The 2009 Rosenstiel Award Selection Committee announced the awarding of the 36th Rosenstiel Award to Dr. Rosalind E.M. Rickaby, Lecturer in Biogeochemistry at the University of Oxford, Department of Earth Sciences and Tutorial Fellow of Wolfson College.
In her research, Rickaby is addressing questions from crystallography and inorganic chemistry, through plankton physiology, glacial-interglacial changes in global biogeochemical cycling, and back through the Cenozoic and beyond.
Rickaby’s innovative approach to the measuring changes in atmospheric pCO2 levels during the Cenozoic suggests that direct climate signals of the past are harbored within, and can ultimately be deciphered from, the genetic make-up of existing organisms like marine algae. Her proposed studies are helping to gather extensive and necessary information on the history of pCO2, while also yielding additional insight into the feedback between phytoplankton and climate, the carbon isotopic signatures of the geological record and the mechanistic link between the amino acid sequence and specificity of RUBISCO (an important enzyme in the transfer of inorganic carbon into the biosphere) with a view to enhanced crop photosynthetic efficiency.
She has also devised an ingenious solution to examine the oxygen isotopic composition of the water in certain hydrated carbonate minerals, such as Ikaite. With this technique scientists will be able to ascertain precise changes in the oxygen isotopic composition of seawater in areas where Ikaite forms, which are critical to understanding the magnitude of temperature changes during the last glacial periods.
Rickaby received her M.A. in Natural Sciences from Magdalene College, University of Cambridge in 1995, and her Ph.D. from the University’s Department of Earth Sciences in 1999. She spent two years as a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University.
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