I’m interested in the development and application of novel stable isotopes as tools to answer a variety of geological questions.
I am currently investigating the rhenium (Re) stable isotope system, and specifically whether Re isotopes can be used to track changes in the oxidative weathering of rock-bound organic carbon over geological time. Oxidative weathering of rock-bound organic carbon and the subsequent release of CO2 is an important component of the global carbon cycle, and may potentially influence global climate. However, there are currently no proxies to track how oxidative weathering fluxes may have changed in the past. Re stable isotopes provide a novel approach for addressing this problem. In modern river systems, Re isotopes are fractionated during oxidative weathering, resulting in the loss of isotopically heavy Re into the dissolved load of rivers. Rivers are the main source of Re to the oceans. Therefore, if changes in oxidative weathering intensity and/or flux alter riverine Re isotopic composition, there may also be subsequent shifts in seawater Re isotopic composition over geological time. I aim to investigate whether this signal is recorded in the authigenic component of marine sediments. This research is funded by a NERC Standard Grant awarded to Dr. Robert Hilton.
Prior to joining the University of Oxford, I completed my PhD in the Department of Earth Sciences at Durham University, investigating the controls on Fe, V and Zn stable isotope fractionation in the plutonic rocks which make up the majority of the upper continental crust.