Isotope Biogeochemistry

Research Group Dr. Stephen Galer

We use the isotopic composition of the elements to trace their cycling within the whole Earth System. Our main research interests lie in chemical oceanography, paleoceanography, paleoclimate and provenance tracing, though some recent applications have been in paleontology, biology and archaeology.

Natural, long-lived radioactive decay systems - Pb, Sr and Nd isotopes - are used for fingerprinting sources and tracing provenance. But mostly we concentrate on the stable isotope fractionation of metals (especially transition metals and alkaline earths) as tracers in natural systems. Many processes fractionate isotopes - such as partitioning, precipitation or during biological uptake - and may be used as trace both element transport and the processes involved. All chemical separations are performed in clean rooms, while isotope analyses are by thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS).