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The project team

National Oceanography Centre, Southampton

Prof. Tim Minshull (Project co-ordinator)
Professor of Geophysics
School of Ocean and Earth Science
Prof. Eelco Rohling
Professor
School of Ocean and Earth Science

Prof Minshull leads a group of PhD students and postdocs working on applications of controlled source seismology. Since 1993 he has led or co-led 14 marine seismic experiments on continental margins, at mid-ocean ridges, in regions of continental deformation, and around volcanic islands. He has published extensively on seismic characterisation of gas hydrates on continental margins. Within the EU HYDRATECH project (www.hydratech.bham.ac.uk), he coordinated a work package focused on the theoretical prediction of elastic and attenuation properties of hydrate-bearing sediments, and hence the use of these properties to determine hydrate content. He co-chairs the UK Ocean Bottom Instrumentation Consortium that operates a pool of 50 seafloor instruments.

Prof. Rohling has published over 75 papers. He is Chair of the Executive Committee of IMAGES (International Marine Global Change Study). He is Vice-President of the Division on Climate: Past, Present and Future (section Palaeoclimatology), of the European Geoscience Union. He is editor of the new electronic EGU-journal Climate of the Past, associate editor of Paleoceanography, and editorial board member of Geology. His main current research interests are: (1) High-resolution investigation of ocean/climate changes during the Neogene, and in particular the Late Quaternary, to determine the nature, timing and magnitude of natural climate variability; (2) Theoretical and applied (integrated with proxy records) modeling of present-day and past states of circulation and property distribution; and (3) Theoretical and practical/analytical research on the use of conservative properties and ∂18O to trace deep-water formation, advection and mixing processes in the modern ocean.


Dr Heiko Palike
Reader
School of Ocean and Earth Science
Prof. Christian Berndt
Associate Researcher
NSRD Geology & Geophysics Group

Dr. Pälike has investigated high-resolution climate proxy data, and specifically the imprint of orbitally forced climate cycles, for several years (“cyclostratigraphy”). He participated as shipboard stratigraphic correlator in two recent (I)ODP expeditions (199 & 302) and is lead proponent for a future expedition (Proposal 662). Previous work has shown the importance of generating high-resolution records of climate proxies from strategic locations, as only now are we beginning to find additional climatic events from the geological past that can be used to verify and constrain climate models of intermediate complexity, one of the strengths at NOCS.

From 2005-2008 Prof. Berndt led the fluid flow team in the Geology & Geophysics Group at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. Now based at IFM-GEOMAR in Kiel, he retains Associate Researcher status at NOCS. The main focus of work is on fluid flow systems within continental margin sediments, including systems driven by gas hydrates, volcanism, reservoir leakage, and polygonal faulting. Since 1992 Prof. Berndt has participated in more than 15 marine research expeditions and has led 2 expeditions as chief scientist.


Dr Rachael James
Senior Researcher
NSRD Geology & Geophysics Group
anne 2 Anne Chabert
Research fellow
School of Ocean and Earth Science

Dr James joined NOCS in July of this year and she now leads the Geochemistry team in the Geology & Geophysics group. The overarching aim of her research is to identify and quantify the interactions between the continents, oceans, atmosphere and biosphere. To do this, she has developed a wide range of chemical and isotopic tracers that can be used, for example, to determine the nature of porefluid-sediment interactions, to assess fluid flow pathways and for the study of biomineralisation processes. Recent highlights include: (1) Establishing that lithium and lithium isotopes can be used as tracers of weathering of continental silicate material; (2) Using chromium isotopes to assess the fate of anthropogenic chromium in the environment; (3) Providing unequivocal evidence that lithium isotopes may in fact be fractionated in magmatic systems by differential diffusion of 6Li and 7Li during mantle-melt interaction and phenocryst growth. Dr James has participated in more than 10 oceanographic expeditions and she currently represents the UK Integrated Ocean Drilling Program in Europe.

Anne's research focus is on marine seismic data, and more specifically Ocean Bottom Seismometers (OBS) data. During her PhD research she used OBS data and also high resolution seismic data to constrain the sedimentary and crustal structure of the Hatton Basin and Hatton Continental Margin along the Irish volcanic passive margin, NE Atlantic. This work was carried at the University College Dublin, Ireland.  Anne is now working at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. She is there looking at OBS data in order to investigate the quantity of methane present along the continental margin of Western Svalbard from the geophysical properties of methane hydrate- and gas-bearing sediments which occur in and beneath the gas hydrate stability zone . Anne is also working with multibeam bathymetric data to better understand the relation between gas hydrate escape, sediment type and formation of pockmarks.



