Dr. Xiaolei Liu, Instructor
Email: xlliu@ou.edu

2007-2011, PhD., Organic Geochemistry, MARUM, University of Bremen, Germany
2004-2007, MSc., Palaeontology, NIGPAS, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
1999-2003, B.S., Ecology and Environmental Microbiology, Shandong University, China

Olawale Alo, PhD student

2020-present PhD. Geobiology, School of geosciences, University of Oklahoma
2017-2020 MSc. Marine geosciences, University of Bremen, Germany
2013-2015 MSc. Petroleum Geology and Sedimentology, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
2006-2011 BSc. Geology, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria

I received a BSc. in Geology from Obafemi Awolowo University in 2011, my thesis was on the Hydrogeophysical investigation of Chat Formation, Chad Basin. I proceeded to the University of Ibadan where I obtained an MSc degree in Petroleum Geology and Sedimentology. I stayed back at the University of Ibadan for two years, working as a research assistant and software instructor. In 2017, I enrolled in the marine geosciences MS program at the University of Bremen. I did my thesis in Prof. Kai-Uwe Hinrich’s organic geochemistry group under the supervision of Dr. Florence Schubotz. My thesis centered on the characterization of polar hydrocarbons at an asphalt seep (Campeche Knoll, Southern Gulf of Mexico) using class-type separation. In the Fall of 2020, I began my graduate studies at the University of Oklahoma, in the geobiology research Lab.


The onset of the last interglacial period resulted in rise of the global sea level which led to the reconnection of the Black Sea with the Mediterranean Sea. The changes in salinity and water chemistry due of this reconnection is expected to be accompanied by a dynamic and a continuous evolution in the microbial community. My research therefore focuses on better understanding the response of the microbial community to salinity changes during the transition of the Black Sea from freshwater lake to marine. I use integrated biomarker inventory and trace metal abundance and distribution to characterize the changes.

Derek Parks, PhD student
Email: derek.r.parks-1@ou.edu

2021-present PhD. Geology, School of geosciences, University of Oklahoma
2019-2021 MSc. Geology, School of geosciences, University of Oklahoma
2014-2017 B.S. Geology, B.S. Chemistry, Mathematics minor, Wichita, Wichita State University

I received a B.S. in both Geology and Chemistry in 2017 from Wichita State University where I participated in research creating novel ligands. After I briefly worked for a geochemistry company that put mass spectrometers on oil rigs to analyze the gas coming off the mud as they drilled. I then returned to academia in 2019 and worked as a graduate assistant for OU where I did my thesis on the use of a novel LCMS method to analyze polar biomarkers of the Woodford Shale. In 2021 I began the Doctorate program at OU where I will continue my research and working as a teaching assistant for undergraduate labs.


My research will mainly continue my Master’s thesis, in which I analyzed a suite of polar biomarkers and applied them as a proxy for the ancient environment. In this thesis I will reinvestigate the use of metalloporphyrins as redox proxy, such as the VO/Ni ratio, and explore the chelating characteristics of porphyrins to different metal species. Future research will also explore the possibility to use porphyrins to chelate free metals in sediment allowing metals to be characterized by the novel LCMS method we used to analyze the polar biomarkers.

Chenxi Xu, PhD student

2018-present PhD. Geology, School of geosciences, University of Oklahoma
2016-2018 MSc. Geology, School of geosciences, University of Oklahoma
2011-2015 B.S. Petroleum Geology, China University of Petroleum, Qingdao, China
I received an Sc.B. in Petroleum Geology from China University of Petroleum in 2015 where I wrote my thesis on reservoir architecture analysis of the Second Sand Group of Lower Sha 2 in Shanghe Oilfield. After, I began my graduate studies (Master Program) in 2016 as a graduate assistant at OU and worked on the sequence stratigraphy of the Late Guadalupian Capitan slope at McKittrick Canyon by the integration of high-resolution XRF and LiDAR devices. In 2018, I continued my graduate studies (Doctorate Program) and served as research assistant at Geobiology Lab at OU and teaching assistant for undergraduate labs.


My research involves the sequence stratigraphy and biogeochemistry, such as biomarkers, carbon isotopes, and elemental chemostratigraphic studies. From preliminary XRF-LiDAR observations made in the outcrop, I propose a subsurface organic chemostratigraphic isotopic study of semi-continuous cores of the Permian with special emphasis upon the Leonardian Bone Spring Formation of Delaware Basin. Conducting such a study upon these predominantly sediment gravity flow clastics and carbonates should yield important information regarding the organic carbon budget of this Permain equatorial closed sea. Moreover it will allow the determination of effects the local and global eustatic sea level changes upon vertical reduced carbon transport within this tropical paleoocean. When coupled to high resolution sequence stratigraphic and biomarker analysis, the results should shed light upon the transport and preservation of organic carbon to the sediment floor as affected by changes in both allocyclic and autocyclic depositional processes. Plus, a novel method of detection for selected metal-porphyrins will be examined.

Publications and Presentations
Xu, C., 2022, High-resolution XRF-LiDAR Sequence Stratigraphy of the Late Guadalupian Capitan Slope at McKittrick Canyon, Texas: Process-Response of Oscillating Delaware Basin Sea Level (under publication)
Xu, C., Wang, Z., Pigott, J., 2019, LiDAR-XRF Constrained Forward Seismic Model of McKittrick Canyon Shelf Slope: High-Resolution Into its Sequence Stratigraphy and Insight Into Interpretation of Seismic Profiles of the Permian Subsurface, AAPG annual conference poster presentation, San Antonio.
Xu, C., Pigott, J., Yilmaz, E., 2019, High Resolution 3D Basin Analysis of Northern Delaware Basin: Insight into Maturity Heterogeneities, West Texas Geological Society annual conference oral presentation, Midland.

Wenshuo Zhao, Master student
Email: wzhao@ou.edu

2023-present MSc. Geology, School of geosciences, University of Oklahoma
2020-2023 B.A. Environmental Geoscience, The College of Wooster, Wooster, Ohio

I received my B.A. in environmental geoscience from The College of Wooster in 2023. At Wooster I have participated in research in a variety of subfields of geoscience ranging from dendrochronology to limnology with a strong focus on Quaternary paleoclimatology. I have past experience on using long tree-ring chronologies from both the American Midwest and Alaska for paleoclimatological, ecological, and archaeological studies. My thesis focuses on a self-developed method of chemical treatment upon the subfossil wood samples from Alaska for the amplification of paleoclimatic signals from the tree rings. At Wooster I have also been a member of a multiyear project aiming for the scientific communications between teenagers from Alaskan indigenous tribes and our lab in Ohio, for which I have traveled to Kake, Alaska for an on-site visit in summer 2022. I came to OU as a master student in geology in fall 2023 and worked as a graduate research assistant at the geobiology lab since.

Junpeng Fu, Master student
Email: jfu@ou.edu

2023-present MSc. Geology, School of geosciences, University of Oklahoma
2020-2023 B.A. Archaeology, The College of Wooster, Wooster, Ohio

I received a B.A. in Archaeology from The College of Wooster in December 2022, my thesis was on the functional analysis of some ancient bone tools from the Kura-Araxes cultural group. I have also worked in the Wooster Tree Ring Lab (WTRL) to do some dendrochronology work, such as helping people date old wood cabins and analyzing local paleoclimatology information based on tree-ring records. In the Fall of 2023, I came to OU to pursue my master’s degree and worked as a research assistant in the Geobiology Lab.


Dr. Gregory Connock, 2018-2021