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Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research Group: Geochemistry

Currently Active: 

Geochemistry comprises more than 30 researchers and postgraduate students who apply state-of-the-art geochemical analysis and modelling to scientific questions of major societal, economic and environmental importance.

Group Overview

Our diverse research activicty can be broadly divided into 8 themes. Click the theme title for more information.

Past Present and Future Environmental Change

  • We aim to achieve a better understanding of the major geochemical cycles of the Earth System and the impact of humanities action upon them. Our work also focuses on the reconstruction of the climate of the past to better understand the drivers of natural climate and environmental change.

Environmental Geochemistry and Radioactivity

  • Research into how we interact with our environment and its impact on us
  • Encompasses specialist radioanalytical research and specialist services offered by our Industrial Advisory Unit, GAU-Radioanalytical

Volcanic Processes

Hydrothermal Processes and Mineral Deposits

  • Hydrothermal processes represent one of the major mechanisms for chemical and heat transfer on Earth. They have a profound influence on ocean chemistry and they play host to unique ecosystems. In addition many of the world's most important resources are sourced from deposits that formed as a result of hydrothermal activity.

Formation and Evolution of the Ocean Crust

Medical Geochemistry

Geochemical Ecology

Carbon Storage and Geoengineering

Our strengths include:

  • ultra-low level trace element analyses
  • radiogenic isotope geochemistry and geochronology
  • fluid and volatile analysis
  • environmental radiochemistry
  • geochemical ecology and biominerals
  • speciation and reaction modelling
  • analytical technique development and refinement

Contact: Professor Rachael James

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The Geochemistry group is equipped with a world-class range of analytical equipment and associated facilities housed in a purpose built laboratory.

This facility is used for a wide range of research purposes. We also undertake commercial analyses.

For initial enquiries about our capability or using the facilities contact Dr. J. Andy Milton, or for more online information please visit our facilites page here.

Quadrupole ICP-MS: Thermo X-SERIES 2

High-throughput elemental analysis via solution or solid sample introduction

High Resolution ICP-MS: Thermo ELEMENT 2XR

High-sensitivity elemental and isotopic analysis via solution or solid sample introduction. Particularly suited to difficult matrix and problematic elemental analyses.

Multi-collector ICP-MS: Thermo NEPTUNE

High-sensitivity isotope analyses via solution or solid sample introduction. Currently measuring the following systems: Li, B, Cr, Fe, Sr, Nd, Pb, Hf, U, U-Pb, U-Th and Pu.

Thermal Ionisation: Thermo TRITON and VG Sector 54

Filament-sourced high precision isotope analysis. Currently measuring the following systems: B, Sr, Nd, Sm-Nd, Pb.

Laser Ablation: New Wave UP193FX

Solid micro-sampling. Can be coupled to any ICP-MS system.

Micro drill: New Wave Micromill

For preparing micro-sized samples for subsequent analysis.

Clean Chemistry Laboratories

A suite of Class 100 chemistry labs for sample preparation.


Specialist analytical facilities


Postgraduate opportunities

PhD Project Titles

Seafloor or uplift-related serpentinization of the Troodos Massif, Cyprus
Damon Teagle, Martin Palmer, Rachael James, Dave Craw (Otago, New Zealand).

The role of CO2 in Plio-Pleistocene climate change; revealed by orbital resolution boron isotope records
Gavin Foster, Paul Wilson, Eelco Rohling (ANU, Australia), Ian Bailey (U. Exeter)

Boron isotopes as tracers of igneous processes during collisional tectonics
Martin Palmer, Gavin Foster, Rex Taylor

Exploring the metabolic responses of marine fishes to climate change using stable carbon isotope composition of otoliths
Clive Trueman, Ewan Hunter (CEFAS), Audrey Darnaude (U. Montpellier)

Geological and oceanographic controls on the variation in concentration of E-tech elements (REE, cobalt and tellurium) in seafloor Fe-Mn crusts
Bramley Murton, Christopher Pearce, Paul Lusty (BGS)

Unlocking the history of sea surface temperature using SST-proxies in corals from the Belize Barrier Reef
Gavin Foster, Elizabeth Kent, David Berry

Habitat mapping, physical characterisation and paleoevolution of two contrasting Deep-Water Coral Mound Provinces in the Mediterranean
Claudio Lo Iacono, Veerle Huvenne, Gavin Foster, Eleni Anagnostou

Squaring the oceanic iron cycle using iron isotopes
Rachael James, Doug Connelly, Maeve Lohan, Alessandro Tagliabue (U. of Liverpool)

Glacial ocean circulation and the last great tipping point in Earth’s palaeoclimate history
Paul Wilson, Ian Bailey (U. Exeter), Gavin Foster, Kevin Oliver

