What have I done in the last months in Plymouth?
I spent a lot of time in the lab!
But not the dirty lab as I usually do to clean my bulk samples and count the fossil for palaeoecological analyses. This time I was in the clean lab, for geochemical analyses!
I prepared and analysed for oxygen and carbon stable isotopes and trace elements hundreds of shells from the Sundance Seaway|: belemnites, oysters, and some brachiopds. What we want to know is how temperature and salinity changed through time in the Seaway, and the fossil shells can give us this information.
First I had to clean each speciment with purified water, then I selected well preserved fragments under the optical microscope and crushed them to get a powder. For stable isotopes, I only needed a few micrograms, while some more is needed for trace elements. Marc Davies showed me all the steps for doing stable isotope analyses at the isotope ratio mass spectrometer.
The work is almost finished, and soon I will present the results at the International Meeting of Sedimentology in Toulouse, France.