David Flannery

Public profile

David Flannery
Postal Address: 
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory M/S 183-206 4800 Oak Grove Drive Pasadena, CA 91109 USA
Grouping Type: 
Associate Members

David came to the ACA from a diverse background in science, the humanities and industry. After first completing an M.Phil degree with the ACA in 2010, he went on to study early microbial ecosystems preserved in rocks of the Pilbara region, Western Australia, during a PhD supervised by ACA Foundation Director Malcolm Walter.

David’s research at the ACA included several seasons of geological fieldwork in the Pilbara supported by the Geological Survey of Western Australia, as well as an opportunity to study Shark Bay and other modern analogues for ancient ecosystems in both field and laboratory settings.

David continues his research as a Caltech Postdoctoral Scholar at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. His current research interests include biosignatures in Archean (4 to 2.5 billion-year-old) rocks and Martian geology. “My time at the ACA was the perfect balance of adventure, science and career development”, he says.


Recent Publications and Conferences:

Flannery, D. Allwood, A. Van Kranendonk, M. (2016) Lacustrine facies dependence of highly 13C-depleted organic matter during the Global Age of Methanotrophy. Precambrian Research.

Michael L. Tuite, David T. Flannery and Kenneth H. Williford (2016). Organic geochemistry of a high-latitude Lower Cretaceous lacustrine sediment sample from the Koonwarra Fossil Beds, South Gippsland, Victoria, Australia. Memoirs Museum Victoria. 74 :73-79

P.D. Ward, D.T.O. Flannery, E.N. Flannery and T.F.F. Flannery (2016) The Paleocene cephalopod fauna from Pebble Point, Victoria (Australia) – fulcrum between two Eras. Memoirs Museum Victoria. 74 :391-402 (2016)

Y Liu, C Ma, J Beckett, D Flannery, A Allwood (2016) Metamorphism on Mars: A View from Eskolaite-Bearing Chromite-Magnetites in Northwest Africa (NWA) 7533. Lunar and Planetary Science Conference Abstracts. 47:1127

Thompson David R., Flannery David T., Lanka Ravi, Allwood Abigail C., Bue Brian D., Clark Benton C., Elam W. Timothy, Estlin Tara A., Hodyss Robert P., Hurowitz Joel A., Liu Yang, and Wade Lawrence A. (2015) Automating X-ray Fluorescence Analysis for Rapid Astrobiology Surveys. Astrobiology. November 2015, 15(11): 961-976. doi:10.1089/ast.2015.1349.

D. T. Flannery, A. C. Allwood, W. T. Elam, R. Hodyss, D. R. Thompson and L. Wade. 2015. MicroXRF Analysis of Astrobiologically-Significant Geological Samples. Advances in X-ray Analysis 59  (in press).

DR Thompson, DT Flannery, AC Allwood, BD Bue, WT Elam, JA Hurowitz. 2015. Nonlinear embeddings of Xray fluorescence spectra, with application to PIXL on Mars 2020. Proceedings of the 45th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Houston, 2015, 46, p2406.

Rowan C. Martindale, Justin V. Strauss, Erik A. Sperling, Jena E. Johnson, Martin J. Van Kranendonk, David Flannery, Katherine French, Kevin Lepot, Rajat Mazumder, Melissa S. Rice, Daniel P. Schrag, Roger Summons, Malcolm Walter, John Abelson, Andrew H. Knoll. 2015. Sedimentology, chemostratigraphy, and stromatolites of lower Paleoproterozoic carbonates, Turee Creek Group, Western Australia, Precambrian Research, 266, 194-211.

Allwood, B. Clarke, T. Elam, D. Flannery, M. Foote, J. Hurowitz, E. Knowles and L. Wade. 2015. Texture-specific elemental analysis of rocks and soils with PIXL: The Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry on Mars 2020. Proceedings of the IEEE Aerospace Conference 2015, 1-13.

Allwood, L. Wade, J. Hurowitz, R. Hodyss, D. Flannery. 2014. Seeking Ancient Microbial Biosignatures With PIXL on Mars 2020. American Geophysical Fall Meeting 2014.

J. William Schopf, Anatoliy B. Kudryavtsev, Malcolm R. Walter, Martin J. Van Kranendonk, Kenneth H. Williford, Reinhard Kozdon, John W. Valley, Victor A. Gallardo, Carola Espinoza and David T. Flannery. 2015. Sulfur-cycling fossil bacteria from the 1.8-Ga Duck Creek Formation provide promising evidence of evolution's null hypothesis. Geobiology. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1419241112

Hoshino, Y., Flannery, D., Walter, M., George, S. 2015. The spatial distribution of hydrocarbon biomarkers in an Archean stromatolite outcrop in the Fortescue Group, Pilbara region, Western Australia. 27th International Meeting on Organic Geochemistry, Prague.

David R. Thompson, Ravi Kiran, Abigail Allwood, Alphan Altinok, Tara Estlin, David Flannery. Smarter Instruments, Smarter Archives: Machine Learning for Tactical Science. American Geophysical Fall Meeting 2014.

K.H. Williford, A.C. Allwood, L. Beegle, R. Bhartia, D.T. Flannery, A. Hoffmann, M.F. Mora, D.A. Petrizzo, M. Tuite. Sample Return Science. American Geophysical Fall Meeting 2014.

