Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Gavin Foster

BSc, PhD

Primary position:
Professor of Isotope Geochemistry


The University of Southampton
Professor Gavin Foster's photo

BSc Geology, University of Leicester (1996)

PhD Isotope Geochemistry, Open University (2000)

NERC PDRA, Department of Geology, University of Leicester (2000-2003)

NERC PDRA, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol (2003)

NERC Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol (2003-2006)

NERC Advanced Research Fellow, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol (2006-2009)

NERC Advanced Research Fellow, School of Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton (2009-2011)

Lecturer Ocean and Earth Science (2011-2012)

Flint Visiting Lecturer, Geology and Geophysics, Yale University (2013)


The University of Southampton's electronic library (e-prints)


Edgar, Kirsty M., Anagnostou, Eleni, Pearson, Paul N. and Foster, Gavin L. (2015) Assessing the impact of diagenesis on δ11B, δ13C, δ18O, Sr/Ca and B/Ca values in fossil planktic foraminiferal calcite. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 166, 180-209. (doi:10.1016/j.gca.2015.06.018).
Inglis, Gordon N., Farnsworth, Alexander, Lunt, Daniel, Foster, Gavin L., Hollis, Christopher J., Pagani, Mark, Jardine, Phillip E., Pearson, Paul N., Markwick, Paul, Galsworthy, Amanda M. J., Raynham, Lauren, Taylor, Kyle. W. R. and Pancost, Richard D. (2015) Descent toward the Icehouse: Eocene sea surface cooling inferred from GDGT distributions. Paleoceanography, 30, (7), 1000-1020. (doi:10.1002/2014PA002723).
Stewart, J.A., Gutjahr, M., Pearce, F., Swart, P.K. and Foster, G.L. (2015) Boron during meteoric diagenesis and its potential implications for Marinoan snowball Earth 11B-pH excursions. Geology, 43, (7), 627-630. (doi:10.1130/G36652.1).
O'Brien, Charlotte L., Foster, Gavin L. and Pancost, Richard D. (2015) Reply to 'Pliocene warmth and gradients'. Nature Geoscience, 8, p420. (doi:10.1038/ngeo2445).
Henehan, Michael J., Foster, Gavin L., Rae, James W.B., Prentice, Katy C., Erez, Jonathan, Bostock, Helen C., Marshall, Brittney J. and Wilson, Paul A. (2015) Evaluating the utility of B/Ca ratios in planktic foraminifera as a proxy for the carbonate system: A case study of Globigerinoides ruber. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 16, (4), 1052-1069. (doi:10.1002/2014GC005514).
Naik, Sushant S., Divakar Naidu, P., Foster, Gavin L. and Martínez-Botí, Miguel A. (2015) Tracing the strength of the southwest monsoon using boron isotopes in the eastern Arabian Sea. Geophysical Research Letters, 42, (5), 1450-1458. (doi:10.1002/2015GL063089).
Martínez-Botí, M.A., Marino, G., Foster, G.L., Ziveri, P., Henehan, M.J., Rae, J.W.B., Mortyn, P.G. and Vance, D. (2015) Boron isotope evidence for oceanic carbon dioxide leakage during the last deglaciation. Nature, 518, (7538), 219-222. (doi:10.1038/nature14155).
Martínez-Botí, M.A., Foster, G.L., Chalk, T.B., Rohling, E.J., Sexton, P.F., Lunt, D.J., Pancost, R.D., Badger, M.P.S. and Schmidt, D.N. (2015) Plio-Pleistocene climate sensitivity evaluated using high-resolution CO2 records. Nature, 518, (7537), 49-54. (doi:10.1038/nature14145).
Lang, David C., Bailey, Ian, Wilson, Paul A., Foster, Gavin L., Bolton, Clara T., Friedrich, Oliver and Gutjahr, Marcus (2014) Response to “Comment on ‘The transition on North America from the warm humid Pliocene to the glaciated Quaternary traced by eolian dust deposition at a benchmark North Atlantic Ocean drill site’, by David Lang et al.”. Quaternary Science Reviews, 103, 179-183. (doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.08.015).
Armstrong McKay, David I., Tyrrell, Toby, Wilson, Paul A. and Foster, Gavin L. (2014) Estimating the impact of the cryptic degassing of Large Igneous Provinces: A mid-Miocene case-study. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 403, 254-262. (doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2014.06.040).
