24 January 2020 – I’m spending a quiet day playing with the new Cameca 7f in the NERC ion probe facility at the University of Edinburgh. I’m developing boron analysis in some cultured corals stained with calcein. It’s been an interesting day and I’m hopeful that it’s going to work!

PhD studentships for 2020 entry

I am currently advertising 3 PhD studentship projects for the lab:

The Roles of Lipids in Coral Biomineralisation and the Effects of Future Climate Change

This is a project to determine how lipids influence aragonite precipitation and to identify how future climate change will affect the lipid role in tropical corals. The project is co-supervised by  Prof Terry Smith in the School of Chemistry, University of St. Andrews. This project is fully funded by a St Andrews Scholarship from St Leonard’s Postgraduate College and is open to all UK, EU and international students. The closing date is 16 January 2020.


Coral Osteoporosis: how does seawater phosphate affect the calcification of tropical marine corals?

The aims of this project are to identify how orthophosphate affects the formation and structure of the coral skeleton. This mechanistic understanding is needed to improve coral reef management in areas adversely affected by nutrient inputs and eutrophication. This project is co-supervised with Dr Heidi Burdett, Heriot-Watt University and is eligible for NERC funding via the IAPETUS 2 doctoral training partnership. The closing date is 10 January 2020.


How do biomolecules affect calcium carbonate diagenesis and palaeoproxy relationships?

The aims of this project are to investigate how biomolecules affect diagenesis and dissolution of aragonites and calcites and to determine how diagenesis affects the CaCO3 palaeoproxy signatures commonly used to reconstruct past environmental conditions. This project is co-supervised with Dr Stuart Jones, University of Durham and is eligible for NERC funding via the IAPETUS 2 doctoral training partnership. The closing date is 10 January 2020.


Geomünster 2019

September 2019 – I gave a keynote at the annual conference of the German Geological Society in Munster this week. After a minor hiccup (there are 2 Munsters in Germany, Munster and Münster, and I bought train tickets to the wrong one!) all went well. I spoke on ‘Coral geochemistry – a window into the biomineralisation process’.

Scotland is Now Blog

I’ve written a blog post on some of the recent work in the coral lab for VisitScotland’s Scotland is Now website. Read about a little piece of the tropics in St. Andrews here.


New posts in biomineralisation

We’ve just advertised 2 posts to recruit a PDRA and a RA/PDRA for the lab. The 2 posts are:

Post-doctoral research fellow (3 years) on the NERC funded project ‘Trace element and isotope partitioning in carbonates in simulated biological environments’.

Post-graduate research assistant (9 months) on the Leverhulme Trust funded project ‘The control of coral biomineralisation’ .

To apply for either post go here and search for posts in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences. For further information contact me at na9 at Closing date 22 October 2018.