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Dr. Ricardo L. Silva

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Tel: + 353 1 896 1363 
Office: Museum Building, Research Room B


Our knowledge of past, present, and future environments is, in part, limited by our incomplete comprehension regarding the influence of oceans and oceanic carbon on Earth’s biogeochemical cycles. My research is focused on the physical, geochemical, and biological controls and feedbacks on production and preservation of organic matter and the carbon cycle at geological time scales. I apply a broad array of sedimentological, palynological, geochemical, and petrophysical tools to the study of terrestrial to marine depositional systems characterised by organic-rich sediments.

Here at TCD, I am investigating Mesozoic (Jurassic) successions from the Atlantic margins, with an emphasis on the Irish offshore basins. Understanding the role of oceans and oceanic carbon in planetary-scale environmental crisis is vital to model drivers of climate change, calibrate and validate climate predictions, and mitigate risks. The study of organic-rich intervals in the Irish basins will also bring new ideas from academia to industry. Source rocks, i.e. organic-rich sediments capable of generating hydrocarbons when buried and heated, are an essential element of any petroleum system. By investigating the presence of source rocks and their ability to generate hydrocarbons (quantity and quality-kerogen type) within a constrained temporal and spatial framework in the Irish offshore, this project will contribute to increase exploration success, decrease exploration impact on the environment, and benefit the economy. This project is funded by iCRAG (project: Temporal and spatial variability in Lower Jurassic hydrocarbon source rock quality in Irish off-shore marine basins, PI Dr Micha Ruhl).

Before joining Trinity College Dublin, I held the positions of Post-Doctoral Fellow, Research Associate, and Assistant Professor (Sedimentology) at Dalhousie University (Canada, 2013-2019). I have completed research internships at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Cardiff University (Wales, UK), and Camborne School of Mines, University of Exeter (UK). I graduated with a PhD in Geology, specialization in Stratigraphy and Palaeontology, in 2013 from the University of Coimbra (Portugal), where I also completed my BSc.

Peer-reviewed publications

(Google Scholar citations: > 710; H-index: 14; i10-index: 18)

Silva, R.L., Duarte, L.V., Wach, G., Morrison, N., Campbell, T., 2020. Oceanic organic carbon as a possible first-order control on the carbon cycle during the Bathonian–Callovian. Global and Planetary Change 184, 103058

Silva, R.L., Wach, G., Hesselbo, S., O’Connor, D., 2020. Total organic carbon and Rock-Eval characterisation of the Lower Cretaceous in Compton Bay and Atherfield Bay, Isle of Wight (England). Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association.

Rodrigues, B.*, Silva, R.L., Mendonça Filho, J.G., Driss, S., Mendonça, J.O., Duarte, L.V., 2020. Late Pliensbachian–Early Toarcian palaeoenvironmental dynamics and the Pliensbachian–Toarcian Event in the Middle Atlas Basin (Morocco). International Journal of Coal Geology. (* - student)

Rodrigues, B.*, Silva, R.L., Reolid, M., Mendonça Filho, J.G., Duarte, L.V., 2019. Sedimentary organic matter and δ13CKerogen variation on the southern Iberian palaeomargin (Betic Cordillera, SE Spain) during the latest Pliensbachian–Early Toarcian. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 534, 109342 (* - student)

Sêco, S.R.L.*, Silva, R.L., Watson, N., Duarte, L.V., Pereira, A.J.S.C., Wach, G., Application of petrophysical methods to estimate total organic carbon in Lower Jurassic source rocks from the offshore Lusitanian Basin (Portugal). Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering 180, 1058-1068 (* - student)

O’Connor, D.*, Silva, R.L., Wach, G., 2018. Earliest sedimentological evidence for marine ingressions in the eastern North American rift system, Central Atlantic Margin. Lithosphere 10(6), 783-791 (* - student)

Sêco*, S.L.R., Duarte L.V., Pereira, A.S.C., Silva, R.L., 2018. Field gamma-ray patterns and stratigraphic reinterpretation of well-log offshore data from Lower Jurassic organic-rich units of the Lusitanian Basin (Portugal). Marine and Petroleum Geology 98, 860-872 (* - student)

Carlisle, C.*, Wach, G. 2017. The carbon isotopic record of the Lower Jurassic in the Slyne Basin (Ireland). Marine and Petroleum Geology, 86, 499-511 (* - student)

Di Maggio, R.M., Donnelly, L.J., Al Naimi, K.S., Barone, P.M., Da Silva Salvador, F.A., Dawson, L., Dixon, R., Fitzpatrick, R., Gradusova, O., Nesterina, E., Peleneva, M., Ushacova, O., Gallego, C.M.M., Pirrie, D.l., Ruffell, A.m., McKinley, J., Sagripanti, G., Villalba, D., Schneck, B., Sugita, R., Wach, G., Silva, R., Forbes, S. 2017. Global developments in forensic geology, Episodes, 40(2), 120-131.