Aze, T., Pearson, P.N., Dickson, A.J., Badger, M.P.S., Bown, P.R., Pancost, R.D., Gibbs, S.J., Huber, B.T., Leng, M.J., Coe, A.L., Cohen, A.S. and Foster, G.L. (2014) Extreme warming of tropical waters during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. Geology, 42, (9), 739-742. (doi:10.1130/G35637.1).
Greenop, Rosanna, Foster, Gavin L., Wilson, Paul A. and Lear, Caroline H. (2014) Middle Miocene climate instability associated with high-amplitude CO2 variability. Paleoceanography, 29, (6), 845-853. (doi:10.1002/2014PA002653).
O’Brien, Charlotte L., Foster, Gavin L., Martínez-Botí, Miguel A., Abell, Richard, Rae, James W.B. and Pancost, Richard D. (2014) High sea surface temperatures in tropical warm pools during the Pliocene. Nature Geoscience, 7, (8), 606-611. (doi:10.1038/ngeo2194).
Rohling, E.J., Foster, G.L., Grant, K.M., Marino, G., Roberts, A.P., Tamisiea, M.E. and Williams, F. (2014) Corrigendum: Sea-level and deep-sea-temperature variability over the past 5.3 million years. Nature, 510, (7505), p432. (doi:10.1038/nature13488).
Lang, David C., Bailey, Ian, Wilson, Paul A., Beer, Christopher J., Bolton, Clara T., Friedrich, Oliver, Newsam, Cherry, Spencer, Megan R., Gutjahr, Marcus, Foster, Gavin L., Cooper, Matthew J. and Milton, J. Andrew (2014) The transition on North America from the warm humid Pliocene to the glaciated Quaternary traced by eolian dust deposition at a benchmark North Atlantic Ocean drill site. Quaternary Science Reviews, 93, 125-141. (doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.04.005).
Rae, James W.B., Sarnthein, Michael, Foster, Gavin L., Ridgwell, Andy, Grootes, Pieter M. and Elliott, Tim (2014) Deep water formation in the North Pacific and deglacial CO2 rise. Paleoceanography, 29, (6), 645-667. (doi:10.1002/2013PA002570).
Rohling, E.J., Foster, G.L., Grant, K.M., Marino, G., Roberts, A.P., Tamisiea, M.E. and Williams, F. (2014) Sea-level and deep-sea-temperature variability over the past 5.3 million years. Nature, 508, (7497), 477-482. (doi:10.1038/nature13230).
Rohling, Eelco J., Haigh, Ivan D., Foster, Gavin L., Roberts, Andrew P. and Grant, Katharine M. (2013) A geological perspective on potential future sea-level rise. Scientific Reports, 3, (3461), 1-7. (doi:10.1038/srep03461).
Foster, Gavin L., Hönisch, Bärbel, Paris, Guillaume, Dwyer, Gary S., Rae, James W.B., Elliott, Tim, Gaillardet, Jérôme, Hemming, N. Gary, Louvat, Pascale and Vengosh, Avner (2013) Interlaboratory comparison of boron isotope analyses of boric acid, seawater and marine CaCO3 by MC-ICPMS and NTIMS. Chemical Geology, 358, 1-14. (doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2013.08.027).
Gutjahr, Marcus, Vance, Derek, Hoffmann, Dirk L., Hillenbrand, Claus-Dieter, Foster, Gavin L., Rae, James W.B. and Kuhn, Gerhard (2013) Structural limitations in deriving accurate U-series ages from calcitic cold-water corals contrast with robust coral radiocarbon and Mg/Ca systematics. Chemical Geology, 355, 69-87. (doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2013.07.002).
John, Eleanor. H., Pearson, Paul N., Coxall, Helen K., Birch, Heather, Wade, Bridget S. and Foster, Gavin L. (2013) Warm ocean processes and carbon cycling in the Eocene. Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society A Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences, 371, (2001), 20130099. (doi:10.1098/rsta.2013.0099).
Lunt, D.J., Elderfield, H., Pancost, R., Ridgwell, A., Foster, G.L., Haywood, A., Kiehl, J., Sagoo, N., Shields, C., Stone, E.J. and Valdes, P. (2013) Warm climates of the past - a lesson for the future? Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society A: Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences, 371, (2001), 1-12. (doi:10.1098/rsta.2013.0146).
Badger, Marcus P.S., Lear, Caroline H., Pancost, Richard D., Foster, Gavin L., Bailey, Trevor R., Leng, Melanie J. and Abels, Hemmo A. (2013) CO2drawdown following the middle Miocene expansion of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Paleoceanography, 28, (1), 42-53. (doi:10.1002/palo.20015).
