Rachael’s expertise lies in the development and application of novel chemical and isotopic techniques to improve our understanding of ocean and earth processes and to address critical environmental and societal challenges.
A key focus is on developing methods for removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere to mitigate global warming. Rachael is working on field trials for CO2 removal by enhanced rock weathering and mineral carbonation, and she is developing methodologies for monitoring and verifying potential leakage from sub-seafloor CO2 storage sites. She also studies the fate of methane gas being released from sub-seafloor methane hydrates in the Arctic that have been destabilised by ocean warming.
Rachael specialises in the development of novel non-traditional isotope techniques, including iron, chromium, lithium and magnesium. These techniques are being used to explore seafloor mineralisation processes at hydrothermal systems, to trace the history of ocean oxygenation, and to provide new constraints on marine biogeochemical cycles.
Rachael is involved in a wide range of field programmes both on land and in the oceans, including sampling of agroecosystems, rivers, deep-sea ocean drilling and submersible studies of hydrothermal systems.
- Enhanced rock weathering and other techniques for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
- Novel isotopic signatures of biogeochemical cycling, including iron, chromium, lithium and magnesium, and the response of biogeochemcal cycles to global environmental change
- Exploration for new sources of metals and elements critical for emerging green technologies, including lithium and the rare earth elements
Current research includes:
- Undertaking the first large-scale field trials to assess the efficacy of enhanced rock weathering as a technique for carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere.
- Establishing protocols for quantifying and verifying carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere.
- Understanding the processes involved in the formation of ultramafic-hosted seabed hydrothermal deposits that are a resource of critical elements.
- Assessing the potential of mine waste materials for removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Rachael is responsible for the delivery of teaching in marine biogeochemistry to marine biologists, oceanographers, geologists and environmental geoscientists.
She contributes to teaching in geochemistry, research skills and fieldwork in oceanography, and supervises research projects for undergraduate and Masters students.