I have wide ranging research interests in paleoclimate, oceanography, and geochemistry. These include CO2 and climate change during the ice ages, the long-term chemical evolution of Earth's oceans and atmosphere, geochemical proxy development, and ocean acidification, past and present.

Please get in touch if you're interested in working together and check the opportunities page for more info.

You can also see what I've been up to in my CV, in the project pages and publication list below or on Google Scholar.

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Codes, data, and figure examples associated with my 2018 review on boron isotopes in foraminifera are available here.


I am a PI in the St Andrews Isotope Geochemistry (STAiG) laboratry, which houses a world-class array of analytical geochemical equipment. We measure the abundance and isotopic composition of elements across the periodic table, in trace levels and at high precision. Facilities include MC-ICPMS and QQQ-ICPMS with solution, laser ablation, and GC introduction, supported by a suite of clean chemistry labs; the department also houses a suite of IRMS and XRF instruments. Particular specialties in my group include boron isotope, sulphur isotope, and trace element analyses, with the other lab PIs adding further expertise across the periodic table. We are open to academic and commercial collaborations - please get in touch by email with any questions.

For insights into speedy lab set-up click here. You can also check out the talks given at our opening party.

Current Projects

Reconstructing the long-term history of the CO2 system funded by the ERC. This project takes some exciting new approaches to reconstruct seawater chemistry with the major aim of improving CO2 records. Find out more here...

Can the North Pacific form deep water? What would this do to biological productivity and CO2? This NERC-funded project tests the hypotheses in our 2014 paper with new boron and 14C data and modelling. Find out more here...

The Southern Ocean is thought to play a key role in glacial CO2 change, but few records from this critical region exist. This NERC-funded work addresses this using high resolution archives, including deep sea corals. Find out more here...

Geochemistry of Methane-derived authigenic carbonates

Working with partners at the Norwegian Geological Survey we are using new geochemical methods to better understand deep sea methane seep environments

The North Atlantic's overturning circulation drove rapid climate change events during the last ice age. This NERC-funded project uses radiocarbon and other tracers to better understand the climate and chronology of this powerhouse of climate variability. Find out more here...

and many more...

Including mass extinctions, coral bleaching, glacial cycles, MC-ICPMS methods, carbonate dissolution, ACC precipitates, boron-constraints on biomineralisation, coupling between the carbon and sulphur cycles, Plio-Pleistocene CO2, improved proxy calibrations, LA-MC-ICPMS, global foraminiferal assemblages, microanalysis in corals, GC-MC-ICPMS, the history of explosive volcanism...



· Rae, J.W.B., Zhang, Y., Foster, G.L., Stoll, H.. CO2 reconstructions from marine archives, Annual Reviews of Earth and Planetary Sciences accepted

· Chen, S., Littley, E.F., Rae, J.W.B., Charles, C.D. and Adkins, J.F., 2021. Uranium Distribution and Incorporation Mechanism in Deep-sea Corals: Implications for Seawater [CO32-] Proxies. Frontiers in Earth Science, 9, p.159.

· Hong, W.L., Pape, T., Schmidt, C., Yao, H., Wallmann, K., Plaza-Faverola, A., Rae, J.W.B., Lepland, A., Bünz, S. and Bohrmann, G., 2021. Interactions between deep formation fluid and gas hydrate dynamics inferred from pore fluid geochemistry at active pockmarks of the Vestnesa Ridge, west Svalbard margin. Marine and Petroleum Geology, p.104957.