Henehan, Michael J., Rae, James W. B., Foster, Gavin L., Erez, Jonathan, Prentice, Katherine C., Kucera, Michal, Bostock, Helen C., Martínez-Botí, M.A., Milton, J.A., Wilson, P.A., Marshall, Brittney J. and Elliott, Timothy (2013) Calibration of the boron isotope proxy in the planktonic foraminifera Globigerinoides ruber for use in palaeo-CO2 reconstruction. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 364, 111-122. (doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2012.12.029).
Foster, G.L. and Rohling, E.J. (2013) Relationship between sea level and climate forcing by CO2 on geological timescales. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110, (4), 1209-1214. (doi:10.1073/pnas.1216073110).
Bailey, Ian, Hole, Georgia M., Foster, Gavin L., Wilson, Paul A., Storey, Craig D., Trueman, Clive N. and Raymo, Maureen E. (2013) An alternative suggestion for the Pliocene onset of major northern hemisphere glaciation based on the geochemical provenance of North Atlantic Ocean ice-rafted debris. Quaternary Science Reviews, 75, 181-194. (doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.06.004).
Rohling, E.J., Sluijs, A., Dijkstra, H.A., Köhler, P., van de Wal, R.S.W., von der Heydt, A.S., Beerling, D.J., Berger, A., Bijl, P.K., Crucifix, M., DeConto, R., Drijfhout, S.S., Fedorov, A., Foster, G.L., Ganopolski, A., Hansen, J., Hönisch, B., Hooghiemstra, H., Huber, M., Huybers, P., Knutti, R., Lea, D.W., Lourens, L.J., Lunt, D., Masson-Demotte, V., Medina-Elizalde, M., Otto-Bliesner, B., Pagani, M., Pälike, H., Renssen, H., Royer, D.L., Siddall, M., Valdes, P., Zachos, J.C. and Zeebe, R.E. (2012) Making sense of palaeoclimate sensitivity. Nature, 491, (7426), 683-691. (doi:10.1038/nature11574).
Foster, Gavin L., Lear, Caroline H. and Rae, James W.B. (2012) The evolution of pCO2, ice volume and climate during the middle Miocene. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 341-344, 243-254. (doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2012.06.007).
Bailey, Ian, Foster, Gavin L., Wilson, P.A., Jovane, L., Storey, C.D., Trueman, C.N. and Becker, J. (2012) Flux and provenance of ice-rafted debris in the earliest Pleistocene sub-polar North Atlantic Ocean comparable to the Last Glacial Maximum. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 341-344, 222-233. (doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2012.05.034).
Pälike, Heiko, Lyle, Mitchell W., Nishi, Hiroshi, Raffi, Isabella, Ridgwell, Andy, Gamage, Kusali, Klaus, Adam, Acton, Gary, Anderson, Louise, Backman, Jan, Baldauf, Jack, Beltran, Catherine, Bohaty, Steven M., Bown, Paul, Busch, William, Channell, Jim E. T., Chun, Cecily O.J., Delaney, Margaret, Dewangan, Pawan, Dunkley Jones, Tom, Edgar, Kirsty M., Evans, Helen, Fitch, Peter, Foster, Gavin L., Gussone, Nikolaus, Hasegawa, Hitoshi, Hathorne, Ed C., Hayashi, Hiroki, Herrle, Jens O., Holbourn, Ann, Hovan, Steve, Hyeong, Kiseong, Iijima, Koichi, Ito, Takashi, Kamikuri, Shin-ichi, Kimoto, Katsunori, Kuroda, Junichiro, Leon-Rodriguez, Lizette, Malinverno, Alberto, Moore Jr, Ted C., Murphy, Brandon H., Murphy, Daniel P., Nakamura, Hideto, Ogane, Kaoru, Ohneiser, Christian, Richter, Carl, Robinson, Rebecca, Rohling, Eelco J., Romero, Oscar, Sawada, Ken, Scher, Howie, Schneider, Leah, Sluijs, Appy, Takata, Hiroyuki, Tian, Jun, Tsujimoto, Akira, Wade, Bridget S., Westerhold, Thomas, Wilkens, Roy, Williams, Trevor, Wilson, Paul A., Yamamoto, Yuhji, Yamamoto, Shinya, Yamazaki, Toshitsugu and Zeebe, Richard E. (2012) A Cenozoic record of the equatorial Pacific carbonate compensation depth. Nature, 488, (7413), 609-614. (doi:10.1038/nature11360).
Honisch, B., Ridgwell, A., Schmidt, D.N., Thomas, E., Gibbs, S.J., Sluijs, A., Zeebe, R., Kump, L., Martindale, R.C., Greene, S.E., Kiessling, W., Ries, J., Zachos, J.C., Royer, D.L., Barker, S., Marchitto, T.M., Moyer, R., Pelejero, C., Ziveri, P., Foster, G.L. and Williams, B. (2012) The Geological Record of Ocean Acidification. Science, 335, (6072), 1058-1063. (doi:10.1126/science.1208277).
