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Leverhulme Trust Award

Posted on 22 December 2015

Investigating the factors controlling coral biomineralisation

Photo of coral

Dr Kirsty Penkman from the Department of Chemistry is part of a team, led by the University of St Andrews, which has been awarded a research project grant from the Leverhulme Trust.  The award will employ a postdoc for 3 years to investigate the control of coral biomineralisation.  How corals form mineral skeletons, which serve as the building blocks of coral reefs, is poorly understood. Three key factors are implicated in the control of biomineralisation, namely the dissolved inorganic carbon and magnesium chemistry of the fluid used for coral calcification and the presence of skeletal organic materials which act as templates for crystallisation. This project will resolve how each of these factors influences aragonite crystallisation and will determine how they interact to control biomineralisation.