· Rae, J.W.B., Wills, R., Eisenman, I., Gray, W.R., Schneider, T., Taylor, B.J.T., Glacial nutrient limitation and warming of the North Pacific by enhanced PMOC, Science Advances accepted

· Alexander C. Gagnon, Anne M. Gothmann, Oscar Branson, James W. B. Rae, and Joseph A. Stewart. The cost of resilience to ocean acidification revealed by boron isotope constraints on coral biomineralisation, EPSL accepted

· Tao Li, Laura F. Robinson, Tianyu Chen, Xingchen T. Wang, Andrea Burke, James W.B. Rae, Albertine Pegrum-Haram, Timothy D.J. Knowles, Gaojun Li, Hong Chin Ng, Maria Prokopenko, George Rowland, Ana Samperiz, Joseph A. Stewart, John Southon, Peter T. Spooner, 2020. High-resolution constraints on circulation and productivity of the Southern Ocean during rapid deglacial carbon cycle events, Science Advances 6 (42)

· Tianyu Chen, Laura F. Robinson, Andrea Burke, Louis Claxton, Mathis Hain, Tao Li, James W.B. Rae, Timothy D.J. Knowles, Daniel J. Fornari, Karen S. Harpp, 2020. Persistence of Modern-like Ventilation of Equatorial Intermediate Ocean During the Last Deglaciation, Nature Geoscience 13, 733-738

· Joseph A. Stewart, Russell D. Day, Steven J. Christopher, John R. Kucklick, Louise Bordier, Thomas B. Chalk, Eric Douville, Gavin L. Foster, William R. Gray, Rosanna Greenop, Marcus Gutjahr, Freya Hemsing, Michael J. Henehan, Philip Holdship, Yu-Te Hsieh, Ana Kolevica, Yen-Po Lin, Elaine M. Mawbey, James W. B. Rae, Laura F. Robinson, Rachael Shuttleworth, Chen-Feng You, Shuang Zhang, 2020. New Carbonate Reference Materials for Boron Isotope and Trace Element Geochemistry: NIST 8301 Inter-laboratory Comparison Exercise, Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research in press

· Gutjahr, M., Bordier, L., Douville, E., Farmer, J., Foster, G.L., Hathorne, E.C., Hönisch, B., Lemarchand, D., Louvat, P., McCulloch, M., Noireaux, J., N Pallavicini, J.W.B. Rae I. Rodushkin, P Roux, J.A. Stewart, F Thil, C‐F You, 2020. Sub‐Permil Interlaboratory Consistency for Solution‐Based Boron Isotope Analyses on Marine Carbonates. Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research in press.

· David Evans, William R. Gray, James B. Rae, Rosanna Greenop, Paul B. Webb, Kirsty Penkman, Roland Kröger, & Nicola Allison, 2020. Trace element incorporation into amorphous calcium carbonate (ACC) precipitated from seawater and implications for biomineralization processes inferred from skeletal chemical data, GCA in press

· Jessica Crumpton-Banks & James W.B. Rae, 2020. Boron isotopes provide insights into biomineralization, seawater pH, and ancient atmospheric CO2. Oceanography, 33 (2), 42-43.

· Joseph A. Stewart, Laura F. Robinson, Russell D. Day, Ivo Strawson, Ana Samperiz, Rachael Bratt, Andrea Burke, James W. B. Rae, Helena Pryer, Peter J. Etnoyer, Leslie N. Wickes, Branwen Williams, Adina Paytan, Melanie J. Leng, Vreni Häussermann, 2020. Refining trace metal temperature proxies in cold-water scleractinian and stylasterid corals, EPSL 545, 116412

· Richard E. Zeebe and James W. B. Rae, 2020. Equilibria, kinetics, and boron isotope partitioning in the aqueous boric acid – hydrofluoric acid system, Chemical Geology 119696

· William R Gray, Robert CJ Wills, James WB Rae, Andrea Burke,Ruza F Ivanovic, William HG Roberts, David Ferreira, Paul J Valdes. Expansion and strengthening of the North Pacific subpolar gyre during the last glacial maximum, accepted GRL


· Jun Shao, Lowell D. Stott, William R. Gray, James W.B. Rae, Rosanna Greenop, Ingo Pecher, Helen L. Neil, Richard B. Coffin, Bryan Davy, Atmosphere-Ocean CO2Exchange Across the Last Deglaciation from the Boron Isotope Proxy, 2019, Paleoceanography and Paleoclimate,

