Imperial College London

Dr Susan H. Little

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Earth Science & Engineering

Honorary Research Fellow



s.little CV




Royal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus




NERC Independent Research Fellowship

Project BIO-Trace:                                                              Beyond Iron in the Ocean  –  Trace Metal Micronutrients and the Carbon Cycle

The distribution of nutrients in the ocean is controlled by a complex interplay of their inputs (such as dust), biological uptake and sinking (the biological pump), and their redistribution laterally and vertically in the ocean via the ocean circulation - the movement of packages of water, called water masses. Control of nutrient distributions by the ocean circulation has been visualized at unprecedented resolution by the chemical oceanographic data produced in the international GEOTRACES program (

The micronutrient iron has long been known to be an important limiting nutrient in high latitude (polar) surface oceans. Other trace metals, like zinc, are likely also important, but have been less well studied.

This project investigates the links between micronutrient supply to the surface ocean, the chemical form (speciation) of these micronutrients in seawater, and the community of phytoplankton present, and evaluates how these factors combine with the ocean circulation to set the global distribution of nutrients in the ocean. The result will be an improved understanding of how micronutrient limitation of the biological pump impacts whole ocean carbon cycling.

LEverhulme Research Fellowship

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Unlocking the Paleoclimate Signal of Zn and Cu in Deep Sea Corals

This project involves work on a novel set of samples: fossil cold water corals from the Southern Ocean. The skeletons of these corals record the chemistry of the seawater in which they grew, and can be accurately dated by other geochemical methods.

The aim is to use these corals to generate the first record of past seawater micronutrient concentrations over the last glacial cycle.