What we do

The Gold lab specializes in molecular geobiology, meaning we use data from living organisms to ask question related to the fossil and geologic record. We also study biological systems from the perspective of deep, geologic time (how systems are shaped over hundreds of millions of years). Most of this work is centered on the origin of animals, but Dr. Gold has worked on projects as ancient as the evolution of photosynthesis and as recent as DNA preservation from mammoth bones. Our work is highly interdisciplinary, touching on marine biology, genomics, biological regeneration, conservation ecology, and evolution. Our laboratory spaces include the main campus of the University of California, Davis as well as the Bodega Marine Laboratory.

Current Areas of Research

A Commitment to Inclusion

The Gold lab is committed to improving diversity, opportunity, and equity in the geosciences. This includes a combination of outreach / retention activities as well as the study of science’s historical role in the development of racist ideology. Our research emphasizes community engagement and the integration of indigenous forms of knowledge. Dr. Gold is a strong proponent of empiricism and the scientific method, but he accepts its fundamental limitations and the role society plays in shaping research. We believe that increasing diversity inherently improves the scientific enterprise.

Latest News

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Award: Paleo Society Grant

Congratulations to Tessa for receiving a Paleontological Society Research Grant! This will fund field work in the Wheeler Shale. So excited to see the results!

New Paper: Will shells survive an age of climate change?

Many marine animals build their shells and skeletons out of calcium carbonate. When ocean water becomes more acidic–as happens when the climate warms–calcium carbonate should be harder to extract. This has many scientists worries about the fate of corals, molluscs, and other important marine life. Indeed, many studies have shown that certain species have trouble building their shells when their water is more acidic, but many other studies do not. What could explain this variation? Dr. Gold explores this question with Geerat Vermeij in a new paper, “Deep resilience: An evolutionary perspective on calcification in an age of ocean acidification.” It is available for free at Frontiers in Physiology. DOI link: https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2023.1092321

Award: CRAFT 2.0

We are thrilled to learn that our lab has received a COVID-19 Research Accelerator Funding Track (CRAFT 2.0) award. The UC Davis Office of Research launched this competitive program to support research that was negatively affected by the pandemic. The funds will provide a valuable opportunity to continue our research on moon jellyfish.

Clam research featured in the Atlantic and Hakai Magazine

The work Hannah presented at the Geological Society of America continues to get more and more attention! Two new articles interview Hannah, as well as our collaborator Tsim Schneider, and dive into our research on clams. Links to the articles are below: Hakai Magazine: Clamshells Face the Acid Test The Atlantic: Some Indigenous People Crushed Up Dead Clams. Maybe We Should Too?

Hannah’s Research Featured on GSA

The Geological Society of America (GSA) interviewed Hannah to learn more about the research she presented at their annual conference! Check out their press release: “Incorporating Traditional Management Techniques to Combat Effects of Ocean Acidification.”

Tessa and Hannah Present at GSA

Congratulations to Tessa and Hannah, who both gave excellent presentations at this year’s Geological Society of America (GSA) conference. There was lots of good questions and feedback from the audience. This was the first time that Dr. Gold got to watch his students present at a national conference, and he couldn’t be prouder of them!

Tessa passes her QE!

Congratulations to Tessa for passing her qualifying exam! It’s an ambitious project combining the rock fieldwork and molecular biology. We can’t wait to see what comes out of it.

New Paper: Genes that control aging in the oldest living animals

Dr. Gold’s latest paper is now out. This is the first project in a partnership with Dr. David Sinclair at Harvard Medical School (check out our feature on Veritasium to learn more about our work). The paper is accessible for free at Molecular Biology and Evolution.

Big Jellyfish Tank!

Our new jellyfish tank at the Bodega Marine Laboratory is up and running!

Liyu presents at NSF CAMP/LAMP symposium

Our new jellyfish tank at the Bodega Marine Laboratory is up and running!

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Thanks for Current and Past Support