Biogeochemistry

Roger Francois (co-PI) and Bart De Baere (PhD student).

[Elemental composition and oxygen isotopic composition of biogenic silica and carbonates for salinity
and temperature reconstructions. Analysis of 400 samples in the long climatic sequence for each proxy.
Collaboration with Reinhard Pienitz (co-PI) at Laval who is an expert in diatoms and will act as De
Bear’s co-supervisor. Dr. Fin Viehberg (collaborator) at Technische Universität Braunschweig,
Germany, with help for ostracods taxonomy]
We have successfully applied for a grant from the RTI program at NSERC for acquiring components
needed to develop a flow-through time-resolved analysis (FT-TRA) technique to determine the elemental
composition of microfossils and carbonate minerals. FT-TRA consists of a flow-through dissolution
module linked to a detector capable of time-resolved analysis, such as an ICP-MS or an ICP-OES. FTTRA
is an alternative approach to batch dissolution, which is conventionally used to analyze the
elemental composition of carbonate microfossils. FT-TRA has distinct advantages over the batch method:
(1) it is less manual labor intensive and thus less prone to be affected by user experience; (2) It prevents
re-crystallization of minerals during dissolution, and most importantly (3) it provides a much richer
context to interpret the data accurately. De Baere has visited the core repository in Bremen and collected
samples for analysis. He also visited Dr. Finn Viehberg to learn ostracod morphology and sampling. He is
in the process of building the FT-TRA system and will start analyzing samples this fall.

Peter Leavitt (co-PI), Lynda Bunting (post-doc).

[Analysis of fossil chlorophylls, carotenoids and their chemically stable derivatives from 3000 samples of the long record].
Leavitt has hired Dr. Lynda Bunting, an expert in fossil pigments, to conduct the analysis and
interpretation of sedimentary pigments from algae and bacteria. Dr. Bunting started on the project in June
2008, and is committed to the full three-year duration of the project. During this time, it is expected that
some 3000 samples will be analyzed for fossil chlorophylls, carotenoids and their chemically stable
derivatives. Leavitt will be collaborating with Dr. Dominic Hodgson of the British Antarctic Survey to
use mass spectrometry to determine whether there are chemically-identifiable, but colorless, degradation
products of fossil pigments which might be preserved in the lake sediments. In addition, Leavitt and
Bunting expect to be collaborating closely with other members of the national and international PASADO
team when interpreting the biogeochemical stratigraphies of past algal and bacterial production.

Contact info

Roger François

Organisation: University of British Columbia, Earth and Ocean Sciences, Vancouver, Canada
Research Field: Marine biogeochemistry, Paleoclimatology, Mass spectrometry
Contacts: (604) 822-6355, rfrancois@eos.ubc.ca

Peter Leavitt

Organisation: University of Regina, Departement of Biology, Regina, Canada
Research Field: Limnology, Ecology, Paleoecology, Pigments
Contacts: (306) 585-4253, Peter.Leavitt@uregina.ca