Dr Nicholas Tosca

Dr Nicholas Tosca

I am Fellow and Tutor in Earth Sciences at St Peter’s and an Associate Professor in Sedimentary Geology. I have been a Fellow of St Peter’s since 2014, appointed after a Lectureship in Earth Sciences at the University of St Andrews, and Postdoctoral Research Fellowships at Churchill College, Cambridge, and Harvard University. My research is focused on how Earth’s climate has evolved through its early history and how this impacted biological evolution.

My research uses both experimental and field studies to understand how changing climate and seawater chemistry were archived in the sedimentary record. This research has taken me on a fascinating journey from unraveling the early evolution of the martian surface to uncovering new ways that climate change is written in Earth’s sedimentary record, stretching from modern environments to those that first supported life on our planet. In this time I have developed a passion for teaching at the Undergraduate and Postgraduate levels. I use every opportunity to weave cutting-edge research into my teaching and I utilize diverse sources of inspiration to re-invigorate the teaching of cornerstone subjects that underpin modern Earth Sciences.


I teach Earth Sciences at St Peter’s College.


Research currently ranges from understanding the co-evolution of life and environment around the time that atmospheric oxygen first appeared in the Archaean and Palaeoproterozoic, and also the later Neoproterozoic and Cambrian when complex macroscopic life first emerged. My research also focuses on the nature of early climate as recorded in the martian sedimentary record; I was involved in NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover mission. More recently, my research has also influenced landing site selection for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission, which is currently exploring ancient sediments over three billion years old.