Martin is a Micropaleontologist, which means he studies the fossil remains of microscopic (tiny) organisms from the ocean to understand ecosystems (the parts of earth where life exists). These are called ‘forams’.
Martin became a geologist because of a fascinating and inspirational documentary he saw as a teenager about the undersea world.
To do his research for this project, Martin gets core samples from the Hikurangi Trench off the coast of Gisborne and picks over them with a fine-tooth comb (in this case a fine mesh-sieve). He picks out the forams and looks at what they tell us about the moment in time when they were buried.
By doing this, he can capture snapshots in time that tell us about climate and environmental information, like how much of a link there is between sediment layers and volcanoes and earthquakes. The pretty awesome thing about this project is how far back it’s looking (really, really far back) – up to hundreds of thousands-of-years ago.
Martin’s work is important for understanding how the oceans have changed, and what that means for the future. His research will help us understand the history of life, past global climate change, and other regional environmental and geological changes.
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