Henderson, Alexandra L., Najman, Yani, Parrish, Randall, Mark, Darren F. and Foster, Gavin L. (2011) Constraints to the timing of India–Eurasia collision; a re-evaluation of evidence from the Indus Basin sedimentary rocks of the Indus–Tsangpo Suture Zone, Ladakh, India. Earth-Science Reviews, 106, (3-4), 265-292. (doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2011.02.006).
Crocket, K.C., Vance, D., Gutjahr, M., Foster, G.L. and Richards, D.A. (2011) Persistent Nordic deep-water overflow to the glacial North Atlantic. Geology, 39, (6), 515-518. (doi:10.1130/G31677.1).
Ni, Yunyan, Foster, Gavin L. and Elliott, Tim (2010) The accuracy of δ11B measurements of foraminifers. Chemical Geology, 274, (3-4), 187-195. (doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2010.04.008).
Yu, Jimin, Foster, Gavin L., Elderfield, Henry, Broecker, Wallace S. and Clark, Elizabeth (2010) An evaluation of benthic foraminiferal B/Ca and δ11B for deep ocean carbonate ion and pH reconstructions. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 293, (1-2), 114-120. (doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2010.02.029).
Seki, Osamu, Foster, Gavin L., Schmidt, Daniela N., Mackensen, Andreas, Kawamura, Kimitaka and Pancost, Richard D. (2010) Alkenone and boron-based Pliocene pCO2 records. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 292, (1-2), 201-211. (doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2010.01.037).
Foster, G.L., Lunt, D.J. and Parrish, R.R. (2010) Mountain uplift and the glaciation of North America – a sensitivity study. Climate of the Past, 6, (5), 707-717. (doi:10.5194/cp-6-707-2010).
Foster, G.L., Pogge von Strandmann, P.A.E. and Rae, J.W.B. (2010) Boron and magnesium isotopic composition of seawater. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 11, (8), Q08015. (doi:10.1029/2010GC003201).
Pearson, Paul N., Foster, Gavin L. and Wade, Bridget S. (2009) Atmospheric carbon dioxide through the Eocene–Oligocene climate transition. Nature, 461, (7267), 1110-1113 . (doi:10.1038/nature08447).
Vance, Derek, Teagle, Damon A.H. and Foster, Gavin L. (2009) Variable Quaternary chemical weathering fluxes and imbalances in marine geochemical budgets. Nature, 458, (7237), 493-496. (doi:10.1038/nature07828).
Kemp, A.I.S., Foster, G.L., Scherstén, A., Whitehouse, M.J., Darling, J. and Storey, C. (2009) Concurrent Pb–Hf isotope analysis of zircon by laser ablation multi-collector ICP-MS, with implications for the crustal evolution of Greenland and the Himalayas. Chemical Geology, 261, (3-4), 244-260. (doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2008.06.019).
Kasemann, Simone A., Schmidt, Daniela N., Bijma, Jelle and Foster, Gavin L. (2009) In situ boron isotope analysis in marine carbonates and its application for foraminifera and palaeo-pH. Chemical Geology, 260, (1-2), 138-147. (doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2008.12.015).
Lunt, Daniel J., Haywood, Alan M., Foster, Gavin L. and Stone, Emma J. (2009) The Arctic cryosphere in the Mid-Pliocene and the future. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 367, (1886), 49-67. (doi:10.1098/rsta.2008.0218).
Aggarwal, Jugdeep, Böhm, Florian, Foster, Gavin, Halas, Stanislaw, Hönisch, Bärbel, Jiang, Shao-Yong, Kosler, Jan, Liba, Amir, Rodushkin, Illia, Sheehan, Ted, Jiun-San Shen, Jason, Tonarini, Sonia, Xie, Qianli, You, Chen-Feng, Zhao, Zhi-Qi and Zuleger, Evelyn (2009) How well do non-traditional stable isotope results compare between different laboratories: results from the interlaboratory comparison of boron isotope measurements. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 24, (6), 825-831. (doi:10.1039/b815240c).
Lunt, Daniel J., Foster, Gavin L., Haywood, Alan M. and Stone, Emma J. (2008) Late Pliocene Greenland glaciation controlled by a decline in atmospheric CO2 levels. Nature, 454, (7208), 1102-1105 . (doi:10.1038/nature07223).
Kemp, A.I.S., Hawkesworth, C.J., Foster, G.L., Paterson, B.A., Woodhead, J.D., Hergt, J.M., Gray, C.M. and Whitehouse, M.J. (2007) Magmatic and Crustal Differentiation History of Granitic Rocks from Hf-O Isotopes in Zircon. Science, 315, (5814), 980-983. (doi:10.1126/Science.1136154).
