Dr Peter Wynn

Senior Lecturer

Natural environmental isotopes are used as an advanced method for tracing the dynamics of solutes and nutrients within earth systems. Within glaciated environments, natural isotopes of 15N/14N, 18O/16O, 34S/32S and 13C/12C have been used to fingerprint sources and sinks of nutrients within High Arctic and Icelandic glaciers. Fluorescence of compounds within snow and ice is currently being used as a method for establishing the organic component of the glacial ecosystem. Within karst environments, sulphur isotopes are currently being used to identify causes of variations in the sulphur content of stalagmites over time. Identification of how sulphur is cycled through the overlying ecosystem and karst environment allows transfer functions between climate and speleothems to be quantified. Compound specific analysis of organic matter contained within speleothem calcite is currently being investigated as a biomarker of past anthropogenic activity.

Current research includes funding from NERC to address archives of sulphur contained within trees (‘Interrogating trees as archives of environmental Sulphur variability’). In collaboration with the University of Swansea and the University of Birmingham, we aim to produce a high resolution record of changes in sulphur concentration and isotopic composition and link these to speleothem records from the same region. P. Wynn is also co-investigator on NERC grant ‘The Svalbard Exemplar for Neoproterozoic glaciation’, led by the University of Birmingham. This project uses the geochemical composition of glacial lake carbonates from NE Svalbard to infer palaeo atmospheric conditions during the Cryogenian glaciations of the Neoproterozoic.

www.gees.bham.ac.uk/research/clusters/geosystems/gains2010who.shtml