Clara Bolton
Postgraduate researcher
School of Ocean and Earth Science
Anya Crocker
Postgraduate researcher
School of Ocean and Earth Science

Clara has a degree in Oceanography and French from NOCS and is currently coming to the end of the second year of her PhD studies within the NOCS paleoceanography group. Clara works mainly on Pliocene climate change during the intensification of Northern Hemisphere Glaciation using deep-sea sediment samples drilled by ODP/IODP in the equatorial Pacific (Legs 130/138) and the N. Atlantic (Legs 303/306). Her Pacific research focuses mainly on studying the biotic responses of fossil plankton (coccolithophores) to climate change, whereas in the N. Atlantic she is carrying out out high-resolution foraminiferal isotope geochemistry in order to determine the controls on sub-orbital climate cycles in records of surface water properties.


Anya's PhD studies (under the supervision of Prof. Rohiling and Dr Pailke) will focus on using sediment core samples from the study area to look at changes in global ice volume, ambient sea-water  temperature, and hydrological conditions that have affected the water-masses. This will be carried out using a combination of stable isotope analysis, Mg-Ca ratio analysis and C14 dating of benthic foraminifera found in the core samples. The project work will allow for a comprehensive understanding of environmental changes over the study site, including temperature, hydrological conditions, and pressure. Results of the study will provide a suitable framework for the investigation of pressure-temperature variability on gas hydrate stability through the last glacial cycle, deglaciation, and Holocene.  

University of Birmingham

Prof. Graham Westbrook
Professor of Geophysics
School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences
Kate Thatcher
Research fellow
School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences

Graham Westbrook has a long record of research in marine geophysics (22 research cruises, 12 as PI or co-PI), and has been involved in research on gas hydrates since the early 1990s, modelling the thermal regime of accretionary wedges from heat flow variations derived from depth of the gas hydrate BSR, and using seismic measurements to identify the presence of hydrate. He was co-chief of ODP Leg 146, investigating hydrates off Vancouver Island and Oregon, and a member of the ODP Gas Hydrate Program Planning Group (1998-2001). From 2001 to 2004, he was co-ordinator of the EU Framework 5 project HYDRATECH - Techniques for the Quantification of Methane Hydrate in European Continental Margins (www.hydratech.bham.ac.uk), which demonstrated the value of recording S-wave data for quantifying hydrate and for identifying the presence of cracks from seismic anisotropy. He is currently involved in an investigation of the structure of gas/fluid escape chimneys in the Storegga region offshore Norway, as part of the EU Framework 6 project HERMES, in collaboration with partners from NOCS, IFREMER, and Tromsø University.


Kate's PhD research focussed on groundwater recharge for a study area in which glacial till inhibits vertical flow to a sandstone aquifer. A suite of geophysical techniques was used to map the till and unsaturated zone flow modelling was employed to determine water flow paths close to the edge of the till. Kate will now look at similar flow problems in the escape of methane after the dissociation of gas hydrate and the importance of focussing of flows by lithological heterogeneity and fractures. Research on this project has so far considered the likely areas of hydrate stability at the Last Glacial Maximum compared to today, involving understanding the variations in local water depth and temperature at the sea bed.

Royal Holloway University of London

Prof. Euan Nisbet
Foundation Professor
Department of Earth Sciences
Rebecca Fisher
Postdoctoral Research Assistant
Department of Earth Sciences

Euan Nisbet leads the RHUL atmospheric lab. This maintains the UK mainland's CO2 and CH4 time series, and coordinates the EU project Meth-MonitEUr (Methane monitoring in the European Union and Russia). He attends the UN WMO/IAEA Expert panel on CO2 and tracer measurement, reporting for the EU (methane) and UK. His interests in methane hydrates date back to the 1980s when he chaired the Canadian Lithosphere committee for many years, which dealt with methane hydrate risk. In 1989 and 1990 he and G.Macdonald proposed the hypothesis that sudden climate change could be driven by methane releases. The RHUL group has ongoing active collaboration with MGO-St Petersburg working in the Ob river gasfields, and with NILU-Tromsø, who collect air at Ny Alesund.

Rebecca’s research focus is on the carbon stable isotopic composition (δ13C) and mixing ratio of atmospheric methane. As part of her PhD research at Royal Holloway she developed instrumentation to measure high precision δ13C in methane in small samples of ambient air.  This instrumentation is now being used to measure methane δ13C in air samples from the Arctic.  Air samples are currently collected from the Zeppelin station in Ny-Ålesund, Spitsbergen and Pallas, Northern Finland.  Mixing ratio and δ13C data can be used together with back trajectory analysis to identify Arctic methane sources.    


Mathias Lanoisellé
Postgraduate Research Assistant
Atmospheric Monitoring Laboratory - Department of Earth Sciences

Mathias has an MSc in Environment Sciences. Between 2002-2004 he was in charge of CO2, CH4, N2O, SF6 and CO measurements using gas chromatography at LSCE (Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement) near Paris. In 2007 he joined Prof. Nisbet's team in RHUL to improve the quality of measurements for CO2, CH4, H2 and CO. Mathias is also the link to the French group who leads GEOmon (Global Earth Observation and Monitoring of the atmosphere) and IMECC (Infrastructure for Measurements of the European Carbon Cycle), two European projects in which RHUL is involved.



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