American Univesity of Beirut

Life Resilience and Extinction (History of Life and Climate)

​​​​​​​​​​​Short description

This track focuses mainly on research related to the geologic history of life (biosphere) on Earth, and how it is affected by the dynamics in the different major reservoirs – geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere. Projects include understanding the intricacies of the geologic time-order relationships and their consequences on the use of fossils in stratigraphic correlation. This requires a deeper quantitative understanding of the apparently contradicting intersections of stratigraphic correlation lines, especially with the necessary acquisition of high-resolution biostratigraphic data. This directly impacts the high-resolution reconstruction of the poorly investigated long-term cause effects between climate and life (Earth System History). Currently, statistical and heuristic treatments of biostratigraphic data are available, in addition to some minor applications of graph theory. The investigation uses a wide variety of mathematical techniques, including matrix algebra, fuzzy sets, and topology, ….

The purpose of this group is to introduce undergraduate students to the abiogenesis and the evolution of life, the history of extinction events (especially during the Phanerozoic), and the long-term possible links between life resilience and climate change. A professional field and lab experience could be taught at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. It aims at teaching the students materials and methods in applied paleontology from sampling methods to light and scanning microscopic analyses, biologic classification, morphometrics and cladistics, stable and environmental isotopes, and geochemical analysis of organic remains, among others.


Prof. Ali Haidar  (Geology, FAS)


  1. Stratigraphic Correlation: application of a variety of mathematical techniques (matrix algebra, …) on stratigraphic depositional models to clarify the relationships between in situ and reworked sediment (especially for the marine and marginal-marine environments), and modeling the effects on the production of intersection in the biostratigraphic correlation lines.
  2. ​Plankton Biodiversity: From Monitoring to Modelling: a collection of plankton samples in oceans and lakes, together with a series of environmental parameters (light, nitrate, phosphate, chlorophyll concentration, temperature, density, ...).

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