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Dr Mervyn Greaves

Dr Mervyn Greaves

Senior Research Associate

Climate Change and Earth-Ocean-Atmosphere Systems

Office Phone: +44 (0) 1223 333444

Research Interests

Research: Development and Application of Methods for Trace Element Determinations in Ocean Geochemistry and Palaeochemistry

Analytical geochemist in charge of the chemistry laboratories in the Godwin Laboratory for Palaeoclimate Research.Tracers of past ocean composition are necessary to understand the oceanic record and interpret past climate change. My research involves the development of trace element proxies and analytical methods for the determination of trace metal contents of the carbonate shells of planktonic and benthic foraminifera.  

Methods employ ICP-OES and ICP-MS to determine multiple element/calcium ratios (Li/Ca, B/Ca, Mg/Ca, Al/Ca, Mn/Ca, Fe/Ca, Zn/Ca, Sr/Ca, Cd/Ca, Ba/Ca, U/Ca) and the isotopic composition of trace elements (δ7Li, δ11B, δ25Mg) in foraminiferal calcite. The quality of results obtained from an analytical determination depends both on the precision and accuracy of the instrumental method,  and on the analytical procedures employed.  An instrumental technique may be the limiting factor in the accuracy of a determination but, more often, the accuracy is governed by the sampling and chemical procedures.  Therefore my research includes both development of the chemical and separation procedures for trace metals and the instrumental methods required for final determination.  The successful application of any trace element proxy requires development of the analytical methodology;  to ensure accurate data with the necessary sensitivity,  and understanding of the relationship between proxy and seawater chemistry.  

Current projects include:

  • An investigation of boron isotope and B/Ca records in benthic and planktonic foraminifera over glacial–interglacial Termination 2 at ODP Site 1123 in the SW Pacific.
  • The geochemistry of porewaters from a depth transect of cores collected on RRS James Cook cruise JC089 on the Iberian Margin, in order to assess the influence of early diagenesis on the chemistry of infaunal versus epifaunal benthic foraminifera,  targetting proxies for temperature (Mg/Ca), carbonate chemistry (e.g., B/Ca), nutrient concentrations (e.g., δ13C, Cd/Ca) and redox state (U, Mo, Mn, V, Fe). 

Key Publications


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