I am a marine biogeochemist and my research focuses on calcium carbonate minerals. Calcium carbonates are formed by a range of important marine organisms including corals, molluscs and foraminifera. These calcareous structures provide tissue support and protection and serve to provide habitat spaces for other organisms e.g. coral reefs. I research biomineralisation processes by running aquaria systems to enable the culture of organisms under tightly controlled conditions and by simulating biological precipitation in vitro e.g. manipulating dissolved inorganic carbon chemistry and biomolecules. I study the effects of rising seawater temperatures and atmospheric CO2 (ocean acidification) on biomineralisation processes – a key objective in predicting the future of coral reefs and other economically important calcerous species. I also research how calcium carbonate chemistry is affected by the environment conditions at the time of deposition and investigate how the chemistry of fossil carbonates e.g. ancient reefs, may record climatic information. These accurate records of past seawater temperatures are key to understanding past global climates and for validating models predicting 21st century climate change.
I am a Reader in Earth & Environmental Sciences at the University of St Andrews, UK. I teach aqueous chemistry, environmental contamination and oceanography.