oxygenation of the late Precambrian atmosphere; inception of the clay mineral factory Science ,v.311, p.1446-1449.


Ridgwell, A. Kennedy, M.J., 2004, Secular changes in the importance of neritic carbonate deposition as a control on the magnitude and stability of Neoproterozoic ice ages, in Extreme Proterozoic Geology, Geochemistry, and climate. Geophysical Monograph Series, V. 146, American Geophysical Union, Washington DC. 


Ridgewell, A., Kennedy, M.J., Caldera, K., 2003, Carbonate deposition, climate stability, and Neoproterozoic ice ages. Science, v. 302, p. 859-862.


Jiang, G., Kennedy, M.J., Christie-Blick, N., 2003, Stable isotope evidence for methane seeps in Neoproterozoic postglacial cap carbonates. Nature. v. 426, p. 822-826.


Gaines, R.R., Kennedy, M.J., Droser, M.L., 2005, A new hypothesis for organic preservation of Burgess Shale taxa in the middle Cambrian Wheeler FormationHouse Range, Utah. Paleogeography, Paleocueanogaphy, Paleoclimatology v. 220, p. 193-205 .


Kennedy, M.J., Christie-Blick, N., Prave, T., 2001, Carbon Isotopic composition of Neoproterozoic glacial carbonates as a paleoceanographic test of snowball Earth Phenomenon. Geology, v. 29, p. 1135-1138.


Christie-Blick, N., Sohl, L., Kennedy, M.J., Hoffman, P. and Schrag, D., 1999. Considering a Neoproterozoic snowball earth.  Science, V. 284 no. 5417.


Kennedy, M.J., Hedin, L.O. and Derry, L.A., 2002, Unpolluted temperate forests are nutritionally decoupled from weathering sources, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, v.99, p. 9639-9644.


Kennedy, M.J., Pevear, D.R., and Hill, R.H., 2002, Mineral surface control of organic carbon in black shale.  Science, v. 295, p., 657-660. 


Kennedy, M.J., Christie-Blick, N., Sohl, L., 2001, Are Proterozoic cap carbonates and isotopic excursions a record of gas hydrate destabilization following Earth's coldest intervals? Geology. v. 29, p.443-446.


Vitousek, P.A., Kennedy, M.J., Derry, L.A., Chadwick, O.E., 1999, Weathering versus atmospheric sources of strontium in ecosystems in young volcanic soils, Oecologia, v.121, p. 255-259.


Kennedy, M.J., Chadwick, O.A., Vitousek, P.M., Derry, L.A., Derry, L.A., Hendricks, D.M., 1998, Changing sources of base cations during ecosystem development, Hawaiian Islands. Geology, v. 26, p. 1015-1018.


Kennedy, M.J., Runnegar, B., Prave, A.R., Hoffmann, C., and Arthur, M.A., 1998. Two or four Neoproterozoic glaciations. Geology, Special Report, V. 26, p. 1059-1063.


Kennedy, M.J.  1996.  Deglaciation, d13C excursions and carbonate precipitation: Isotopic geochemistry, stratigraphy and sedimentology of Australian Neoproterozoic post-glacial cap-dolostones.  Journal of Sedimentary Research, 66, pp. 1049-1063.


Kennedy, M.J.  1993.  The Undoolya sequence; a new stratigraphic unit syn-depositionaly deposited adjacent to a late Proterozoic salt structure; Amadeus Basin, Central Australia.  Australian Journal of Earth Science, 40, part 4, pp. 217-228.



Montanez, I., Norris, D., Chandler, M. Kennedy, M., Kent. D.,Kiehl, J., Kump, L. Turekien, K., 2011, Understanding Earth's Deep Past, Lessons for Our Climate Future.  National research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, Washington D.C. 171pp. 







Entry last updated: Monday, 11 Aug 2014

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