Nishant Chauhan

Many marine organisms, such as foraminifers, coccolithophores, and corals, biologically precipitate calcium carbonate mineral structures through a process known as biomineralisation. This process is essential to the global carbon cycle, as it alters the alkalinity and carbonate chemistry of surrounding water. Conversely, changes in seawater chemistry can affect biomineralisation, which is reflected in the chemical composition of the biominerals. Anthropogenic changes to the environment, such as global warming and ocean acidification, directly impact biomineralisation by altering calcium carbonate saturation states and precipitation rates, and indirectly by affecting biological processes.

As a PDRA within the “Building Shells: Towards a Mechanistic Understanding of Biomineralisation” project, I employ physiological measurements of growth, calcification, metabolic rate, and photosynthesis, alongside gene expression analysis, to understand the impact of environmental changes on biomineralisation. My primary goal is to elucidate the mechanisms of ion transport to better comprehend the “bio” in biomineralisation. To achieve this, I culture coccolithophores, corals, and foraminifers in conditions beyond what they experience in their natural environment to stimulate their physiological and ion transport mechanisms during calcification. This research not only aims to constrain the biological aspects of biomineralisation but also contribute to understanding the causes of changes in the chemical composition of biominerals, ultimately establishing the mechanisms of biomineralisation.

When I’m not in the lab frying organisms in liquid nitrogen, you can find me exercising, motorcycling, scuba diving, or playing musical instruments.