Finding Earth’s thermostat: Testing the relationship between global climate, silicate weathering and marine carbonate production
Christopher Pearce, Steve Bohaty, Paul Wilson

Development of a low cost, high performance sensor for methane measurements in seawater
Socratis Loucaides, Matt Mowlem, Doug Connelly

Elemental partitioning and fractionation constraints on carbonate mineralisation within the oceanic crust
Christopher Pearce, Gavin Foster, Damon Teagle, Rosalind Coggon

What controls deep-sea manganese nodule formation?
Rachel Mills, Doug Connelly, Mikhail Zubkov

Coupled geophysical, geomechanical and geochemical monitoring of carbon capture and storage (CCS) reservoirs
Ismael Falcon-Suarez, Anna Lichtschlag, Angus Best, Rachael James

Simulating the hydrothermal alteration of the oceanic crust
Ros Coggon, Mathis Hain, Damon Teagle, Richard Herrington (Natural History Museum)

Testing the “Iron Hypothesis” and determining the causes of glacial-interglacial CO2 change
Gavin Foster, Mathis Hain, Jessica Whiteside

MarinE-tech: Geological effects of seamount volcanism, evolution and subsidence on the resource potential of seafloor Fe-Mn deposits
Bramley Murton, Tim Le Bas, Alan Evans

Scandium pathways and sinks in geological systems: Implications for future recoveries for high-tech industry
Steve Roberts, Richard Herrington (Natural History Museum), Chris Hartley (Bloom Energy)

The evolution of ENSO in the Tropical South Pacific: a high resolution study using laminated lake sediments from Vanuatu and the Cook Islands
Ian Croudace, David Sear, Pete Langdon

Carbon isotopes along GEOTRACES sections: anthropogenic and biological signals
Doug Connelly, Eric Achterberg (U. Bremen)




Research Staff

Staff MemberPrimary Position
Charlotte Emily AldredPostgraduate research student (NERC CDT in Oil and Gas)
Eleni AnagnostouPostdoctoral Research Fellow
Andy BarkerSenior Tutor
Anna BelcherPostgraduate research student
Jack BillingePostgraduate research student
Christopher BirdPostgraduate research student
Nicolas BompardPostgraduate research student
Sargent BrayResearch Scientist
Frances BurrellPostgraduate research student
Jane CabornPostgraduate research student
Ming-Tsung ChungPostgraduate research student
Matthew R D CobainPostgraduate research student (SPITFIRE)
Rosalind CoggonRoyal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow
Jude CoggonTeaching Fellow
Matthew CooperSenior Research Fellow
Maya F CoussensPostgraduate research student
Colette CouvesPostgraduate research student
Ian CroudaceProfessor
David CundyPostgraduate research student
Alison DaleTechnical support (GAU)
James DaveyPostgraduate research student
Elwyn De La VegaPostgraduate research student
Hannah DonaldPostgraduate research student
Adeline Marie DutrieuxPostgraduate research student
Gavin FosterProfessor of Isotope Geochemistry
David M FriesPostgraduate research student, Marie Curie Initial Training Network
Pawel GacaRadiochemist (GAU)
Heather Goring-HarfordPostgraduate research student
Laura HepburnPostgraduate research student
Matthew HodgkinsonPostgraduate research student
Nicola HollandResearch Scientist (GAU)
Jonathan HunterPostgraduate research student
Rachael JamesProfessor of Geochemistry
Pierre JossoPostgraduate research student
Robert D KnightPostdoctoral Research Fellow
Jens C KrügerPostgraduate research student, Marie Curie Research Fellow
David LangPostgraduate research student
Alastair J.M. LoughPostgraduate research student
Sarah MagozziPostgraduate research student
Hayley MannersPostdoctoral Research Fellow
Chiara MarieniPostgraduate Research Student
Juerg Michael MatterAssociate Professor in Geoengineering
Katie McFallMayflower scholar: Postgraduate research student
Catriona D MenziesPostdoctoral Research Fellow in Geochemistry
Agnes MichalikGeochemistry Research Technician
Rachel MillsProfessor
J Andy MiltonManager, Plasma Mass Spectrometer Laboratory
Bob NesbittEmeritus Professor
Martin PalmerProfessor of Geochemistry
Katie QuaeckPostgraduate research student
David ReadingPostgraduate research student
Stephen RobertsProfessor of Geology
Dawoud Ajeel SheailPostgraduate research student
Diana ShoresPostgraduate research student
Samantha SimpsonPostgraduate research student
Torben StichelResearch Fellow
Katie St John GlewPostgraduate research student
Rex TaylorSenior Lecturer
Damon TeagleProfessor
Clive TruemanAssociate Professor in Marine Ecology
Rui Pedro VieiraPostgraduate research student
Phillip WarwickDeputy Director, GAU-Radioanalytical
Ross WilliamsXRD Infra-red, Mineralogy Technician
Sarah WrightPostgraduate research student
Tianya YinPostgraduate research student
Barbara ZihlmannPostgraduate research student

