Research project

Project fact sheet

Exploring the existence and cause of clumped isotopes disequilibrium in echinoderms

Project researcher(s): 
Amelia Davies
Project supervisor(s): 
Dr Cédric M. John
October, 2014 - September, 2017

Unlocking past changes in seawater temperature is critical to understanding climate dynamics, but the temperature proxies that have been around for decades such as δ18O and Mg/Ca suffer from uncertainties linked in part to their dependencies on seawater composition. Clumped isotopes, unlike δ18O or Mg/Ca ratio, do not rely on assumptions 
regarding past composition of the oceans. However, the clumped isotope community is currently debating as to whether or not kinetic fractionation of clumped isotopes exist in some organisms, for instance those with high rates of calcification. This exciting question needs to be addressed to promote paleoenvironmental work using clumped isotopes.

This project focus on the application of clumped isotope geochemistry to echinoderms, a fossil groups potentially interesting for a fundamental understanding of disequilibrium in clumped isotopes. The main objective is to check whether or not the peculiar biomineralization pathways used by echinoderms impact on the clumping of O and C within carbonates.