· Michael J. Henehan, Andy Ridgwell, Ellen Thomas, Shuang Zhang, Laia Alegret, Daniela N. Schmidt, James W. B. Rae, James D. Witts, Neil H. Landman, Sarah Greene, Brian T. Huber, James Super, Noah J. Planavsky and Pincelli M. Hull. Flash acidification and pH rebound following the Cretaceous-Palaeogene impact, 2019, PNAS, 201905989,

· Wei-Li Hong, Aivo Lepland, Tobias Himmler, Jochen Knies, Ji-Hoon Kim, Shyam Chand, Diana Sahy, Evan A. Solomon, James W. B. Rae, Seung-Il Nam, Offshore meteoric water discharge in the eastern Nordic Sea since the last glacial period, 2019, GRL, 10.1029/2019GL084237.


· Rae, J.W.B.,Burke, A., Adkins, J.F., Greenop, R., Chen, T., Cole, C., Littley, E.F.M., Nita, D.C., Robinson, L.F. CO2storage and release in the deep Southern Ocean on millennial to centennial timescales, 2018, Nature, 562, 569-573,

· Allison, N., Cole, C., Hintz, C., Hintz, K., Rae, J.W.B., Finch, A.. Ocean acidification and coral calcification: insights from calcification fluid DIC chemistry,2018,Chemical Geology, 497, 162-169,

· Rae, J.W.B.& Broecker, W., What fraction of the Pacific and Indian Ocean’s deep water is formed in the North Atlantic? 2018, Biogeosciences, Maier-Reimer volume, 15, 3779-3794. DOI: 10.5194/bg-15-3779-2018

· Taylor, B., Rae, J.W.B.,Gray, W.R., Darling, K. Abelmann, A., Gersonde, R., Maier, E. Distribution and ecology of planktic foraminifera in the North Pacific: Implications for paleo-reconstructions, 2018, Quaternary Science Reviews, 191, 256-274,

· Gray, W.R.,Rae, J.W.B., Shevenall, A.E., Foster, G.L., Lear, C.H., Release of CO2from the subarctic Pacific Ocean over the last deglaciation, 2018 Nature Geoscience, 11, 340-344,


· Rae, J.W.B., 2017. Boron isotopes in foraminifera: systematics, biomineralisation, and CO2system reconstruction. Advances in Isotope Geochemistry: Boron Isotopes – The Fifth Element, Springer.

· Haynes, L., Hönisch, B., Dyez, K., Holland, K., Rosenthal, Y., Fish, C., Subhas, A., Rae, J.W.B., 2017. Calibration of the B/Ca proxy in the planktic foraminifer Orbulina universa to Paleocene seawater conditions, Paleoceanography, 32 (6),


· Foster, G.L. & Rae, J.W.B., 2016. Reconstructing ocean pH with boron isotopes in foraminifera. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 44 (207-237), 10.1146/annurev-earth-060115-012226

· Schmidt, D., Caromel, A., Seki, O., Rae, J.W.B., Renaud, S, 2016. Ecological and evolutionary response of marine plankton to habitat formation and destruction in the marine environment, Marine Micropaleontology,128 (28-38),

· Henehan, M.J., Hull, P.M., Penman, D.E., Rae, J.W.B., Schmidt, D.N., 2016. Cretaceous-Palaeogene Insights into the Resilience of the Carbon Cycle, Philosophical Transactions B, 371, 20150510,


· O’Brien, C.L., Foster, G.L., Rae, J.W.B., Pancost, R.D.. Reply to “Pliocene warmth and gradients”, Nature Geoscience, 8, (420) doi:10.1038/ngeo2445.

· Henehan, M.J., Foster, G.L., Rae, J.W.B., Marshall, B.J., Prentice, K.C., Erez, J., Bostock, H.C., Wilson, P.A. Assessing the applicability of B/Ca ratios in G. ruber as a proxy for the carbonate system, G3,16(4), (1052-1069), doi:10.1002/2014GC005514

· Martínez-Botí, M.Á., Marino, G., Rae, J.W.B., Henehan, M., Vance, Ziveri, P., Mortyn, G., Foster, G.L. Boron isotope evidence for CO2leakage during the last deglaciation, Nature, 518, (219-222), doi:10.1038/nature14155


· Rae, J.W.B., Foster, G.L., Ridgwell, A., Elliott, T., Grootes, P., Sarnthein, M.. Deepwater formation in the North Pacific and deglacial CO2rise, Paleoceanography, 29-6, (645-667), doi: 10.1002/2013PA002570.

