I have broad interests in the biodiversity, biogeography and ecology of modern benthic foraminifera, xenophyophores and gromiids (testate protists).
Current research themes include the following.
- Work on foraminiferal biodiversity and biogeography has focussed particularly on monothalamous foraminifera. Analysis of samples from different oceans suggests that some morphospecies are widespread whereas others have more limited distributions. With Japanese and Swiss colleagues, we are combining classical morphological methods with modern molecular approaches to define species ranges more precisely.
- Analyses of temporal variability of foraminiferal faunas over decadal time-scales at an abyssal site has revealed a switch in species dominance, possibly related to long-term trends in organic-matter inputs.
- We recently discovered gromiids, large, shell-bearing protists formerly known only from coastal habitats, at deep-water sites in the Arabian Sea and Weddell Sea. A study of the molecular genetics of Arabian Sea gromiids by Ana Aranda da Silva demonstrated the existence of morphologically very similar but genetically divergent cryptic species.
- Work by Kate Larkin in the Arabian Sea, based on incubation experiments using 13C-labled algae and lipid biomarkers, has shown that calcareous foraminifera exhibit rapid uptake of organic matter and play a key role in the initial stages of its degradation.