Photo of Ms Sabena Blackbird

Ms Sabena Blackbird BSc MSc MIEnvSc FRGS

School of Environmental Sciences


Marine Biogeochemistry

Marine biogeochemistry determining the origin, quality and dynamics of organic matter within the water column and surface sediments in the benthic ecosystems of submarine canyons; seamounts; shelf-seas, abyssal plains, sponge grounds and cold-water coral reefs.

• EU's Horizon 2020 programme ATLAS working with international collaborators. Our work package focussed on understanding the food sources and food delivery pathways to sponge grounds, cold-water corals and coral gardens at our three case study sites in the Atlantic (Rockall Bank, The Azores and Davis Strait)
• iATLANTIC along with project partners DFO Canada deployed landers at Sambro Bank Sponge Conservation Area on the Scotian Shelf. I processed sediment trap material for lipid biomarkers to inform ecosystem management decision-making.
• NERC's COMICS (Controls over Ocean Mesopelagic Interior Carbon Storage) programme investigated organic matter in the mesopelagic zone and the role of the biological carbon pump, exporting carbon from the ocean surface to storage in the deep ocean. Investigating mesozooplankton physiological- and trophic ecology using lipid biomarker and stable isotope signatures
• NERC's CUSTARD (Carbon Uptake and Seasonal Traits in Antarctic Remineralisation Depth) programme examining the carbon remineralisation depth at a key junction of the global ocean circulation influences how long carbon is trapped in the ocean rather than escape to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.
• NERC's SSB (Shelf Sea Biogeochemistry) programme investigating dissolved and particulate matter dynamics in the Celtic Sea
• Investigating planktonic foraminifera-bound organic carbon isotopes with Heriot-Watt University as a proxy to reconstruct environmental conditions in the upper ocean
• Investigating the effects of deep-sea mining of polymetallic nodules from the abyssal seafloor in the Clarion Clipperton Zone on sediment organic matter and subsequent impacts on benthic ecology with Leeds University.
• The effects of nanoplastics on krill development and seasonal trends in lipid profiles for copepods with BAS

Terrestrial Carbon Cycle

* Elemental Analysis of vegetation and soils to assess the impact of prescribed burning on moorland soil chemical properties and techniques to reduce soil fertility enabling ecological restoration

Petroleum Geochemistry

* Preparation and TOC Analysis of oil well drill cuttings for a leading Geochemical Consultant to the hydrocarbon industry.
Libya - Ghadamis and Sirte Basins (Sirte Oil), Murzuq Basin (POGC); Offshore Cameroon - Douala Basin (Euroil); Gabon - Gabon Coastal Basin (Tullow Oil); Kenya - Kerio Valley Basin (Tullow Oil); Falklands - South and East Falkland Basin (Falklands Oil and Gas, Borders & Southern Petroleum); Iraqi Kurdistan - Sindi-Amedi block (Perenco); Offshore Israel - Ishai License (AGR); Guatemala - Cobán Formation (Pacific Rubiales); UK North Sea – Solan Field (Premier Oil) and Shetland Mustard Prospect (Chrysaor)