Majority of the human population live in the narrow coastal regions where anthropogenic impact on natural environments is at its highest. Over the last century, the Australian coastline experienced major infrastructural developments and population growth. As a result, different monitoring programs and guidelines were established to assure that anthropogenic expansion in the coastal zones will have minimum impact on local ecosystems. However, certain anthropogenic pollutants, particularly heavy metals, are very challenging to trace in the seawater environment. In my talk, I will present our preliminary results in developing a novel geochemical approach by studying biomineralisation of benthic foraminifera to trace chemical pollution in coastal zones. This unicellular organism secrete calcitic shells and has been shown to record the evolution of environmental parameters in their shell geochemistry. I will show how we are combining several research projects to understand the mechanism of incorporation of heavy metals into foraminiferal skeleton from nano to macro-levels. I will also provide outlook on how our new developments can help improve current ways of tracing heavy metal pollution in the coral reef and coastal ecosystems.
I graduated with distinction from Moscow State University obtaining a wide educational background in geology and palaeontology. I received my PhD in Earth Sciences at Australian National University, specialising in the application of micro-analytical geochemistry to paleoclimate and environmental studies. I had 10 years of postdoctoral experience and worked at University of Edinburg and University of Cambridge. Currently I am research fellow at University of Western Australia where I study biomineralisation of marine calcifiers. My general research interests cover a broad spectrum of the Earth Sciences with particular emphasis on past climate changes, paleoceanography and geochemistry.