Ni, Yunyan, Foster, Gavin L., Bailey, Trevor, Elliott, Tim, Schmidt, Daniela N., Pearson, Paul, Haley, Brian and Coath, Chris (2007) A core top assessment of proxies for the ocean carbonate system in surface-dwelling foraminifers. Paleoceanography, 22, (3), PA3212. (doi:10.1029/2006PA001337).
Foster, Gavin L. and Vance, Derek (2006) Negligible glacial–interglacial variation in continental chemical weathering rates. Nature, 444, (7121), 918-921. (doi:10.1038/nature05365).
Kemp, A.I.S., Hawkesworth, C.J., Paterson, B.A., Foster, G.L., Kinny, P.D., Whitehouse, M.J. and Maas, R. (2006) Exploring the plutonic-volcanic link: a zircon U-Pb, Lu-Hf and O isotope study of paired volcanic and granitic units from southeastern Australia. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 97, (4), 337-355.
Foster, Gavin L., Ni, Yunyan, Haley, Brian and Elliott, Tim (2006) Accurate and precise isotopic measurement of sub-nanogram sized samples of foraminiferal hosted boron by total evaporation NTIMS. Chemical Geology, 230, (1-2), 161-174. (doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2005.12.006).
Foster, Gavin L. and Vance, Derek (2006) In situ Nd isotopic analysis of geological materials by laser ablation MC-ICP-MS. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 21, (3), 288-296. (doi:10.1039/b513945g).
Foster, G., Parrish, R.R., Horstwood, M.S.A., Chenery, S., Pyle, J. and Gibson, H.D. (2004) The generation of prograde P–T–t points and paths; a textural, compositional, and chronological study of metamorphic monazite. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 228, (1-2), 125-142. (doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2004.09.024).
Smith, S.R., Foster, G.L., Romer, R.L., Tindle, A.G., Kelley, S.P., Noble, S.R., Horstwood, M. and Breaks, F.W. (2004) U-Pb columbite-tantalite chronology of rare-element pegmatites using TIMS and Laser Ablation-Multi Collector-ICP-MS. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 147, (5), 549-564. (doi:10.1007/s00410-003-0538-y).
Garzanti, Eduardo, Vezzoli, Giovanni, Andò, Sergio, France-Lanord, Christian, Singh, Sunil K. and Foster, Gavin (2004) Sand petrology and focused erosion in collision orogens: the Brahmaputra case. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 220, (1-2), 157-174. (doi:10.1016/S0012-821X(04)00035-4).
Argles, Tom, Foster, Gavin, Whittington, Alan, Harris, Nigel and George, Mark (2003) Isotope studies reveal a complete Himalayan section in the Nanga Parbat syntaxis. Geology, 31, (12), 1109-1112. (doi:10.1130/G19937.1).
Horstwood, Matthew S.A., Foster, Gavin L., Parrish, Randall R., Noble, Stephen R. and Nowell, Geoff M. (2003) Common-Pb corrected in situ U-Pb accessory mineral geochronology by LA-MC-ICP-MS. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 18, (8), 837-846. (doi:10.1039/b304365g).
Foster, Gavin, Gibson, H.D., Parrish, Randy, Horstwood, Matthew, Fraser, James and Tindle, Andy (2002) Textural, chemical and isotopic insights into the nature and behaviour of metamorphic monazite. Chemical Geology, 191, (1-3), 183-207. (doi:10.1016/S0009-2541(02)00156-0).
Foster, G., Vance, D., Argles, T. and Harris, N. (2002) The Tertiary collision-related thermal history of the NW Himalaya. Journal of Metamorphic Geology , 20, (9), 827-843. (doi:10.1046/j.1525-1314.2002.00410.x).
Foster, Gavin, Kinny, Pete, Vance, Derek, Prince, Christophe and Harris, Nigel (2000) The significance of monazite U–Th–Pb age data in metamorphic assemblages; a combined study of monazite and garnet chronometry. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 181, (3), 327-340. (doi:10.1016/S0012-821X(00)00212-0).
Argles, T.W., Prince, C.I. , Foster, G.L. and Vance, D. (1999) New garnets for old? Cautionary tales from young mountain belts. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 172, (3-4), 301-309. (doi:10.1016/S0012-821X(99)00209-5).
Whittington, Alan, Foster, Gavin, Harris, Nigel, Vance, Derek and Ayres, Michael (1999) Lithostratigraphic correlations in the western Himalaya — An isotopic approach. Geology, 27, (7), 585-588. (doi:10.1130/0091-7613(1999)027<0585:LCITWH>2.3.CO;2).

