Dr Nicky Allison

Lecturer

tel: +44 01334 463952
fax: +44 01334 463949
email: na9@st-andrews.ac.uk
room:  (Irvine Building)
Irvine Building
University of St Andrews
North Street
St Andrews
Fife
KY16 9AL
UK


General Information



I study biomineralisation and the chemistry of biogenic carbonates. I maintain a sophisticated aquarium facility for the culture of tropical corals and other organisms over variable seawater pCO2, alkalinity and temperature scenarios. My current research interests include:

Biomineralisation and climate change: I study biomineralisation in tropical reef building corals and the impact of climate change e.g. rising seawater temperatures and ocean acidification, on coral calcification and metabolic processes.

The geochemistry of biogenic carbonates: The skeletal chemistry of marine organisms may record information on the local environmental conditions prevailing at the time of their deposition and the analysis of fossil specimens can be used to estimate past climate. My research focuses on understanding the environmental and biological processes which affect the skeletal geochemistry of corals, foraminifera and sclerosponges.

Reconstruction of tropical and sub-tropical Pacific seawater temperatures: I am using measurements of Sr/Ca, δ11B and δ18O in fossil corals from Papua New Guinea, Hawaii and the Great Barrier Reef to reconstruct records of sea surface temperature, ice volume and regional salinity in the Pacific Ocean at key times in the Quaternary and beyond.

Current funding:
The Leverhulme Trust: The control of coral biomineralisation

Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland: Identifying the source of skeletal carbon for tropical reef building corals

Research Overview

In my research I seek to understand biomineralisation and the environmental and biological processes which affect the geochemistry of biogenic marine carbonates such as foraminifera tests, coral skeletons and bivalve shells. The skeletal chemistry of marine organisms may record information on the local environmental conditions prevailing at the time of their deposition and the analysis of fossil specimens can be used to estimate past climate. I am using measurements of Sr/Ca and δ18O in fossil corals from Papua New Guinea, Hawaii and the Great Barrier Reef to reconstruct records of sea surface temperature, ice volume and regional salinity in the Pacific Ocean at key times in the Quaternary and beyond. I have recently built sophisticated seawater culturing systems for benthic foraminifera and tropical corals, enabling me to manipulate the environment and to monitor the effects of these manipulations on organism metabolism, calcification and skeletal chemistry. I am currently culturing massive tropical Porites spp. corals over a range of seawater pH, to reflect past seawater conditions during the pre-industrial and the last glacial maximum and future seawater conditions associated with rising anthropogenic CO2 and ocean acidification.

 

 

