Lorna Kearns


Email: L.Kearns [at] soton.ac.uk

Twitter: @LornaKearns_

PhD student.

Supervised by Thomas Ezard, Steve Bohaty, Sandra Nogue-Bosch and Kirsty Edgar.

Prior to starting my PhD I undertook a MRes project investigating intraspecies variation in the extant planktonic foraminifera Globigerinoides ruber. This project focused on trait based analysis using both geochemical (Mg/Ca using LA-ICP-MS) and morphological methods.

In my PhD, I will apply a similar trait-based approach to assess inter- and intraspecific variability in planktonic foraminifera during the “descent into the icehouse”. During this 10myr period the Earth experienced global cooling from the Eocene greenhouse climate which culminated in the growth of the Antarctic ice sheet at the Eocene/Oligocene boundary. This transition is accompanied in the fossil record by a 40% decline in species richness in planktic foraminifera.

By using the high temporal resolution of the fossil record I hope to:

  1. Explore within-species trait changes and its impact on community ecology;

  2. Assess the influences of abiotic and biotic forcings on within-species evolution;

  3. Investigate whether trait changes can be used as early warning signals for community collapse.