Related Projects

Related ProjectsStatusType
Testing ice sheet models and modelled estimates of Earth’s climate sensitivity using Miocene palaeoclimate dataActive
Development of Robust Automated Techniques for Radionuclide SeparationActive
Geosciences Advisory Unit (GAU)Active
Igneous Reservoirs: Controls on Porosity and PermeabilityActive
Aluminium distributions in the Atlantic OceanActive
Ridge flank hydrothermal circulation: Juan de Fuca Ridge FlankActive
Rare earth elements as geochemical tracers of hydrothermal processes in the Southern OceanActive
Fluid flow associated with the Alpine Fault, South Island, New ZealandActive
Biogeochemical cycling in hydrothermal settings south of the Antarctic Polar FrontActive
The Potential Health Effects of Transition Metals in Particulate Air PollutionActive
Ontogenetic movement and larval survival in North Sea Herring: A stable isotope approachActive
Macronutrient behaviour in estuarine systemsActive
Abrupt Ocean Acidification EventsActive
Timing, Causes and Consequences of the Decline in Pliocene pCO2Active
Discovering salmon feeding grounds using fish scalesActive
Deep Fault Drilling: a journey through an active plate boundaryActive
Mission MoHole, A Journey into the Mantle.Active
Past and Present Ocean AcidificationActive
Hydrothermal vents on the world’s deepest seafloor spreading centreActive
Assessment of Sorbent Materials for the Remediation of Radionuclide Contaminated GroundwaterActive
Movement patterns in pelagic sharks: stable isotope evidenceActive
Oman Drilling ProjectActive
Marine diagenesis of tephra and the carbon cycleActive
The Accretion of Lower Oceanic CrustActive
Transport of toxic metals in clay landfill linings: influence of nanoparticles. Active
Phosphorus replacement in diatom lipids: Quantification of phospholipids and non-phosphorus lipids.Active
Coupled change in global climate and the carbon cycle across the Eocene-Oligocene transition: New insight from the Pacific Ocean, IODP Exp 320Active
Biominerals Diagenisis and PalaeoproxiesActive
From icebergs to ice sheets; provenance of ice rafted sedimentsActive
Geochemistry of fish otolithsActive
Measurement of 135Cs/137Cs in environmental samplesActive
Resolving past changes in ocean oxygenationActive
Micronutrient inputs from sediments to seawaterActive
Biogeography of deepwater chemosynthetic ecosystems (ChEss) - DormantDormant
Waste reduction and recycling in nuclear decommissioningActive
Where did all the CO2 go? Insights from boron isotopes in deep-sea coralsActive
Molecular responses to metal stress at hydrothermal ventsActive
Nuclear Forensics: Determining the origin of uranium ores from geochemical signaturesActive
Carbon isotopes in otoliths: a new palaeoecological proxy?Active
Triggering of major volcanic eruptions recorded by cumulatesActive
X-ray core scanners as a novel environmental forensic toolActive
Measurement of Neptunium-237 and its application to environmental studiesActive
Role of Ocean Biogeochemical Reorganisation in the Intensification of Northern Hemisphere Glaciation Active
Descent into the IcehouseActive
A 4.3 million year record of arc volcanism in the CaribbeanActive
Hydrothermal Vent Geochemistry South of the Antarctic Polar FrontActive
Superfast spread crust, deep drilling at IODP Site 1256Active
Advancing low level radionuclide analysis using HR-Sector Field ICP-MS: bioassay applicationsActive
Calcium carbonate veins as recorders of past ocean chemistryActive
Critical Metals in Porphyry Copper DepositsActive
Mountains Metamorphism and Element MobilityActive
Evolution of Modern Marine EcosystemsActive
The nature and extent of seafloor basement weathering within the South Pacific GyreActive
Iron Isotopes in seawater samplesActive
A journey from icehouse to greenhouse and back again...a story of Antarctic ice sheet stability and CO2Active
Nanoparticles and associated metals in landfill leachatesActive
North vs South? What’s filling the Atlantic? Active
Nutrient flow and ecosystem structure in marine fish communitiesActive
Geological storage of CO2 into oceanic crustActive
How hot will it get? Insights from the climates of the pastActive
Development of a volcano – Tracking the evolution of Montserrat, Lesser Antilles. Active
Shark and other fish eye lenses – a window to cryptic life history behaviours.Active
Trophic and Spacial Ecology of Marine PredatorsActive
Methane Seepage from the Arctic SeafloorActive
Understanding changes in Cenozoic carbonate chemistryActive
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