Dr James Rae

Dr James Rae


My research focuses on Earth's carbon cycle and climate. I am particularly interested in major environmental change in Earth's past, including rapid CO2 and climate change during the ice ages, the long-term chemical evolution of Earth's ocean and atmosphere, and the enivornmental perturbations that led to mass extinction.

To address these questions I use novel geochemical measurements on fossils, sediments, water, and ice, with a focus on the boron isotope proxy for pH and CO2. I am a PI of the St Andrews isotope Geochemistry labs (STAiG), a state-of-the-art clean room and mass spectrometry facility. I also use a variety of numerical tools to explore mechanisms of environmental change, including the cGENIE Earth System model.

I'm also fascinated by biomineralisation processes in corals and foraminifera, and the insights that geochemistry offers into calcification and ocean acidification.

I give regular public shows, lectures, and teacher development workshops on climate change. I am currently developing a series of teaching resources with Geobus and serve on the board of the Royal Meteorological Society's MetLink outreach programme.

You can follow me on Twitter @mudwaterclimate

For more information please see my website.

Open positions for postdoctoral fellows!

I am currently looking for postdoctoral fellows to join our group as part of my ERC project "100 Myr of ocean pH & atmospheric CO2". For more info and how to apply see the official advertisement. This first call closes 21 June 2019, but there will be other opportunties to join this team, so please get in touch if you're interested in CO2 reconstruction over the last 100 Million years.

Research Group


Dr William Gray

Dr Rosanna Greenop

Dr Rhian Rees-Own

PhD Students

Ben Taylor

Jess Crumpton-Banks

Eloise Littley

source: symbiosis


Research Overview:

My research focuses on reconstructing past climate change and its causes.  I'm particularly interested in the cause of recent glacial-interglacial cycles, and climate changes over the Cenozoic.  To study these questions I use geochemical measurements on fossils, sediments, water and ice, with a special focus on the boron isotope proxy for pH.  I interpret these data with the help of a variety of numerical models.  I'm also fascinated by biomineralisation processes in corals and foraminifera, and the insights that geochemistry offers into calcification and ocean acidification. 