 
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Recent Publications

Cole, CS, Finch, AA, Hintz, C, Hintz, K & Allison, N 2016, 'Understanding cold bias: variable response of skeletal Sr/Ca to seawater pCO2 in acclimated massive Porites corals' Scientific Reports, vol 6, 26888. DOI: 10.1038/srep26888
Allison, N, Cohen, I, Finch, AA, Erez, J & Tudhope, AW 2014, 'Corals concentrate dissolved inorganic carbon to facilitate calcification' Nature Communications, vol 5, 5741. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms6741
Allison, N, Chambers, D, Finch, AA & EIMF 2013, 'SIMS sputtering rates in biogenic aragonite: implications for culture calibration studies for palaeoenvironmental reconstruction' Surface and Interface Analysis, vol 45, no. 9, pp. 1389-1394. DOI: 10.1002/sia.5297
Allison, N, Finch, AA & EIMF 2012, 'A high resolution delta C-13 record in a modern Porites lobata coral: Insights into controls on skeletal delta C-13' Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, vol 84, pp. 534-542. DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2012.02.004
Allison, N, Tudhope, AW & EIMF 2012, 'The skeletal geochemistry of the sclerosponge Astrosclera willeyana: implications for biomineralisation processes and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction' Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, vol 313-314, pp. 70-77. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2011.10.009
Allison, N, Cohen, I, Finch, AA, Erez, J & EMIF 2011, 'Controls on Sr/Ca and Mg/Ca in scleractinian corals: the effects of Ca-ATPase and transcellular Ca channels on skeletal chemistry' Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, vol 75, no. 21, pp. 6350-6360. DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2011.08.012
Allison, N, Austin, HEATHER, Austin, W & Paterson, DM 2011, 'Effects of seawater pH and calcification rate on test Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca in cultured individuals of the benthic, calcitic foraminifera Elphidium williamsoni,' Chemical Geology, vol 289, pp. 171-178.
Dalbeck, P, Cusack, M, Dobson, PS, Allison, N, Fallick, AE, Tudhope, AW & EIMF 2011, 'Identification and composition of secondary meniscus calcite in fossil coral and the effect on predicted sea surface temperature' Chemical Geology, vol 280, pp. 314-322.
Allison, N, Finch, AA & EIMF 2010, 'The potential origins and palaeoenvironmental implications of high temporal resolution delta O-18 heterogeneity in coral skeletons' Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, vol 74, no. 19, pp. 5537-5548. DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2010.06.032
Allison, N, Austin, W, Paterson, D & Austin, H 2010, 'Culture studies of the benthic foraminifera Elphidium williamsoni: Evaluating pH Delta[CO32-] and inter-individual effects on test Mg/Ca' Chemical Geology, vol 274, no. 1-2, pp. 87-93. DOI: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2010.03.019
Finch, AA, Allison, N, Foster, L, Wilson, L & Hathorne, E 2010, 'Magnesium in palaeoenvironmental carbonates' Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, vol 74, no. 12, pp. A293-A293.
Allison, N, Finch, AA & EIMF 2010, 'δ11B, Sr, Mg and B in a modern Porites coral: the relationship between calcification site pH and skeletal chemistry' Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, vol 74, no. 6, pp. 1790-1800. DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2009.12.030
Finch, AA, Allison, N, Steaggles, H, Wood, CV & Mosselmans, JFW 2010, 'Ba XAFS in Ba-rich standard minerals and the potential for determining Ba structural state in calcium carbonate' Chemical Geology, vol 270, no. 1-4, pp. 179-185. DOI: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2009.11.015
Allison, N, Finch, AA & EIMF 2010, 'The potential origins and palaeoenvironmental implications of high temporal resolution d18O heterogeneity in coral skeletons' Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, vol 74, pp. 5537-5548.
Finch, AA, Allison, N, Steaggles, H, Wood, CV & Mosselmans, JFW 2010, 'Ba XAFS of Ba-rich standard minerals and the potential for determining Ba structural state in calcium carbonate' Chemical Geology, vol 270, pp. 179-185.
Foster, LC, Allison, N, Finch, AA, Andersson, C & Ninnemann, US 2009, 'Controls on delta O-18 and delta C-13 profiles within the aragonite bivalve Arctica islandica' The Holocene, vol 19, no. 4, pp. 549-558. DOI: 10.1177/0959683609104028
Foster, LC, Allison, N, Finch, AA, Andersson, C & Ninnemann, US 2009, 'Controls on d18O and d13C profiles within the aragonite bivalve Arctica islandica' The Holocene, vol 19, no. 4, pp. 549-558. DOI: 10.1177/0959683609104028
Allison, N & Finch, AA 2009, 'Reproducibility of minor and trace element determinations in Porites coral skeletons by secondary ion mass spectrometry' Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, vol 10, Q04003, pp. -. DOI: 10.1029/2008GC002239