· O’Brien, C.L., Foster, G.L., Martínez-Botí, M.Á., Abell, R., Rae, J.W.B., Pancost, R.D.. High sea surface temperatures in tropical warm pools during the Pliocene, Nature Geoscience. 7-8, (606-611), doi:10.1038/ngeo2194


· Foster G.L. Hönisch, B., Paris, G., Dwyer, G., Rae, J.W.B.,Elliott, T., Gaillardet, J., Hemming, G., Louvat, P., Vengosh, A., 2013. Interlaboratory comparison of boron isotope analyses of boric acid, seawater and marine CaCO3by MC-ICPMS and NTIMS, Chemical Geology, 358, (1-14),

· Yu, J., Anderson R.F., Jin, Z., Rae, J.W.B., Opdyke, B.N., Eggins, S., 2013. Responses of the deep ocean carbonate system to carbon reorganization during the last glacial-interglacial cycle, Quaternary Science Reviews,76, (39-52),

· Gutjahr, M., Vance, D., Hoffmann, D.L., Hillenbrand, C-D., Foster, G.L., Rae, J.W.B., Kuhn, G., 2013. Structural limitations in deriving accurate U-series ages from calcitic cold-water corals contrasts with robust coral radiocarbon and Mg/Ca systematics, Chemical Geology, 355, (69-87),

· Yu, J., Thornalley, D.J.R. Rae, J.W.B., McCave, 2013. Calibration and application of B/Ca, Cd/Ca and d11B in Neogloboquadrina pachyderma (sinistral) to constrain CO2uptake in the subpolar North Atlantic during the last deglaciation. Paleoceanography,28, (237-252),doi: 10.1002/palo.20024.

· Henehan, M.J., Rae, J.W.B., Foster, G.L., Erez, J., Prentice, K., Kucera, M., Bostock, H.C., Martinez-Boti, M.A., Milton, J.A., Wilson, P.A., Marshall, B., Elliott, T., 2013. Calibration of the Boron Isotope Proxy in the Planktic Foraminiferan Golbigerinoides ruber(d’Orbigny) for use in palaeo-CO2reconstruction. EPSL, 364, (111-122),


· Rae, J.W.B., Langdon, C., Ridgwell, A., Zeebe, R., Schmidt, D. How is today’s change in ocean chemistry different from those in the past? Ocean Acidification FAQs, Ocean Acidification Subcommittee of the Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry Program, USA, and UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme, 2012.

· Foster, G.L., Lear, C.H., Rae, J.W.B., 2012. The Evolution of pCO2, ice volume and climate during the Middle Miocene, EPSL, 341-344, (243-254), .doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2012.06.007.

Featured as Science Editor’s Choice, 2012, 337 (6095).


· Rae, J.W.B., Foster, G.L., Schmidt, D.N., Elliott, T., 2011. Boron isotopes and B/Ca ratios in benthic foraminifera: proxies for the deep ocean carbonate system. EPSL, 302, (404-413), doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2010.12.034.

· Van Heuven, S., Pierrot, D., Rae, J.W.B., Lewis, E., Wallace, D.W.R., 2011. CO2SYS v 1.1, MATLAB program developed for CO2system calculations. ORNL/CDIAC-105b. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. DoE, Oak Ridge, TN. Doi:10.3334/CDIAC/otg.CO2SYS_MATLAB_v1.1.


· Foster, G.L., Pogge von Standemann, P.A.E., Rae, J.W.B., 2010. Boron and magnesium isotopic composition of seawater. Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 11, Q08015, doi:10.1029/2010GC003201.