Book Section

Allen, R., Carter, A., Najman, Y., Bandopadhyay, P.C., Chapman, H.J., Bickle, M.J., Garzanti, E., Vezzoli, G., Andò, S., Foster, G.L. and Gerring, C. (2008) New constraints on the sedimentation and uplift history of the Andaman-Nicobar accretionary prism, South Andaman Island. In, Special Paper 436: Formation and Applications of the Sedimentary Record in Arc Collision Zones. , Geological Society of America, 223-256. (Geological Society of America Special Paper, 436). (doi:10.1130/2008.2436(11)).
Foster, G.L. and Parrish, R.R. (2003) Metamorphic monazite and the generation of P-T-t paths. In, Vance, D., Muller, W. and Villa, I.M. (eds.) Geochronology: Linking the Isotopic Record with Petrology and Textures. London, GB, Geological Society of London, 25-47. (Geological Society Special Publication, 220).
Whittington, A., Harris, N. B. W., Ayres, M. W. and Foster, G. (2000) Tracing the origins of the western Himalaya: an isotopic comparison of the Nanga Parbat massif and Zanskar Himalaya. In, Khan, M. Asif , Treloar, Peter J. , Searle, Michael P. and Jan, M. Qasim (eds.) Tectonics of the Nanga Parbat Syntaxis and the Western Himalaya. London, GB, Geological Society of London, 201-218. (Geological Society Special Publication, 170). (doi:10.1144/GSL.SP.2000.170.01.11).


