Professor Kliti Grice Grice is an internationally renowned organic geochemist who creatively combines geological information with data on molecular fossils and their stable carbon and hydrogen isotopic compositions to reconstruct details of microbial, fungal and floral inhabitants of ancient aquatic environments. She is especially well known for identifying a geological and environmental basis for the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history, which happened at the end of the Permian Period, about 252 million years ago.
Grice’s research over the years has integrated molecular and isotopic information on plant and algal physiology, microbial ecology, food-webs, organic chemistry, petroleum geochemistry and geology with our planet's history. In particular, she has shown how some of the major biological extinction events of the geological past can be traced to factors intrinsic to the Earth system, as opposed to external factors such as asteroid impacts. Analyses of the natural variation in stable isotopes of lipids present in controlled growth experiments from extant plants, algae and grazing organisms carried out by Grice have provided new insights into how these systems function across paleoecological to modern timescales and across a wide range of spatial scales.
Grice’s outstanding research reputation has also attracted many national and international PhD and postdoctoral scholars to the wonders of Earth science. She provides training and mentorship to students coming from a wide array of scientific disciplines, including chemistry, biology, geology and environmental science. In addition, the training of research students at the PhD and Masters level, as well as early career researchers, is the prime focus of the world-class organic and isotope geochemistry centre that she has established at Curtin University.