Research Area: Biogeochemistry

Tamsin Mather

My main research interests centre on the science behind volcanoes and volcanic behaviour. My motivation is to understand volcanoes as (a) natural hazards, (b) a key planetary scale process throughout geological time, vital for maintaining habitability and (c) natural resources (e.g., geothermal power and the development of ore deposits).

Ros Rickaby

I am fascinated by the jigsaw of complex interactions between the evolution of organisms, ocean chemistry, atmospheric composition and Earth’s climate. The extraction of chemical signatures from fossil shells of marine micro-organisms as a tool for constraining past ocean conditions and their influence on climate is fundamental to my research. Yet frustration with the complexities of disentangling the “inorganic” geochemical signal from the overprint of the biomineralising processes has triggered me to seek innovative alternative approaches to constraining past climates and environments. Increasingly I am probing the geological past from the biology of modern day organisms. This ambition broadens into probing biological innovation and environmental change over Earth history since the feedback between the two is inescapable. All modern day organisms have experienced a long evolutionary pathway to arrive at their present incarnation and this history has been accrued to some extent within the genome and physiology of modern day organisms. Indeed such evolutionary history influences the tolerance of different algae to ocean acidification for example, or the trace metal nutrient requirements of different groups of algae across the tree of life. So my approach is to read the geological history of both climate and the chemical environment from signals of adaptation within genes, which plays out in the evolving affinity and kinetics of the expressed enzymes, or isotopic signals of adaptation within biologically relevant molecules.

Contact Name: 
Tamsin Mather, Ros Rickaby