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Research at St Andrews

Nicola Allison


Nicola Allison
Postal address:
School of Earth & Enviro Sciences
Irvine Building
St Andrews

United Kingdom


Direct phone: +44 (0)1334 463952

Research overview

In my research I seek to understand biomineralisation and the environmental and biological processes which affect the geochemistry of biogenic marine carbonates such as foraminifera tests, coral skeletons and bivalve shells. The skeletal chemistry of marine organisms may record information on the local environmental conditions prevailing at the time of their deposition and the analysis of fossil specimens can be used to estimate past climate. I am using measurements of Sr/Ca and δ18O in fossil corals from Papua New Guinea, Hawaii and the Great Barrier Reef to reconstruct records of sea surface temperature, ice volume and regional salinity in the Pacific Ocean at key times in the Quaternary and beyond. I have recently built sophisticated seawater culturing systems for benthic foraminifera and tropical corals, enabling me to manipulate the environment and to monitor the effects of these manipulations on organism metabolism, calcification and skeletal chemistry. I am currently culturing massive tropical Porites spp. corals over a range of seawater pH, to reflect past seawater conditions during the pre-industrial and the last glacial maximum and future seawater conditions associated with rising anthropogenic CO2 and ocean acidification.



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