Associate Professor of Stable Isotope Geochemistry
Dr Darren Gröcke is the Director of the Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry Laboratory (SIBL) at Durham University. SIBL has state-of-the-art gas source isotope mass spectrometers that are used for the investigation of archaeological, geological, biological and environmental samples. Darren has worked on a diverse array of subjects from modern kangaroo bones, mammoth diets, black shale formation and plant fertilisation. Darren has written many publications on modern, archaeological and geological studies. Darren has over 20 years of isotope experience and over 110 peer-reviewed international publications. SIBL has helped train many PhD, MSc and undergraduate students in isotope geochemistry – many of them continuing an academic career or in environmental consultancy. Over the past four years Darren has become very interested in macroalgae with respect to biofuels, agriculture and environmental studies. He learnt very quickly that the latter has received very little attention in the UK, and hence Darren aims to develop this by producing a base map of nitrogen isotopes in macroalgae around the UK in order highlight the application and to identify coastal regions polluted with nitrogen loading. Recent work in SIBL has confirmed that nitrogen isotopes in macroalgae in the UK can be used to distinguish between polluted and non-polluted regions. This Experiment project aims to expand on this preliminary research to a wider region of the UK that has a range of environments (e.g., agricultural, industrial and ?natural): the findings of this project will help Darren to publicise the usefulness of macroalgae as a biomonitoring tool and increase the awareness of the general public of the threat to our coastal environments.