Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research project: Biominerals Diagenisis and Palaeoproxies

Currently Active: 

Biomineralised tissues comprise the bulk of the fossil record and host many important geochemical proxies. Using these proxies properly depends on a thorough understanding of the biological tissue, the nature of element uptake into the tissue and long-term diagenetic behaviour. The isotopic composition of the element neodymium (Nd) on fossil fish remains are widely used to reconstruct ocean circulation. This proxy depends on the assumption that Nd is incorporated into biominerals immediately after death and that tooth or bone remains closed to further uptake through late diagenesis.

The great ocean conveyor belt, depicting global seawater circulation  (Credit: IPCC)
Ocean Circulation

Research Focus

We are particularly interested in the interaction between biominerals and the external environment, and the potential for recovering biological and ecological information from biomineralised tissues; modern, archaeological and ancient.





Fossil fish tooth and a map of the distribution of the rare earth element cerium in a dinosaur bone
Fossil fish tooth + Ce Distribution

Recent Work

  • Recent work using the Lu-Hf decay pairing suggests long-term continued uptake of rare earth elements (REE) into bones, questioning the validity of some Nd isotope records.
  • This project explores the geochemical evidence for late diagenetic uptake of REE in bones and teeth in the context of a wider project exploring marine ecosystem change over the Mesozoic.
  • This project builds on broad interests of the research group in biomineralization, biomineral chemistry and diagenesis.



Key Contacts

Dr. Clive Trueman (Principal Investigator)
Prof. Martin Palmer (Principal Investigator)

Dr. Daniel Murphey (Post Doctoral Researcher)

PhDs and Other Opportunities


Associated research themes

Geochemical Ecology

Past Present and Future Environmental Change

Related research groups



Share this research project Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings