I’m an organic geochemist in the School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences in the STEM faculty at the Open University. My research focusses on past climate and environmental reconstruction using geologic biomarkers, and looking at how their carbon isotopic composition can be used to reconstruct atmospheric CO2 levels through geologic time. For my current project, I’m using the alkenone δ13C proxy to look at past CO2 and climate sensitivity in the Plio-Pleistocene as part of the NERC standard grant “Accurate and Precise Alkenone Records of Atmospheric CO2 for the Pliocene and beyond to Inform the Future”
I use hyphenated gas chromatographic systems (GC-FID, GC-MS, GC-C-IRMS) to look at the chemical and isotopic composition of lipids preserved in the geologic record to reconstruct temperature (alkenones and GDGTs), CO2 concentration (alkenones) and plant-environment response (n-alkyl lipids).
Prior to this, I worked on a PhD at the University of Birmingham looking at how elevated CO2 levels influence the composition of plant biomarkers, and what plant/CO2 response can tell us about terrestrial ecosystems through geologic time. I’m interested in the interactions between organisms and the environment on evolutionary timescales: the messy and intricate ways with which biology responds to changes in climate, and what understanding those mechanisms can do for our understanding of past climate systems.