University of St Andrews

Major NERC-funding award to St Andrews and Belfast researchers

Tuesday 23 December 2014

A new NERC-funded project REIMAGINATION (REconstructing and understanding the IMplications of surface 14C AGe changes In the North Atlantic for overturning circulation) will see researchers from Scotland and Northern Ireland working together.

Researchers from the University of St Andrews, the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, East Kilbride and Queens University Belfast will work together to build regional marine radiocarbon calibration curves for the last glacial period; offering the potential to greatly improve our understanding of the timing and rate of change in the climate system. Led by researchers at the University of St Andrews’ School of Geography and Geosciences: Andrea Burke (lecturer), William Austin (reader) and James Rae (research fellow), the project includes a close collaboration with SUERC (Charlotte Bryant – director, Radiocarbon Laboratory), QUB (Paula Reimer – director, 14Chrono Centre; Maarten Blaauw – lecturer) and a significant number of international project partners.

Commenting on the award to the University of St Andrews, William Austin noted the close co-operation across the School in securing the highly competitive funding; adding that the successful outcome reflected many years of hard work by a larger team who had contributed to the development of the proposal:

“I’m indebted to those who have supported the proposal along the way; the funding of “Blue Skies” research is increasingly challenging in the current climate. Paula, Charlotte and myself were determined not to give up on this proposal and it’s a great outcome to see the project finally funded with the support of new colleagues, including Andrea, James and Maarten – all of whom are rising stars in this field”.

Photomicrograph below shows specimens of planktonic foraminifera (monospecific G.bulloides); these tiny shells (ca. 0.5mm in diameter) will be used to provide the dating material required for radiocarbon analysis of glacial-age marine sediments (photograph: W. Austin).