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Name: Saskia Ryan


Contact Details

Tel: +353 (0)1 896 2675
Fax: +353 (0)1 6711199


Title of Project

Strontium Isotopes in the Irish Biosphere

Project details

Naturally occurring isotopes of strontium (Sr) exist in this environment. It is possible to characterise the 87Sr/86Sr of a particular geographic region, from the bedrock into the soil and to the immediate biosphere. My project is centred around this concept, focusing on three main aspects:

- Producing a comprehensive bedrock and biosphere map of 87Sr/86Sr signatures in Ireland. This national Sr biosphere “isoscape” will be the first of its kind for Ireland and will also build on a growing international database of Sr isotope biosphere maps.
- Assessing the marine influence on the Sr budget in coastal regions, or in areas of elevated rainfall. Depending on the environment, different sources of Sr can dominate the isotopic signature. By quantifying the contribution of Sr from the various sources, it is possible to establish the degree to which marine influences affect coastal and inland areas.
- Investigating changes to animal migration pathways due to changes in population dynamics/human impact. Using both the national and international Sr isotope databases, in conjunction with the 87Sr/86Sr value of mineralized parts of animals, will make it possible to identify a geographic source for the specimen during the specific tissue mineralization. This will permit the characterisation of long-range migrations.

These objectives will be accomplished by measuring and quantifying the 87Sr/86Sr value of underlying geology, soil, mineralised samples from animals and vegetation, allowing each of these components to be related to one another. As part of this project, collaborative research will be undertaken with the Irish Isotopes Research Group.

Name of supervisor

Dr. Quentin G. Crowley

Postgraduate personal details

I graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 2013 with a B.A. in Earth Sciences. During my undergraduate studies, I developed my interest in isotope geochemistry, particularly through my dissertation, which applied Sr isotope analysis to the examination of marine-terrestrial interactions, using both TIMS and MC-ICP-MS. My current research will expand on the preliminary work of this dissertation, towards producing a comprehensive dataset of Sr isotopes in the Irish biosphere.  

Project Start Date

September 2013


Postgraduate Research Studentship, Trinity College Dublin.

Last updated 8 October 2014