Rationale and Significance:
One of the most extreme global warming events in the geological past occurred 56 million years ago. This Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) is considered to be one of the best analogues for investigating the impact of anthropogenically released carbon on the Earth system. Different carbon sources have been proposed for the PETM, however, there is a lack of studies that integrate geochemical and biological data to explore the link between climate perturbations and palaeoecological changes. Such information would allow for a better understanding of the role of increasing temperatures on biota during future climate change.
This project builds on an established collaboration between the supervisory team at UEA and scientists from Geological Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, Russia. The student will be expected to a) assess geological and palaeontological data from several PETM intervals in southern Russia, b) generate new micropalaeontological data and investigate the extinction and evolutionary patterns within the microfossil assemblages, c) acquire new stable isotope data and clumped isotope data from carbonate samples. Sediment samples are available at UEA but there will be an opportunity to utilise material held in Moscow and for additional fieldwork in Russia.
The student will take advantage of the micropalaeontological, sedimentological, and geochemical expertise in the School of Environmental Sciences and have access to isotope ratio mass spectrometers. They will work closely with the supervisors to generate foraminiferal ecological data and oxygen and carbon isotope records. There will be an opportunity to interact with international scientists in the laboratory and the field. The project will provide key academic and practical skills for employment.
Applicants should have a background in Earth Sciences, ideally with knowledge of soft rock geochemistry and/or stable isotopes. Some knowledge of micropalaeontology will be beneficial.