Dave Wacey

Dr, BA DPhil Oxf.

  • The University of Western Australia (M010), 35 Stirling Highway, Room 1.61, Physics Building, Perth campus

    6009 Perth


  • 1575 Citations
  • 23 h-Index
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Personal profile


I am an ARC Future Fellow researching the origin and evolution of life. I obtained my D.Phil. from Oxford University in 2004 studying the effects of sulfate-reducing bacteria on biomineralization. My current research focuses on morphological, chemical and isotopic tracers of primitive Archean life, using cutting edge techniques such as NanoSIMS and Transmission Electron Microscopy. I am also the author of an introductory textbook on Archean life entitled ‘Early Life on Earth: A Practical Guide’.

Previous positions

Editorial Board of Nature Scientific Reports
Editorial Board of Geobiology

Current projects

1. Remarkable preservation of Precambrian organic material
2. Linking ancient, modern and potential extra-terrestrial biosignatures
3. Nano-signatures of microbial life in volcanic ecosystems
4. Investigation of life in a 3.5 billion-year-old sandstone
5. Life in the Proterozoic - Gunflint and Torridon biotas


My research seeks to elucidate how and when life originated on Earth and whether it could have originated on other planets such as Mars. Within this framework, I am part of a multidisciplinary team based jointly at the Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation & Analysis and the School of Earth & Environment.

I use a variety of research tools, including field based mapping and sample collection in Australia, optical and electron microscopy, state of the art computer based imaging, microbiology and high resolution geochemistry.


  • Early life on Earth
  • Microfossils
  • Stromatolites
  • Carbon and sulphur isotope geochemistry
  • Pilbara Archean geology
  • Palaeontology

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Projects 2009 2017

Research Output 2005 2018

  • 1575 Citations
  • 23 h-Index
  • 48 Article
  • 10 Chapter
  • 2 Book
  • 2 Conference paper
1 Citations

A microbial role in the construction of Mono Lake carbonate chimneys?

Brasier, A., Wacey, D., Rogerson, M., Guagliardo, P., Saunders, M., Kellner, S., Mercedes-Martin, R., Prior, T., Taylor, C., Matthews, A. & Reijmer, J., 1 Sep 2018, In : Geobiology. 16, 5, p. 540-555 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations

Chemical and Optical Identification of Micrometer-Sized 1.9 Billion-Year-Old Fossils by Combining a Miniature Laser Ablation Ionization Mass Spectrometry System with an Optical Microscope

Wiesendanger, R., Wacey, D., Tulej, M., Neubeck, A., Ivarsson, M., Grimaudo, V., Moreno-García, P., Cedeño-López, A., Riedo, A. & Wurz, P., 1 Aug 2018, In : Astrobiology. 18, 8, p. 1071-1080 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Optical Devices
Laser Therapy
optical microscopes
1 Citations

Mineralisation of filamentous cyanobacteria in Lake Thetis stromatolites, Western Australia

Wacey, D., Urosevic, L., Saunders, M. & George, A. D., Mar 2018, In : Geobiology. 16, 2, p. 203-215

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Western Australia
2 Citations
2 Citations

Volcanogenic Pseudo-Fossils from the ∼3.48 Ga Dresser Formation, Pilbara, Western Australia

Wacey, D., Noffke, N., Saunders, M., Guagliardo, P. & Pyle, D. M., 1 May 2018, In : Astrobiology. 18, 5, p. 539-555 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Western Australia
volcanic glass


X-ray microtomography as a tool for investigating the petrological context of Precambrian cellular remains

Hickman-Lewis, K. (Creator), Garwood, R. J. (Creator), Withers, P. J. (Creator), Wacey, D. (Creator), Zenodo, 26 Oct 2016


Remarkable preservation of brain tissues in an Early Cretaceous iguanodontian dinosaur

Brasier, M. D. (Creator), Norman, D. B. (Creator), Liu, A. G. (Creator), Cotton, L. J. (Creator), Hiscocks, J. E. H. (Creator), Garwood, R. J. (Creator), Antcliffe, J. B. (Creator), Wacey, D. (Creator), Zenodo, 27 Oct 2016