Although far from the oceans, the University of Birmingham has many staff focussed on scientific ocean drilling and marine geology research. Birmingham academics have led ocean expeditions to uncover the structure of mid-ocean ridges and the edges of the continents. They have sailed to the edges of Antarctica and to the warmest tropical oceans in search of Earth’s climate history. And they use computer simulations to understand the oceans' past and predict the future. This exhibition tells the story of some of this research.
DR TOM DUNKLEY JONES
Tom studies the ocean’s phytoplankton - the single-celled algae that provide the food for marine ecosystems – and how these change through time. He has sailed on two IODP Expeditions to the tropical Pacific and will lead an Expedition to the tropical Atlantic in 2020.
DR kirsty edgar
Kirsty studies single-celled organisms called foraminifera (“forams”), and uses their chemistry to reconstruct the temperature of the ocean and the concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. She has sailed on IODP expeditions to the equatorial Pacific and Southern Ocean.
DR SARAH GREENE
Sarah uses computer models to understand the behaviour of the whole ocean over time, especially how climate is controlled by changes in the carbon cycle. To do this, she needs lots of data from ocean drilling!
Yvette traces changes in plant and bacterial life over millions of years, by studying the organic compounds they leave behind in sediments. From these chemicals, she can also tell you about past temperatures and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.
professor tim reston
Tim studies the edges of plates – where continents become oceans, and the ridges where new oceans have formed. He has led ship survey expeditions to the mid-Atlantic ridge and the Iberian margin.
James studies ancient climates by looking at the chemical traces left behind by life. He has sailed on IODP Expeditions to the Antarctic and Arabian Sea.