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Research Interest and Current ProjectsSarah began her PhD in October 2003. Sarah's project is funded to CASE-level by BG-Group. Her project is entitled: Astronomically-calibrated late Cenozoic history and biostratigraphy of the eastern Mediterranean Sea using dinoflagellate cysts.
The eastern Mediterranean Sea was drilled in 1995 by the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) during Leg 160 in order to elucidate, among other objectives, the palaeoceanographic history of the region. A particular focus was on the origin and significance of sapropels (organic-rich layers) that occur through the Pliocene and Quaternary of the Mediterranean. These sapropels sensitively record the control of orbitally-driven climate change on sedimentation. They provide, in conjunction with colour cycles, oxygen isotopes and mineralized microfossils, a highly precise astronomically-tuned geochronology for these sediments.
The project will investigate the dinoflagellate and acritarch record of the early Pliocene sediments of the eastern Mediterranean, and specifically using ODP Site 969 (Mediterranean Ridge) to construct a biostratigraphic section. This will be used in conjunction with wells provided by BG-Group, to construct a basin-wide dinoflagellate ecostratigraphy, in order to improve understanding of salinity and temperature fluctuations in surface waters during and between sapropel formation, and to test for any evidence of upwelling during sapropel formation.
Her supervisors are Dr. Phil Gibbard , Dr. Martin Head .