The rise of the Mesozoic carbonate factory

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Chemistry


The overall aim of this project is to study the environmental factors that are important for calcification in coccolithophores, and their roles in mineral formation. This involves factors such as the saturation state in seawater, the presence of other ions, in particular the ratio between calcium and magnesium which are both essential during calcium
carbonate precipitation. carbonate precipitation. We will probe how changing these factors affect the biochemical processes involved in calcification, such as the transport of calcium ions and carbonate/bicarbonate through the cell, the different polysaccharides expressed by the species, and how they affect the overall production of coccoliths. To gain an insight in the evolution of biomineralisation in cocccolithophores, we will compare the calcium and bicarbonate transport pathways in closely related calcifying and non-calcifying species.

We hypothesize that it is these transport pathways that underpin the calcification system. We will investigate how they operate in different species of calcifying and non-calcifying algae, controlling the transport of ions under different environmental conditions. This data will lead to the correlation between the sea water composition and the structure, morphology and rate of formation of coccoliths. Combining this information with the analysis of coccoliths from the earliest calcifying algae will lead to novel insights on the evolution of the mechanisms of calcification in algae.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
NE/S007407/1 25/09/2019 24/09/2027
2261363 Studentship NE/S007407/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Alexander Triccas