Research Interests

Specialism: Isotope Geochemistry and Palaeoceanography

My research is primarily concerned with using novel isotopic techniques to gain insights into how and why the Earth’s climate has changed over geological time. Much of my research efforts are currently focused on using boron isotopes in the calcareous shells of foraminifera to reconstruct the state of the oceanic carbonate system in the geological past. In particular I am interested in the mechanisms responsible for the CO2 changes that accompanied the waxing and waning of the ice-sheets throughout the Pleistocene, and the role of CO2 in the gradual (and sometimes rapid) deterioration of climate through the Cenozoic.

My other research interests deal with oceanic records of radiogenic isotopes (Pb and Nd) that reflect the changing patterns of continental weathering intensity and ocean circluation. I am also interested in reconstructing ice sheet coverage in the past using novel detrital mineral provenancing techniques such as in situ Nd isotopes in apatite.



Clean Labs

Clean Labs

Sea-surface temperature anomaly

Sea-surface temperature anomaly

Iceberg (Source: E Storey)

Iceberg (Source: E Storey)

Diatoms and Grains

Diatoms and Grains

Primary research group:  Geochemistry

Affiliate research group:  Palaeoceanography and Palaeoclimate

Research projects

Descent into the Icehouse

Timing, Causes and Consequences of the Decline in Pliocene pCO2

Abrupt Ocean Acidification Events

From icebergs to ice sheets; provenance of ice rafted sediments

How hot will it get? Insights from the climates of the past


Past and Present Ocean Acidification

A journey from icehouse to greenhouse and back again...a story of Antarctic ice sheet stability and CO2

North vs South? What’s filling the Atlantic?

Understanding changes in Cenozoic carbonate chemistry

Where did all the CO2 go? Insights from boron isotopes in deep-sea corals


Phd Students

Mr Tom B Chalk
The Ocean Carbonate System and the Intensification of Northern Hemisphere Glaciation

Miss Hannah Donald
Boron Isotopes in Diatoms: a Proxy for pH?

Miss Rosanna Greenop
CO2 driven retreats of the Antarctic Ice Sheet in the geological past

Miss Sara Fowell
Assessing the magnitude of anthropogenic Ocean Acidification using the boron isotopic composition of corals and coralline algae

Miss Cristina Sghibartz
Global warmth, ice volume and ocean acidity change through the late Eocene and Eocene-Oligocene transition

Mr David Lang
Intensification of Northern Hemisphere Glaciation, ice rafting, sea ice formation and ventilation in the Plio-Pleistocene North Atlantic Ocean

Completed (year of completion)

Dr. Yunyan Ni (2006)
Evaluation of boron isotopes and trace element abundances in planktonic foraminifers as paleo-oceanographic proxies

Dr. Richard Abell (2008)
Controls on the lithium isotopic compositions of foraminifera

Dr. Kirsty Crocket (2009)
Pb and Nd isotope constraints on continental weathering and ocean circulation in the North Atlantic during the last glacial/interglacial cycle

Dr Michael Henehan (2013)
Ground-truthing the Boron-based Proxies

Dr Charlotte O'Brien (2013)
Reconstructing the climatic and oceanographic evolution of the South China Sea during the Plio-Pleistocene

Dr. James Rae (2011)
Boron isotopes in benthic foraminifera: measurement, calibration and glacial CO2

Dr Andrew Keech (2011)
Chemical weathering rates in an icehouse world: the record from soils

Teaching Responsibilities

SOES3025 – Independent Mapping Project leader to the Isle of Skye (UK)

SOES 3006 - The evolving Earth

SOES6047 - Global Climate Cycles


Professor Gavin Foster
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton University of Southampton Waterfront Campus European Way Southampton SO14 3ZH United Kingdom

Room Number: NOCS/186/10

Telephone: (023) 8059 3786
Email: Gavin.Foster@noc.soton.ac.uk