Dr Nicky Allison

Dr Nicky Allison


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

source: symbiosis


Recent publications listed in research@st-andrews
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
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 .
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.

Contact Details:

Dr Nicky Allison
Irvine Building
University of St Andrews
North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

tel: +44 01334 463952
fax: +44 01334 463949



Scottish Oceans Institute
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

edit na9 details

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