Rajat Mazumder, Shuvabrata De, Tohru Ohta, David Flannery, Leena Mallik, Trisrota Chaudhury, Priyanka Chatterjee, Marinah A. Ranaivoson & Makoto Arima. 2015. Palaeo-Mesoproterozoic sedimentation and tectonics of the Singhbhum Craton, eastern India, and implications for global and craton-specific geological events. In: Mazumder, R. & Eriksson, P. G. (eds) Precambrian Basins of India: Stratigraphic and Tectonic Context. Geological Society of London Memoir, 43, 139–149.

Y. Hoshino, D. T. Flannery, M. R. Walter and S. C. George. 2014. Hydrocarbons preserved in a ~2.7 Ga outcrop sample from the Fortescue Group, Pilbara Craton, Western Australia. Geobiology. doi: 10.1111/gbi.12117

D. T. Flannery, M. J. Van Kranendonk , R. Mazumder , M. R. Walter. 2014. The ca 2.74 Ga Mopoke Member, Kylena Formation: a marine incursion into the northern Fortescue Group? Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, Vol. 61:8.

D.T. Flannery. 2014. Old, smelly lakes: facies-dependence of extremely-depleted Neoarchean δ13Corg values. Australian Earth Sciences Convention, 7-10th July 2014, Newcastle, Australia

Y. Hoshino, D. T. Flannery, M. R. Walter and S. C. George. The preservation potential of hydrocarbon biomarkers in an Archean stromatolite outcrop in the Fortescue Group, Pilbara region, Western Australia Australian Organic Geochemistry Conference 2014.

David R. Thompson, Abigail Allwood, Christopher Assad, David Flannery, Robert Hodyss, Emily Knowles, Lawrence Wade. 2014. Adaptive sampling for rover x-ray lithochemistry. Proceedings of the International Symposium on AI, Robotics and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS) 2014.

K. H. Williford, A. C. Allwood,Y. Liu, D. Beaty, L. Beegle, R. Bhartia, Y. Chen, D. Flannery, A. Hoffmann, R. Lopes, M. F. Mora, G. Peters, M. Tuite, P.Willis. 2014. The JPL Center for Analysis of Returned Samples. 8th International Mars Conference, Pasadena, USA.

Coffey J.M., Flannery D.T., George S.C., Walter M.R. 2013. Sedimentology, stratigraphy and geochemistry of a stromatolite biofacies in the 2.72 Ga Tumbiana Formation, Fortescue Group, Western Australia. Precambrian Research. Published online 6 August 2013.

Sim M.S., Liang B., Petroff A.P., Evans A., Klepac-Ceraj V., Flannery D.T., Walter M.R., Bosak T. Oxygen-Dependent Morphogenesis of Modern Clumped Photosynthetic Mats and Implications for the Archean Stromatolite Record. Geosciences. 2012; 2(4):235-259.

Peynot T. Li R., Flannery D.T. 2012. Mawson the Astrobiologist Rover: Toward Automatic Recognition of Stromatolites. Proceedings of i-SAIRAS 2012: The 11th International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation in Space. Turin, Italy.

Flannery D. T., Hoshino Y., Walter M.R., George S.C., Van Kranendonk M. A record of life in changing Neoarchean environments of the Fortescue Group, Pilbara region, Western Australia. Speaker, Day 3, Symposium 17.3: The Habitats and Paleobiology of Early Life on Earth.  The 34th Annual International Geological Conference, 5-10th August 2012, Brisbane, Australia.

Flannery D. T., Hoshino Y.,Walter M.R., George S.C. 2012. Field Observations Relating to the ~2.74Ga Mopoke Member, Kylena Formation, Fortescue Group. Geological Survey of Western Australia, Record 2012/8. 22p.

D.T. Flannery. Photosynthesis and the Neoarchean Microbialite Record Speaker, Day 4, Session: The Origin and Early Evolution of Oxygenic Photosynthesis. Chaired by Prof. R. Blankenship. AbSciCon 2012, 15-19th April 2012. Georgia Tech Conference Centre, Atlanta, USA.

Flannery D. T., Walter M. R. 2011. Archean tufted microbial mats and the Great Oxidation Event: new insights into an ancient problem. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 59, 1, 1-11.

D.T. Flannery. Cyanobacteria and Stromatolites of the 2.7Ga Tumbiana Formation. Speaker, Day 1.  The Evolution of Photosynthesis and Oxygenation of the Earth, An Elizabeth and Frederick White Conference of the Australian Academy of Science. The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

D.T. Flannery, J.M. Coffey, S.C. George, M.R. Walter. 2010. Does the Neoarchean Fortescue Group record the oldest evidence for oxygenic photosynthesis? In: Tyler, I.M, Knox-Robinson, C.M., 2010, The Fifth International Archean Symposium Abstracts: Geological Survey of Western Australia Record 2010/18, 410p.

Flannery, D. T., 2009. Global Darwin: ideas blurred in early eastern translation. Nature (Correspondence), 464, 984


Tumbiana Stromatolites

Tumbiana Formation stromatolites and ripple cross-stratification, Pilbara, Western Australia

Photo by David Flannery


David Flannery and Shark Bay Stromatolites

David Flannery and living stromatolites in Hamelin Pool, Shark Bay, Western Australia



Member for
10 years 1 day