Chiara Borrelli

Chiara Borrelli

  • Assistant Professor

PhD, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

209B Hutchison Hall
(585) 275-7884

Office Hours: By appointment


Research Overview

My research focuses on foraminifera, a group of single-cell eukaryotic organisms, which enables me to pursue a wide range of research topics in the fields of paleoceanography and paleoclimatology. Even if most of my research is developed between a laboratory and an analytical facility, fieldwork is an important component of my research effort.

In addition to the application of traditional tools (e.g., benthic foraminiferal carbon and oxygen isotopic ratios) to the investigation of ocean circulation changes in the geological past, I am interested in the development of novel geochemical proxies to tackle fundamental paleoceanographic and paleoclimatic questions. Currently, I am working on the development of new proxies to reconstruct: 1) methane fluxes in sedimentary environments today and in the geological past; and 2) modern and past changes in the carbon, sulfur, manganese, and iron cycles as consequence of methane release and oxidation and availability of oxygen in sediments. In order to do so, I am exploring the possibility of using: 1) “non-traditional” isotopic ratios in benthic foraminifera to study methane fluxes in marine sediments; and 2) a multi-proxy approach, involving the benthic foraminiferal carbon isotope and element/Ca ratios to investigate changes in biogeochemical cycles in sediments.

Because of my background in marine biology, I am also very interested in understanding the biomineralization processes of foraminifera. Considering that foraminifera are single-cell organisms, I find fascinating that we know so little about the physiological and genetic regulations involved in the processes used by calcareous foraminifera to build their shells.

Research Interests

  • paleoceanography; paleoclimatology; foraminifera; stable isotopes; trace elements; biomineralization

Selected Publications

  • C. Borrelli, M. E. Katz, and J. R. Toggweiler (2021), Middle to late Eocene changes of the ocean carbonate cycle, Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, 36, e2020PA004168, doi:1029/2020PA004168.
  • C. Borrelli, R. Gabitov, M. C. Liu, A. Hertwig, and G. Panieri (2020), The benthic foraminiferal d34S records intensity and timing of paleo methane fluxes, Sci. Rep., 10, 1304, doi:10.1038/s41598-020-58353-4.
  • P.-A. Dessandier, G. Panieri, C. Borrelli, H. Yao*, S. Sauer, and W.-L. Hong (2020), Foraminiferal δ18O reveals gas hydrate dissociation in Arctic Ocean sediments, Geo-Mar. Lett., doi:10.1007/s00367-019-00635-6.
  • P.-A. Dessandier, C. Borrelli, D. Kalenitchenko, and G. Panieri (2019), Benthic foraminifera in Arctic methane hydrate bearing sediments, Front. Mar. Sci., 6, 765, doi:10.3389/fmars.2019.00765.
  • C. Borrelli, G. Panieri, T. M. Dahl, and K. Neufeld (2018) Novel biomineralization strategy in calcareous foraminifera, Sci. Rep.-UK, 8(10201), doi:10.1038/s41598-018-28400-2.
  • McVeigh, A. Skarke, A. Dekas, C. Borrelli, W. Hong, J. Marlow, A. Pasulka, S. Jungbluth, R. Barco, and A. Djurhuus (2018), Characterization of benthic biogeochemistry and ecology at three methane seep sites on the northern US Atlantic margin, Deep-Sea Res. Pt. II, 150, 41-56, doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2018.03.001.
  • C. Borrelli, Y. Hou, J. W. Pawlowski, M. Holzmann, M. E. Katz, G. T. Chandler, and S. S. Bowser (2018), Assessing SSU rDNA barcodes in foraminifera: a case study using Bolivina quadrata, J. Eukaryot. Microbiol., 65, 220-235, doi:10.1111/jeu.12471.
  • S.J. Langton, N. M. Rabideaux*, C. Borrelli, and M. E. Katz (2016), Southeastern Atlantic deepwater evolution during the late middle Eocene to earliest Oligocene (ODP Site 1263 and DSDP Site 366), Geosphere, 12(3), 1032-1047, doi:10.1130/GES01268.1.
  • C. Borrelli and M. E. Katz (2015), Dynamic deep-water circulation in the northwestern Pacific during the Eocene: Evidence from Ocean Drilling Program Site 884 benthic foraminiferal stable isotopes (δ18O and δ13C), Geosphere, 11(4), 1204-1255, doi:10.1130/GESO1152.1.
  • C. Borrelli, B. S. Cramer, and M. E. Katz (2014), Bipolar Atlantic deepwater circulation in the middle-late Eocene: effects of Southern Ocean gateway openings, Paleoceanography, 29(4), 308-327, doi:10.1002/2012PA002444.
  • C. Borrelli, A. Sabbatini, G. M. Luna, M. P. Nardelli*, T. Sbaffi*, C. Morigi, R. Danovaro, and A. Negri (2011), Technical Note: Determination of the metabolically active fraction of benthic foraminifera by means of Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization (FISH), Biogeosciences, 8, 2075-2088, doi:10.5194/bg-8-2075-2011.