Dr Anirban Basu (Royal Holloway, University of London, Department of Earth Sciences)
Prof. Robert Hilton (University of Oxford, Earth Sciences)
The burial of organic matter in the ocean is a major component of the global carbon cycle, which impacts on global climate. Recent work has indicated that the isotopic composition of the trace element cadmium may be capable of recording variations in marine organic matter burial in the past. However, for these signals to be accurately interpreted we must first understand how continental weathering processes control the composition of cadmium entering the oceans. This is a major challenge and requires the study of rivers and hydrothermal fluids draining a range of host lithologies from around the globe.
In this project you will undertake a major assessment of the cadmium isotope composition of river and hydrothermal waters from around the world. You will use these data to model the isotopic composition of cadmium entering the oceans, and to predict how changes weathering activity might alter this composition. Your findings will have a major impact on the use of cadmium isotopes as a palaeo-oceanographic tracer.
You will receive advanced training in water sampling, the preparation of isotopic samples in ultra-clean laboratory conditions, the measurement of isotope samples using Multi-Collector Inductively Coupled Mass Spectrometry (MC-ICP-MS), as well as advanced data processing and modelling techniques. You will also benefit from the advanced research skills training courses offered by ARIES and Royal Holloway. You will be embedded in the new Royal Holloway Centre of Climate, Ocean and Atmosphere with the chance to interact and learn from researchers studying in related fields. You will also have the chance to spend time with co-supervisors at partner institutions.
You should be interested in isotope geochemistry with a strong desire to understand the causes and consequences of environmental change. Enthusiasm is most important, but a background in Chemistry, Earth Sciences or Physical Geography would help as well.