Dr Anna Pienkowski

Anna Pienkowski 205x205

Dr Anna Pienkowski

Alix Cage 200x200

Dr Alix Cage

Blue carbon and ice-ocean interactions in polar environments

Dr Anna Pienkowski will join us from the Department of Arctic Geology at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS). She is planning three visits to Keele in the period March 2019 - March 2020 and during her fellowship will be hosted by Dr Alix Cage in the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment and the Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In her time at Keele, Anna and Alix will be working on their joint proposal; Blue carbon and ice-ocean interactions in polar environments.

Blue carbon is the world‘s largest carbon sink. The process of capturing and storing carbon dioxide in the ocean depends upon the marine biota that plays a vital role in ocean carbon pumping. These tiny little protists, Marine biota (foraminifera (< 1 mm) are preserved in the seabed. They secrete carbonate shells and they play a crucial role in marine food webs, consuming smaller algae and providing food for zooplankton, which is the food source for economically-important organisms such as fish.

This collaboration brings together Arctic samples from Dr Pienkowski with the Antarctica ice core samples from Keele Scientists Professor Fogwill, and Dr Cage. These will be used to assess the amount of carbon stored in modern arctic marine sediments in the form of foraminifera and to map the longer-term histories of carbon storage by foraminifera in Arctic and Antarctic sedimentary records. The second strand of the work will involve the analysis of the samples for biomarkers (chemical fossils) produced by marine algae to measure the ways that the oceans interact with adjacent glaciers and in this way to assess level of transfer of marine biota from ocean to land.

This exciting work is highly interdisciplinary spanning geology, micropalaeontology, biological oceanography, biogeochemistry, and glaciology and will contribute to understandings of the future ocean and its crucial role in sustainable food security and climate regulation in a changing world.

Anna has expertise in Paleoclimatology, Palaeontology and Oceanography. She undertook her PHD at the University of Alberta Arctic Quaternary marine palaeoenvironments and has held teaching and research posts at a number of institutions including; Bangor University, UK, MacEwan University and Alberta University Canada. She is currently a researcher in the Department of Artic Geology at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) Norway .Anna has been the part of the scientist team crossing the Northwest Passage to work on mapping the region high in the Canadian Artic, an area that is only now becoming navigable, thanks to climate change.

If you would like to know more about the plans for Dr Pienkowski’s fellowship and would like to meet her during her visit to Keele, please contact Jo Flynn.