Foster, LC, Allison, N, Finch, AA & Andersson, C 2009, 'Strontium distribution in the shell of the aragonite bivalve Arctica islandica' Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, vol 10, no. 3, Q03003. DOI: 10.1029/2007GC001915
Allison, N & Finch, AA 2009, 'The reproducibility of minor and trace element determinations in Porites coral skeletons by secondary ion mass spectrometry' Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, vol 10, no. 4, pp. Q04003. DOI: doi:10.1029/2008GC002239
Cusack, M, England, J, Dalbeck, P, Tudhope, AW, Fallick, AE & Allison, N 2008, 'Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) as a tool for detection of coral diagenesis' Coral Reefs, vol 27, pp. 905-911. DOI: 10.1007/s00338-008-0414-3
Foster, L, Finch, AA, Allison, N, Andersson, C & Clarke, LJ 2008, 'Mg in aragonitic bivalve shells: seasonal variations and mode of incorporation in Arctica islandica,' Chemical Geology, vol 254, pp. 113-119. DOI: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2008.06.007
Allison, N & Austin, WEN 2008, 'Serial Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca chronologies across single benthic foraminifera tests' Chemical Geology, vol 253, no. 1-2, pp. 83-88. DOI: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2008.04.010
Finch, AA & Allison, N 2008, 'Mg structural state in coral aragonite and implications for the paleoenvironmental proxy' Geophysical Research Letters, vol 35, no. 8, L08704. DOI: 10.1029/2008GL033543
Foster, LC, Andersson, C, Hoie, H, Allison, N, Finch, AA & Johansen, T 2008, 'Effects of micromilling on delta O-18 in biogenic aragonite' Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, vol 9. DOI: 10.1029/2007GC001911
Allison, N, Finch, AA, Webster, JM & Clague, DW 2007, 'Palaeoenvironmental records from fossil corals: the effects of submarine diagenesis on temperature and climate estimates' Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, vol 71, pp. 4693-4703. DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2007.07.026
Finch, AA & Allison, N 2007, 'Coordination of Sr and Mg in calcite and aragonite' Mineralogical Magazine, vol 71, pp. 539-552. DOI: 10.1180/minmag.2007.071.5.539
Allison, N & Finch, AA 2007, 'High temporal resolution Mg/Ca and Ba/Ca records in modern Porites lobata corals' Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, vol 8, no. 5, Q05001, pp. -. DOI: 10.1029/2006GC001477
Allison, N, Finch, AA, Tudhope, AW, Newville, M, Sutton, SR & Ellam, RM 2005, 'Reconstruction of deglacial sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific from selective analysis of a fossil coral' Geophysical Research Letters, vol 32, pp. L17609. DOI: 10.1029/2005GL023183
Allison, N, Finch, AA, Newville, M & Sutton, SV 2005, 'Strontium in coral aragonite: 3. Sr coordination and geochemistry in relation to skeletal architecture' Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, vol 69, pp. 3801-3811. DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2005.01.026
Allison, N & Finch, AA 2004, 'High resolution Sr/Ca records in modern Porites lobata corals: effects of skeletal extension rate and architecture' Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, vol 5, no. 5, pp. Q05001/1-Q05001/10. DOI: 10.1029/2004GC000696
Solbra, S, Allison, N, Skei, J, Waite, S & Mikhalovsky, S 2004, 'Development of a device for indicating bioavailable Cd in estuarine and marine waters' Water Research, vol 38, pp. 1586-1594. DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2003.12.016
Finch, AA & Allison, N 2003, 'Strontium in coral aragonite: 2. Sr co-ordination and the long-term stability of environmental records' Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, vol 67, no. 23, pp. 4519-4527.
Finch, AA, Allison, N, Sutton, SV & Newville M, MD 2003, 'Strontium in coral aragonite: 1. Characterisation of Sr co‑ordination by EXAFS' Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, vol 67, no. 7, pp. 1189-1194. DOI: 10.1016/S0016-7037(00)01225-3
Allison, N & Austin, WEN 2003, 'The potential of ion microprobe analysis in detecting geochemical variations across individual foraminifera tests' Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, vol 4, no. 2, pp. 8403. DOI: 10.1029/2002GC000430
Finch, AA, Allison, N, Sutton, SR & Newville, M 2002, 'Characterisation of Sr in coral aragonite by EXAFS' Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, vol 66, no. 15A Supplement, pp. A234-A234 .
Allison, N, Finch, AA, Sutton, SV & Newville, M 2001, 'Strontium heterogeneity and speciation in coral aragonite: Implications for the strontium paleothermometer' Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, vol 65, pp. 2669-2676.
Solbra, S, Allison, N, Waite, S, Mikhalovsky, SV, Bortun, AI, Bortun LN, MD & Clearfield A, MD 2001, 'Cesium and Strontium Ion Exchange on the Framework Titanium Silicate M2Ti2O3SiO4 · nH2O (M = H, Na)' Environmental Science and Technology, vol 35, pp. 626-629.


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