Dr Ria Mitchell
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Experimental Officer in X-ray Micro Computed Tomography
+44 114 222 5940
Full contact details
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
- 2006: MSci Geosciences (Royal Holloway University of London, UK)
- 2010: PhD (Dept. Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway University of London, UK): ‘Palaeoenvironmental implications of 1.1Ga palaeosols’,
- May 2020-present: Experimental Officer in X-ray CT, University of Sheffield, UK
- September 2019-May 2020: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Swansea University, UK
- April 2017-September 2019: Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Correlative Microscopy, Swansea University, UK
- May 2013-July 2016: Postdoctoral Research Assistant Co-Evolution Initiative, Dept. Earth Sciences, The Natural History Museum (London), UK
- Research interests
The evolution and interaction of ancient terrestrial life with their substrates
I am interested in the methods by which ancient terrestrial life lived on/within their substrates to promote organism-substrate interactions, weathering, soil development, and biogeochemical cycling. This is through studying rocks for physical, chemical, and biological indications of these interactions and weathering, but also from studying present day primordial landscapes as modern analogues, such as cryptogamic ground covers from Iceland and New Zealand. I employ numerous techniques to better understand these processes: tomography (e.g. 3D/4D imaging), microscopy (e.g. SEM, OM, FIB-SEM), chemistry (e.g. ICP-AES, XRD, SEM-EDS), and combinations of the above through correlative microscopy. It is important to understand these processes, particularly at various scales, to understand how primordial biospheres contributed to shifts in biogeochemical cycling (and ultimately Earth-wide climate) millions of years ago, and could help inform how even the smallest processes through organism-substrate interactions can have a profound effect on the Earth System. Specific time periods of interest include the evolution of the first terrestrial plants and biologically-mediated soils in the Early Palaeozoic, and the initial colonisation of land surfaces by microbial crusts in the Proterozoic. I am also interested in palaeobotany and palaeosols (fossil soils).
Bioinspiration and Biomimicry
I am interested in studying the naturally occurring biological structures found in diverse organisms (e.g. biomineralised components such as shells in molluscs, gastropods, and arthropods) through a multi-scale, multi-modal, and multi-dimensional correlative microscopy approach. The structures found within nature can be used towards developing novel human-made materials.
Applying Correlative Microscopy (specifically tomography) to wide-ranging applications
I have broad interests in applying correlative microscopy and tomography to varied applications including materials science, mechanical engineering, biology, botany, Earth science, palaeontology, and ecology.
- Correlating Local Volumetric Tissue Strains with Global Lung Mechanics Measurements. Materials, 14(2), 439-439.
- Macro-to-nanoscale investigation of wall-plate joints in the acorn barnacle Semibalanus balanoides : correlative imaging, biological form and function, and bioinspiration. Journal of The Royal Society Interface, 16(157). View this article in WRRO
- Correlating Microstructure to in situ Micromechanical Behaviour and Toughening Strategies in Biological Materials. Microscopy and Microanalysis, 25(S2), 372-373.
- What lies beneath: 3D vs 2D correlative imaging challenges and how to overcome them. Microscopy and Microanalysis, 25(S2), 416-417. View this article in WRRO
- Biologically mediated weathering in modern cryptogamic ground covers and the early Paleozoic fossil record. Journal of the Geological Society, 176(3), 430-439. View this article in WRRO
- Eurya stigmosa (Theaceae), a new and extinct record for the Calabrian stage of Madeira Island (Portugal): 40Ar/39Ar dating, palaeoecological and oceanic island palaeobiogeographical implications. Quaternary Science Reviews, 206, 129-140.
- An Assessment of Polarized Light Microscopy for the Quantification of Grain Size and Orientation in Titanium Alloys via Microanalytical Correlative Light to Electron Microscopy (CLEM). Microscopy and Microanalysis, 24(S1), 400-401.
- Mineral weathering and soil development in the earliest land plant ecosystems. Geology, 44(12), 1007-1010.
- Sedimentary provenance and weathering processes in the 1.1 Ga Midcontinental Rift of the Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan, USA. Precambrian Research, 275, 225-240.
- The ∼1100Ma Sturgeon Falls paleosol revisited: Implications for Mesoproterozoic weathering environments and atmospheric CO2 levels. Precambrian Research, 183(4), 738-748.
- Weathering and paleosol formation in the 1.1Ga Keweenawan Rift. Precambrian Research, 168(3-4), 271-283.
- Cryptogamic ground covers as analogues for early terrestrial biospheres: Initiation and evolution of biologically mediated proto‐soils. Geobiology.
- Macro-to-nano scale investigation of wall-plate joints in the acorn barnacle Semibalanus balanoides: correlative imaging, biological form and function, and bioinspiration.
Conference proceedings papers
- Correlative imaging and bio-inspiration : multi-scale and multi-modal investigations of the Acorn Barnacle (Semibalanus balanoides). Microscopy and Microanalysis, Vol. 24(S1) (pp 376-377). Baltimore, MD, USA, 5 August 2018 - 9 August 2018. View this article in WRRO
- TERRESTRIAL GEOBIOLOGY AND BIOSPHERE-ATMOSPHERE INTERACTIONS IN THE LATE MESOPROTEROZOIC. GSA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - 2018
- LEAVING THEIR MARK: BIOLOGICALLY-INDUCED MINERAL WEATHERING AND SOIL DEVELOPMENT IN ANCIENT LAND-PLANT ECOSYSTEMS. GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016
- Eocene-Oligocene transition paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental record from the Isle of Wight (UK)