Synopsis

The Southern Hemisphere Westerly Winds play an important role in regional temperature and precipitation patterns, as well as changes in the carbon flux, ice-sheet balance and sea-ice. Using a 3-metre long peat sediment sequence from the Falkland Islands (a small archipelago near the Antarctic Peninsula), the project will look at the use of single-celled organisms called testate amoebae as a proxy for changes in past climate. Patterns in the distribution and productivity of these organisms are strongly linked to abiotic conditions - particularly moisture availability and temperature – as well as wind-blown oceanic salt-spray aerosols. You will also have the opportunity to apply radiocarbon dating on peat sediments in our state-of-the-art laboratory [interactive tour].

Aims

Produce a climate reconstruction using testate amoebae as a palaeoenvironmental indicator for the Falkland Islands, covering the last 10,000 years.

Student Benefits

Through this project, you will learn how to design and carry out experiments, analyse and interpret data, and how to write a scientific paper. You will also have the opportunity to learn each step of the radiocarbon process, including sampling, pretreating and graphitisation. You will also be integrated within the Chronos 14Carbon-Cycle Facility as well as the Changing Earth Research Centre (formerly PANGEA), with opportunities for training and career development.

Supervisors: Dr Zoë Thomas and Dr Haidee Cadd