Dr Alexander Dickson

Alexander Dickson

Personal profile

I am a geochemist with a particular interest in understanding how environmental processes impart distinctive geochemical signatures on ocean seawater. When properly understood, these signatures can be used to trace the evolution of Earth’s environmental systems in the geological past.


A major theme of my research has been to understand how quickly, and by how much, ocean chemistry can become perturbed during intervals of geologically rapid climate change, and during prolonged intervals of warmer-than-present climate. Ocean chemical changes may result from alterations to the input, or output, of certain elements to and from the oceans, fluctuations in the weathering of oceanic and continental rocks, redox changes, or variations in the production of organic matter in the surface of the ocean (among others). These changes can usefully be traced using the isotopic composition of a suite of metals that exist at trace concentrations in seawater.

 My research can be divided in a few major themes:

-       The application of non-traditional isotope techniques (such as molybdenum, and uranium) to trace the rate and magnitude of redox changes in past oceans.

-       The development of new isotopic proxies (e.g. cadmium and zinc) for redox and nutrient cycling.

-       Tracing the influence of volcanism and chemical weathering using osmium-isotopes.

-       Understanding the interactions between metals and organic matter, and the potential to use metals as tracers for organic-matter diagenesis, catagenesis and migration.

-       The palaeoclimate and triggering mechanisms of rapid global warming events in Earth’s geological    past, such as Hyperthermal events, Oceanic Anoxic Events, and mass-extinctions.

I am willing to supervise PhD topics structured around these, and related, themes. If you would like to talk about opportunities please get in touch or look here:


or here:


ID: 28854529