Duarte, L.V., Silva, R.L., Félix, F., Comas-Rengifo, M.J., Rocha, R.B., Mattioli, E., Paredes, R.*, Mendonça Filho, J.G. 2017. The Jurassic of the Peniche Peninsula (Portugal): from the scientific relevance to the educational and science popularization impact. Revistas de la Sociedad Geológica de España, 30, 55-70 (* - student)

Duarte L.V., Mattioli, E., Rocha, R.B., Silva, R.L., 2017. The Lower Jurassic at Peniche (Lusitanian Basin): recent advances in Stratigraphy and Sedimentary Geology. Earth Sciences Journal 19 (1), 2017, 35-51

Silva, R.L., Duarte, L.V., 2015. Organic matter production and preservation in the Lusitanian Basin and Late Pliensbachian climatic hot snaps. Global and Planetary Change, 131, 24–34

Silva, R.L., Duarte, L.V., Comas-Rengifo, 2015. Chapter 13. Carbon isotope chemostratigraphy of Lower Jurassic carbonate deposits, Lusitanian Basin (Portugal): Implications and limitations to the application in sequence stratigraphic studies. In: Ramkumar, M. (Ed). Chemostratigraphy: concepts, techniques, and applications. Elsevier, pp. 341-371.

Silva, R.L., Wong, C.*, Wach, G., 2015. Source Rocks and Petroleum Systems of the Scotian Basin. CSEG Recorder, 40(8), 22-27 (* - student)

Campbell, T.J.*, Richards, F.W., Silva, R.L., Wach, G., Eliuk, L., 2015. Interpretation of the Penobscot 3D Seismic Volume Using Constrained Sparse Spike Inversion, Sable sub-Basin, Offshore Nova Scotia. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 68(A), 73–93 (* - student).

Cabral, M.C., Colin, J-P., Azerêdo, A.C., Silva, R.L., Duarte, L.V., 2015. Brackish and marine ostracode assemblages from the Sinemurian of western Portugal, with description of new species. Micropaleontology, 61, 3-24

Silva, R.L., Mendonça Filho, J.G., Azerêdo, A.C., Silva, T.F., Duarte, L.V., 2014. Palynofacies and TOC analysis of marine and non-marine sediments across the Middle-Upper Jurassic boundary in the central-northern Lusitanian Basin (Portugal). Facies, 60, 255–276

Duarte, L. V., Comas-Rengifo, M. J., Silva, R.L., Paredes, R.*, Goy, A., 2014. Carbon isotope stratigraphy and ammonite biochronostratigraphy across the Sinemurian-Pliensbachian boundary in the western Iberian margin. Bulletin of Geosciences, 89, 719–736

Silva, R.L., Duarte, L.V., Mendonça Filho, J.G., 2013. Optical and geochemical characterization of Upper Sinemurian (Lower Jurassic) fossil wood from the Lusitanian Basin (Portugal). Geochemical Journal, 47, 489–498.

Poças Ribeiro, N.*, Mendonça Filho, J.G., Duarte, L.V., Silva, R.L., Mendonça, J.O., Silva, T.F., 2013. Palynofacies and Organic Geochemistry of the Sinemurian carbonate deposits in the western Lusitanian Basin (Portugal): Coimbra and Água de Madeiros Formations. International Journal of Coal Geology, 111, 37–52 (* - student)

Silva, R.L., Mendonça Filho, J.G., da Silva, F.S., Duarte, L.V., Silva, T.F., Ferreira, R.*, Azerêdo, A.C. 2012. Can biogeochemistry aid in the palaeoenvironmental/early diagenesis reconstruction of the ~187 Ma (Pliensbachian) organic-rich hemipelagic series of the Lusitanian Basin (Portugal)?. Bulletin of Geosciences, 87, 373–382 (* - student)

Duarte, L.V., Silva, R.L., Mendonça Filho, J.G., Poças Ribeiro, N.*, Chagas, R.B.A.*, 2012. High-resolution stratigraphy, Palynofacies and source rock potential of the Água de Madeiros Formation (Upper Sinemurian) of the Lusitanian Basin, Portugal. Journal of Petroleum Geology, 35 (2), 105–126 (* - student)

Correia, G.G.*, Duarte, L.V., Pereira, A., Silva, R.L., 2012. Outcrop gamma-ray spectrometry: Applications to the Sinemurian–Pliensbachian organic-rich facies of the Lusitanian Basin (Portugal). Journal of Iberian Geology, 38 (2), 373-388 (2016 Impact Factor: 1.891) (* - student)

Silva, R.L., Duarte, L.V., Comas-Rengifo, M.J., Mendonça Filho, J.G., Azerêdo, A.C., 2011. Update of the carbon and oxygen isotopic records of the Early–Late Pliensbachian (Early Jurassic, ~187 Ma): Insights from the organic-rich hemipelagic series of the Lusitanian Basin (Portugal). Chemical Geology, 283, 177–184

Azerêdo, A.C., Silva, R.L., Duarte, L.V., Cabral, M.C., 2010. Subtidal stromatolites from the Sinemurian of the Lusitanian Basin (Portugal). Facies, 56, 211–230

Duarte, L.V., Silva, R.L., Oliveira, L.C.V., Comas-Rengifo, M.J., Silva, F., 2010. Organic-rich facies in the Sinemurian and Pliensbachian of the Lusitanian Basin, Portugal: Total Organic Carbon distribution and relation to transgressive-regressive facies cycles. Geologica Acta, 8 (3), 325-340