Currently visiting: Chiara Borrelli

23.11.2021

From November till December, the paleoceanographer Chiara Borrelli is visiting professor at the Department of Palaeontology. She investigates the chemical and isotopic composition of foraminifera - "one of the best historical geology books ever written" - to reconstruct changes in ocean circulation and climate through geological time.

  • What is so fascinating about your research area?

I am a paleoceanographer. For my research, I investigate the chemical and isotopic composition of tiny fossils called foraminifera to reconstruct changes in ocean circulation and climate through geological time. To this day, I still find incredibly fascinating that foraminifera represent one of the best historical geology books ever written. Although we need the right tools to translate and read such books, I am amazed by the many things that we can learn by analysing these small fossils. In addition, my research brought me to some really beautiful places, like Norway and Svalbard.

  • Which central message should your students remember?

After my course, I would like students to understand the role that oceans play in regulating Earth’s climate. I hope that my teaching will provide them an additional perspective on how the Earth system works and how science enables us to explore it. Paleoceanography is an active field of research and discovery that incorporated components of many other disciplines – it is a thrilling field of study and I hope that students will experience the same excitement I feel for the subject.

 

  • Why did you decide to do research and teach at our Faculty?

I always had a keen interest in conducting culturing experiments involving foraminifera. I am very excited to join Prof. Petra Heinz’s laboratory and collaborate with her and her team in the development and execution of experiments aimed to better understand the mineralization strategy of a particular species of foraminifera (i.e., Melonis barleeanus), widely used in paleoceanographic reconstructions. Understanding the formation of shell in calcareous foraminifera is of fundamental importance to better interpret the isotopic and chemical data collected to answer key scientific questions regarding oceanographic and climatic changes in the geological past. In addition, I am very excited about the possibility to teach a course based on my expertise (“Paleoceanography and Climate Change”) to a new cohort of students.

  • Which three publications characterise your work?

C. Borrelli, R. Gabitov, M. C. Liu, A. Hertwig, and G. Panieri (2020), The benthic foraminiferal δ3434S records intensity and timing of paleo methane fluxes, Sci. Rep., 10, 1304
C. Borrelli, G. Panieri, T. M. Dahl, and K. Neufeld (2018) Novel biomineralization strategy in calcareous foraminifera, Sci. Rep., 8, 10201
C. Borrelli, B. S. Cramer, and M. E. Katz (2014), Bipolar Atlantic deepwater circulation in the middle-late Eocene: effects of Southern Ocean gateway openings, Paleoceanography, 29(4), 308-327

Thank you & welcome to our Faculty!

 

  • Chiara Borrelli is Research Associate and Lecturer in the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences at the University of Rochester. Her research focuses on foraminifera, a group of single-cell eukaryotic organisms, which enables her to pursue a wide range of research topics in the fields of paleoceanography and paleoclimatology. In addition to the application of traditional tools (e.g., benthic foraminiferal carbon and oxygen isotopic ratios) to the investigation of ocean circulation changes in the geological past, Chiara Borrelli is interested in the development of novel geochemical proxies to tackle fundamental paleoceanographic and paleoclimatic questions.
    Because of her background in marine biology, she is also very interested in understanding the biomineralization processes of foraminifera.
  • Working group / host professor: Palaeoecosystems / Petra Heinz
  • Course in the winter term: VO + SE Paleoceanography and Climate Change (PI) (2021W)
Chiara Borrelli Foto: © Liz Albertorlo Saez
Beginning 22 November 2021, Chiara Borrelli is visiting professor at the Department of Palaeontology of the University of Vienna. © Liz Albertorlo Saez
The paleoceanographer from the University of Rochester investigates the chemical and isotopic composition of tiny fossils called foraminifera to reconstruct changes in ocean circulation and climate through geological time. © Petra Heinz
Foraminifera, explains Chiara Borrelli, "represent one of the best historical geology books ever written. Although we need the right tools to translate and read such books, I am amazed by the many things that we can learn by analysing these small fossils." Foto: © Petra Heinz
Chiara Borrelli Foto: © Chiara Borrelli
Although most of Chiara Borrelli's research is developed between a laboratory and an analytical facility, fieldwork is an important component of her research effort, too. Foto: © Chiara Borrelli