34 (of 34 /dk/atira/pure/researchoutput/status/published available) for jwbr. (source: University of St Andrews PURE)
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Carbon cycle dynamics during episodes of rapid climate change K J Meissner, E Brook, S A Finkelstein, James William Buchanan Rae
Environmental Research Letters 2021 vol. 16
Controls on boron isotopes in a cold-water coral and the cost of resilience to ocean acidification Alexander Gagnon, Anne Gothmann, Oscar Branson, James William Buchanan Rae, Joseph Stewart
Earth and Planetary Science Letters 2021 vol. 554
Uranium distribution and incorporation mechanism in deep-sea corals Sang Chen, Eloise Littley, James William Buchanan Rae, Christopher D. Charles, Jess F. Adkins
Frontiers in Earth Science 2021 vol. 9
Boron isotopes provide insights into biomineralization, seawater pH, and ancient atmospheric CO2 Jessica G.M. Crumpton-Banks, James William Buchanan Rae
Oceanography 2020 vol. 33 pp. 42-43
Equilibria, kinetics, and boron isotope partitioning in the aqueous boric acid–hydrofluoric acid system Richard Zeebe, James William Buchanan Rae
Chemical Geology 2020 vol. 550
Overturning circulation, nutrient limitation, and warming in the Glacial North Pacific James William Buchanan Rae, William Robert Gray, R. C. J. Wills, I. Eisenman, B. Fitzhugh, M. Fotheringham, Eloise Littley, P. A. Rafter, Rhian Laura Rees-Owen, A. Ridgwell, Andrea Burke
Science Advances 2020 vol. 6
Rapid shifts in circulation and biogeochemistry of the Southern Ocean during deglacial carbon cycle events Tao Li, Laura F. Robinson, Tianyu Chen, Xingchen T. Wang, Andrea Burke, James William Buchanan Rae, Albertine Pegrum-Haram, Timothy D. J. Knowles, Gaojun Li, Jun Chen, Hong Chin Ng, Maria Prokopenko, George Rowland, Ana Samperiz, Joseph A. Stewart, John Southon, Peter T. Spooner
Science Advances 2020 vol. 6
Refining trace metal temperature proxies in cold-water scleractinian and stylasterid corals Joseph A. Stewart, Laura F. Robinson, Russell D. Day, Ivo Strawson, Andrea Burke, James William Buchanan Rae, Peter T. Spooner, Ana Samperiz, Peter J. Etnoyer, Branwen Williams, Adina Paytan, Melanie J. Leng, Vreni Häussermann, Leslie N. Wickes, Rachael Bratt, Helena Pryer
Earth and Planetary Science Letters 2020 vol. 545
Wind-driven evolution of the North Pacific subpolar gyre over the last deglaciation William Robert Gray, Robert CJ Wills, James William Buchanan Rae, Andrea Burke, Ruza F Ivanovic, William HG Roberts, David Ferreira, Paul J Valdes
Geophysical Research Letters 2020 vol. 47
Rapid ocean acidification and protracted Earth system recovery followed the end-Cretaceous Chicxulub impact Michael J. Henehan, Andy Ridgwell, Ellen Thomas, Shuang Zhang, Laia Alegret, Daniela N. Schmidt, James William Buchanan Rae, James D. Witts, Neil H. Landman, Sarah E. Greene, Brian T. Huber, James R. Super, Noah J. Planavsky, Pincelli M. Hull
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2019 vol. 116 pp. 22500-22504
Boron isotopes in foraminifera James William Buchanan Rae
2018 pp. 107-143
CO2 storage and release in the deep Southern Ocean on millennial to centennial timescales James William Buchanan Rae, Andrea Burke, L. F. Robinson, J. F. Adkins, T. Chen, Catherine Sarah Cole, Rosanna Greenop, T. Li, Eloise Littley, Dan Constantin Nita, J. A. Stewart,
Nature 2018 vol. 562 pp. 569-573
Deglacial upwelling, productivity and CO2 outgassing in the North Pacific Ocean William Robert Gray, James William Buchanan Rae, Robert C. J. Wills, Amelia E. Shevenell, Andrea Burke, Gavin L. Foster, Caroline H. Lear
Nature Geoscience 2018 vol. 11 pp. 340–344
Distribution and ecology of planktic foraminifera in the North Pacific James William Buchanan Rae, William Robert Gray, Kate Darling, Andrea Burke, Rainer Gersonde, Andrea Abelmann, Edith Maier, Oliver Esper, Patrizia Ziveri
Quaternary Science Reviews 2018 vol. 191 pp. 256-274
The effect of ocean acidification on tropical coral calcification Nicola Allison, Catherine Sarah Cole, Christopher James Hintz, Kenneth Hintz, James William Buchanan Rae, Adrian Anthony Finch
Chemical Geology 2018 vol. 497 pp. 162-169
What fraction of the Pacific and Indian oceans' deep water is formed in the Southern Ocean? James William Buchanan Rae, Wally Broecker
Biogeosciences 2018 vol. 15 pp. 3779-3794
