Ben Gill is an Associate Professor in Department of Geosciences and is a geochemist and sedimentary geologist who specializes in reconstructing the present and past chemical cycles on our planet. As an undergrad, he studied Geological Sciences at the University of Missouri; his Ph.D. is in Earth Sciences from the University of California, Riverside. Just prior to joining Virginia Tech, he was a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University. Gill leads the Biogeochemistry Laboratory Group at Virginia Tech. The main research focus of his group concerns understanding the connections between major changes in the environment (oxygenation/deoxygenation oceans, climatic warming and cooling, etc.) and major events in the history of life (originations, diversifications and mass extinctions).
His research combines classic sedimentologic and stratigraphic methods with both proven and novel geochemical and numerical modeling techniques. It also includes work at field locations from around the world, including sites in the Appalachians, Alaska, Australia, China, the Great Basin, Germany, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.
Some recent group research investigations include: 1) Examining the changes to the carbon cycle and marine redox during the extinction events during the Cambrian Period. 2) Reconstructing the changes to the carbon and sulfur cycles during the end-Triassic mass extinction event. 3) Understanding the dynamics of the deoxygenation of the oceans and its links to climatic warming and mass extinction during the Oceanic Anoxic Events in the Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods.