I completed a Master’s degree in Environmental Sciences here at the UEA in 2009 before starting a PhD in 2011. My MSc. dissertation focused on developing a probabilistic method for determining the distribution of habitable extrasolar planets around low mass M-type stars.

I am also a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (FRAS), a member of the European Association of Geochemistry (EAG) and a Committee Member of the Astrobiology Society of Britain (ASB). I enjoy science writing and outreach, and maintain a personal blog ( where I write about astrobiology and exoplanets. My articles have been featured on sites accross the web, in professional print publications, and have also been shortlisted for national science writing awards in the past.


Twitter: @andrewrushby

Key Research Interests

My main research interests are in the fields of biogeochemistry and planetary habitability, in particular the history of the oxygen inventory of the Earth and how different factors affect the rise or decline of oxygen in planetary atmospheres. I am also interested in the emerging field of exoplanetary science and the use of habitability metrics and indices as a means of analysing and comparing the potential of these planets for supporting life.

My PhD

My PhD is formed around constructing Earth-system scale computer models to investigate the biogeochemical processes taking place both on the Earth and extrasolar planets. These models are driven by our understanding of the coupling between the large-scale, long term geological, chemical and biological processes that operate on the Earth, and how these feedback loops affect, and are affected by, the planetary environment. The inputs for this kind of model are derived from empirical evidence in the form of proxies: generally isotope ratios, biomarkers and geochemical signatures preserved in ancient rocks.

By stripping away the engrained complexity and rigidity of the models previously developed in this area I hope to be able to produce an effective yet flexible means of visualising and understanding the factors that control the abundance of atmospheric oxygen, and how these processes may differ under different planetary conditions.


Rushby, A.J., Claire, M.W., Osborn, H., Watson, A.J., (2013) Habitable Zone Lifetimes of Exoplanets around Main Sequence Stars. Astrobiology (13) 9 pp.833 – 849

Rushby, A.J. (2013) A multiplicity of worlds: Other habitable planets. Significance (10) 5 pp.11 – 15

Conference Proceedings:  

Rushby, A.J., Claire, M.W., Osborn, H., Watson, A.J., (2013) Habitable Zone Lifetimes of Exoplanets around Main Sequence Stars. Molecules and Life in Extremes: UK Astrobiology Society Conference 2013 (ASB5). 17 – 19th April 2013, University of Edinburgh

Rushby, A.J., Claire, M.W., Osborn, H., Watson, A.J., (2012) Quantifying Habitability Through Time. NASA Astrobiology Graduate Conference 2012 (AbGradCon12). 28 – 31st August 2012, California Institute of Technology.

Rushby, A.J., Watson, A.J., Claire, M.W (2012) Planetary oxidation and the biogeochemistry of exoplanets. Goldschmidt 2012. 24 – 29th June 2012, Montreal.

Rushby, A.J., Watson, A.J., Claire, M.W (2012) Dwell Time Index: A New Habitability Metric for Astrobiology. NASA Astrobiology Science Conference 2012 (AbSciCon12). 16 – 20th April 2012, Georgia Institute of Technology.


Research Group Membership

My supervisory team consists of Dr Martin Johnson (UEA, Professor Andrew Watson (Exeter) and Dr Mark Claire (St Andrews).