My name is Michelle Sandbrink. As a micropaleontologist at the Goethe University Frankfurt, I study microscopic, single celled calcareous algae (called Coccolithophores), which, due to their high abundance, have been amongst the most important primary producers of the oceans for about 220 million years. They play a significant role in the global carbon cycle as calcite producers. In this project, we investigate how changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration in the geological past influenced the abundance, evolution, appearance and disappearance of certain species of coccolithophores, and how these changes affected the global carbon cycle. Insights into this will be gained by studying living coccolithophores using cultures and by examining ocean sediments with state of the art polarizing- and scanning electron microscopic techniques.
More information about this project can be found on the A4-project page.