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Helen Talbot
Experimental officer



Helen is the mass spectrometry instrument technician in BioArCh. She holds a Bachelor's in Environmental Chemistry from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD in Organic Geochemistry from the University of Bristol where she worked with Prof. James Maxwell (FRS) on phytoplankton pigment geochemistry.

Helen came to York in 2017 to take up the post of Experimental Officer working with Oliver Craig and specializing in GC-MS of lipid residues in archaeological materials and GC-c-IRMS analysis of lipids and amino acids.

Prior to taking up the post at York, Helen worked at Newcastle University as a Post Doc, Experimental Officer in Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry and Reader in Organic Geochemistry where she specialised in the analysis and application of bacterial hopanoids in geochemical studies. A selection of her publications are shown below.

Departmental roles

Helen’s main role is in the maintenance and running of the GC-FID, GC-MS and GC-c-IRMS instruments in BioArCh Old as well as method development for amino acid compound specific isotope analysis. She is working withDr Oliver Craig and Dr Michelle Alexander and other researchers and students in BioArCh on a number of research projects covering archaeological material from a diverse range of settings and time periods.


Selected publications

Bischoff, J., Sparkes, R.B, Do─črul Selver, A., Spencer, R.G.M., Gustafson, Ö., Semiletov, I.P., Dudarev, O.V., Wagner, D., Rivkina, E., van Dongen, B.E., Talbot, H.M., 2016. Source, transport and fate of soil organic matter inferred from microbial biomarker lipids in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. Biogeosciences doi:10.5194/bg-13-4899-2016.

Cooke, M.P., Talbot, H.M., Farrimond, P., 2008. Bacterial populations recorded in bacteriohopanepolyol distributions in soils from Northern England. Organic Geochemistry 39, 1347-1350.

Coolen M.J.L, Talbot H.M., Abbas, B.A., Ward, C., Schouten, Volkman, J.K., Sinninghe Damsté, J.S., 2008. Sources for sedimentary bacteriohopanepolyols as revealed by 16S rDNA stratigraphy. Environmental Microbiology 10, 1783-1803.

Osborne, K.A., Gray, N.D, Sherry, A., Leary, P., Mejeha, O., Bischoff, J., Rush, D., Sidgwick, F., Birgel, D., Kalyuzhnaya, M.G., Talbot, H.M., 2017.Methanotroph-derived bacteriohopanepolyol signaturesas a function of temperature related growth, survival, cell death and preservation in the geological record. Environmental Microbiology Reports 9, 492-500.

Rush, D., Sinninghe Damsté, J.S., Poulton, S.W., Thamdrup, B., Garside, A.L., Acuña González, J., Schouten, S., Jetten, M.S.M., Talbot, H.M., 2014. Anaerobic ammonium-oxidising bacteria: the only known biological source of the bacteriohopanetetrol stereoisomer in marine sediments. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 140, 50-64.

Schefuß, E., Eglinton, T.I., Spencer-Jones, C.L., Rullkötter, J., De Pol Holz, R., Talbot, H.M., Grootes, P.M., Schneider, R.R., 2016. Hydrologic control of the terrestrial carbon balance in the Congo River basin. Nature Geoscience 9, 687-690.

Sherry, A., Osborne, K.A., Sidgwick, F., Gray, N.D., Talbot, H.M., 2016. A temperate river estuary is a sink for methanotrophs adapted to extremes of pH, temperature and salinity. Environmental Microbiology Reports 8, 122-131.

Talbot, H.M., Head, R.N., Harris, R.P., Maxwell, J.R., 1999. Distribution and stability of steryl chlorin esters in copepod faecal pellets from diatom grazing. Organic Geochemistry 30, 1163-1174.

Talbot, H.M., Watson, D.F., Murrell, J.C., Carter, J.F., Farrimond, P., 2001. Analysis of intact bacteriohopanepolyols from methanotrophic bacteria by reversed phase high performance liquid chromatography - atmospheric pressure chemical ionisation - mass spectrometry. Journal of Chromatography A 921, 175-185.

Talbot, H.M., Squier, A.H., Keely, B.J., Farrimond, P., 2003a. Atmospheric pressure chemical ionisation reversed-phase liquid chromatography/ion trap mass spectrometry of intact bacteriohopanepolyols. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 17, 728-737.

Talbot, H.M., Watson, D.F., Pearson, E.J., Farrimond, P., 2003b. Diverse hopanoid compositions in non-marine sediments. Organic Geochemistry 34, 1353-1371.

Talbot, H.M., Summons, R.E., Jahnke, L.L., Cockell, C.S., Rohmer, M., Farrimond, P., 2008. Cyanobacterial bacteriohopanepolyol signatures from cultures and natural environmental settings. Organic Geochemistry 39, 232-263.

Talbot, H.M., Handley, L., Spencer-Jones, C.L., Dinga, B.J., Schefuß E., Mann, P.J., Poulsen, J.R., Spencer, R.G.M., Wabakanghanzi, J.N., Wagner, T., 2014. Variability in aerobic methane oxidation over the past 1.2 Myrs recorded in microbial biomarker signatures from Congo fan sediments. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 133, 387-401.

Talbot, H.M., Sidgwick, F., Bischoff, J., Osborne, K.A., Rush, D., Sherry, A., Spencer-Jones, C.L. 2016. Analysis of non-derivatised bacteriohopanepolyols by ultrahigh performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Rapid Communications in Mass spectrometry 30, 2087-2098.

Zhu, C., Talbot, H.M., Wagner, T., Pan, J.-M., Pancost, R.D., 2011. Distribution of hopanoids along a land to sea transect: implications for microbial ecology and the use of hopanoids in environmental studies. Limnology and Oceanography 56, 1850-1865.

Contact details

Dr Helen Talbot
Experimental Officer
University of York
BioArCh, Environment building
Wentworth Way
YO10 5NG

Tel: (44) 1904 328282