Dr Laura Hepburn
- Research Scientist in Stable Isotope Geochemistry (Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre)
Laura’s research focuses on the marine biogeochemical cycling of iron. Iron is an essential nutrient for primary production in the upper water column and carbon storage in marine sediments. Her research is highly interdisciplinary and uses state-of-the-art particle accelerator technology to characterise the mineralogy of iron minerals on a nano-particulate scale, ultimately to better understand how the efficiency of carbon storage in marine sediments will be affected by climatic changes, using ecological modelling techniques. Specifically, Laura’s research targets continental shelf and deep, oxygen-rich marine zones that cover vast regions of the seabed, as such they have the potential to act as one of Earth’s largest long-term carbon reservoirs. Laura has a background in deep-sea research and conservation, with a PhD in the exploration and geochemical characterisation of modern high-temperature hydrothermal systems.
The interaction between the marine biogeochemical iron cycle and that of the other major elements is complex. Laura is also interested in the novel use and development of conventional geochemical and isotopic techniques to better understand the fine-scale processes between global nutrient cycles, including carbon, sulfur, oxygen, and hydrogen.