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SUSAN H LITTLE

Isotope Geochemist

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ABOUT ME

I am an isotope geochemist, interested in developing novel tracers of carbon cycling in the past and present ocean. My tools are the isotopes of various trace metals (including copper, zinc, cadmium, nickel). These elements are micronutrients, which are essential in small amounts for life. At higher concentrations they are toxins, and their isotopes provide tools to trace the fate of anthropogenic contaminants. Finally, trace metals are redox-sensitive, offering potential to reconstruct the co-evolution of oxygen and life on Earth.

 

PHD PROJECTS

For start date October 2021

I am advertising two exciting PhD projects through the London NERC DTP. Check them out via the links below and drop me an email if you're interested. I am also open to designing bespoke projects as per your interests in the disciplines of trace element geochemistry, metal stable isotopes, chemical oceanography, and biogeochemical cycles.

Kisaq in fjord

THE IMPORTANCE OF MICRONUTRIENT CYCLING IN GLACIATED ENVIRONMENTS FOR THE GLOBAL CARBON CYCLE

– a case study from Greenland

TRACING SIDERITE OXIDATION ON THE EARLY EARTH WITH COPPER ISOTOPES

– an experimental study

Nu Plasma 3
 

PUBLICATIONS

For a full list of publications, please visit my profile at one of the following sites

 

NEWS & OUTREACH

 

25 July 2019

What can we learn from the last time atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were 400 ppm, over 3 million years ago?

RESEARCH PROJECTS

NERC INDEPENDENT RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP

2018 - 2022

Beyond Iron in the Ocean  –  Trace Metal Micronutrients and the Carbon Cycle (BIO-Trace)

The distribution of nutrients in the ocean is controlled by a complex interplay of their inputs (such as dust), biological uptake and sinking (the biological pump), and their redistribution laterally and vertically in the ocean via the ocean circulation - the movement of packages of water, called water masses. Control of nutrient distributions by the ocean circulation has been visualized at unprecedented resolution by the chemical oceanographic data produced in the international GEOTRACES program (http://www.egeotraces.org).

The micronutrient iron has long been known to be an important limiting nutrient in high latitude (polar) surface oceans. Other trace metals, like zinc, are likely also important, but have been less well studied.


This project investigates the links between micronutrient supply to the surface ocean, the chemical form (speciation) of these micronutrients in seawater, and the community of phytoplankton present, and evaluates how these factors combine with the ocean circulation to set the global distribution of nutrients in the ocean. The result will be an improved understanding of how micronutrient limitation of the biological pump impacts whole ocean carbon cycling.

LEVERHULME EARLY CAREER FELLOWSHIP

2015 - 2018

Unlocking the Paleoclimate Signal of Zn and Cu in Deep Sea Corals

This project involves work on a novel set of samples: fossil cold water corals from the Southern Ocean. The skeletons of these corals record the chemistry of the seawater in which they grew, and can be accurately dated by other geochemical methods.

The aim is to use these corals to generate the first record of past seawater micronutrient concentrations over the last glacial cycle.

 
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GET IN TOUCH

Department of Earth Sciences
University College London
Gower Place
London
WC1E 6BS

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