Calibration of the B/Ca proxy in the planktic foraminifer Orbulina universa to Paleocene seawater conditions Laura L. Haynes, Bärbel Hönisch, Kelsey A. Dyez, Kate Holland, Yair Rosenthal, Carina R. Fish, Adam V. Subhas, James William Buchanan Rae
Paleoceanography 2017 vol. 32 pp. 580-599
Biogeochemical significance of pelagic ecosystem function Michael Henehan, Pincelli Hull, Donald Penman, James William Buchanan Rae, Daniela Schmidt
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences 2016 vol. 371
Morphological response of planktic foraminifers to habitat modifications associated with the emergence of the Isthmus of Panama Daniela Schmidt, Aude Caromel, O Seki, James William Buchanan Rae, S Renaud
Marine Micropaleontology 2016 vol. 128 pp. 28-38
Reconstructing ocean pH with boron isotopes in foraminifera Gavin Foster, James William Buchanan Rae
Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 2016 vol. 44
Boron isotope evidence for oceanic carbon dioxide leakage during the last deglaciation M A Martínez-Botí, G Marino, G L Foster, P Ziveri, M J Henehan, James William Buchanan Rae, P G Mortyn, D Vance
Nature 2015 vol. 518 pp. 219-22
Evaluating the utility of B/Ca ratios in planktic foraminifera as a proxy for the carbonate system M.J. Henehan, G.L. Foster, James William Buchanan Rae, K.C. Prentice, J. Erez, H.C. Bostock, B.J. Marshall, Paul Joseph Wilson
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 2015 vol. 16 pp. 1052-1069
Reply to 'Pliocene warmth and gradients' Charlotte O'Brien, Gavin Foster, James William Buchanan Rae, Richard Pancost
Nature Geoscience 2015 vol. 8 pp. 420
Deep water formation in the North Pacific and deglacial CO2 rise James William Buchanan Rae, Michael Sarnthein, Gavin Foster, Andy Ridgwell, Pieter Grootes, Tim Elliott
Paleoceanography 2014 vol. 29 pp. 645-667
High sea surface temperatures in tropical warm pools during the Pliocene Charlotte O'Brien, Gavin Foster, Miguel Martinez-Boti, Richard Abell, James William Buchanan Rae, Richard Pancost
Nature Geoscience 2014 vol. 7 pp. 606-611
Calibration of the Boron Isotope Proxy in the Planktonic Foraminifera Globigerinoides ruber for use in palaeo-CO2 reconstruction Michael J. Henehan, James William Buchanan Rae, Gavin L. Foster, Jonathan Erez, Katherine C. Prentice, Michal Kucera, Helen C. Bostock, Miguel A. Martinez-Boti, J. Andy Milton, Paul A. Wilson, Brittney J. Marshall, Tim Elliott
Earth and Planetary Science Letters 2013 vol. 364 pp. 111-122
Interlaboratory comparison of boron isotope analyses of boric acid, seawater and marine CaCO3 by MC-ICPMS and NTIMS G. L. Foster, B. Hoenisch, G. Paris, G. Dwyer, James William Buchanan Rae, T Elliott, J. Gaillardet, G. Hemming, P. Louvat, A. Vengosh
Chemical Geology 2013 vol. 358 pp. 1-14
Responses of the deep ocean carbonate system to carbon reorganization during the last glacial-interglacial cycle J Yu, R. F. Anderson, Z. Jin, James William Buchanan Rae, B. N. Opdyke, S. Eggins
Quaternary Science Reviews 2013 vol. 76 pp. 39-52
Structural limitations in deriving accurate U-series ages from calcitic cold-water corals contrasts with robust coral radiocarbon and Mg/Ca systematics M. Gutjahr, D. Vance, D. L. Hoffmann, C-D Hillenbrand, G. L. Foster, James William Buchanan Rae, G. Kuhn
Chemical Geology 2013 vol. 355 pp. 69-87
The evolution of pCO2, ice volume and climate during the middle Miocene Gavin L. Foster, Caroline H. Lear, James William Buchanan Rae
Earth and Planetary Science Letters 2012 vol. 341-344 pp. 243-254
Boron isotopes and B/Ca ratios in benthic foraminifera James William Buchanan Rae, Gavin L. Foster, Daniela N. Schmidt, Tim Elliott
Earth and Planetary Science Letters 2011 vol. 302 pp. 403-413
CO2SYS v 1.1 S. van Heuven, D. Pierrot, James William Buchanan Rae, E. Lewis, D. W. R. Wallace
Boron and magnesium isotopic composition of seawater G. L. Foster, P. A. E. Pogge von Strandmann, James William Buchanan Rae
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 2010 vol. 11

Contact Details:

Dr James Rae
Irvine Building
University of St Andrews
North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

tel: 01334 463910
room: 502


My website
Scottish Oceans Institute
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
STAIG Principle Investigators

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The Secretary
Scottish Oceans Institute
Institiud Chuantan na h-Alba
Gatty Marine Laboratory
East Sands St Andrews
KY16 8LB

tel: +44 (0) 1334 463472
fax: +44 (0) 1334 463443