Skip to main content


Photo of Dr Arwen Nicholson

Dr Arwen Nicholson

Research Fellow



I am a research fellow funded since November 2020 by a grant from the Leverhulme Trust. I have a BSc in Astrophysics from the University of Edinburgh and an MSc in Physics from the University of Southern Denmark. I did my PhD here in Exeter in the Earth System Science department where I developed Gaian models of regulation to understand how life might impact the long term habitability prospects of its planet.


Research Interests

My research focuses on building models of life-environment interactions to investigate their impact on the long term habitability of planets. My interests include:

  • the Gaia hypothesis - understanding how and when life-environment feedbacks can lead to regulation
  • planetary habitability - what are the key ingredients required for a planet to be habitable on both short and long timescales? 
  • early biospheres - what can the history of life on Earth tell us about the possibilities for finding signs of alien life?
  • biosignatures - developing models to help make predictions for possible biosignature detections on exoplanets