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William Gray

Archives et Traceurs


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I am a Research Scientist in the Paleoceanography group at LSCE. I use the chemical composition of foraminifera (small marine calcifiers) to understand past climate change. 

A complete publication list is available on Google Scholar

Follow me on twitter Blue Sky or Mastodon

A web app version of MgCaRB is available here and the R/Matlab code is available here and here

The Southern Hemisphere westerly reconstructions from Gray et al 2023 are available here and here

Please see the publications section below for links to the data/code associated with each paper (code is typically available on my GitHub page).

I run the foraminiferal trace element lab at LSCE. Please with any enquiries. 


Short Bio

I use the elemental and isotopic geochemistry of foraminifera to reconstruct climate and carbon cycling, with an emphasis on the Quaternary. Much of my research has focussed on calibrating geochemical proxies in foraminifera, as well as trying to understand their complexities and how we might account for them in the fossil record. My work also looks at how geochemical signals are incorporated during biomineralization, as well as determining the role of calcifying organisms in the alkalinity cycle. I am particularly interested in pairing proxy data and climate model output to understand climate and carbon cycle dynamics.


Publications with data/code links where available

Daeron, M & Gray, W.R. (2023) Revisiting oxygen-18 and clumped isotopes in planktic and benthic foraminifera (2023) Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology. doi: 10.1029/2023PA004660. Data/Code

Millet, B*., Gray, W.R., de Lavergne, C., Roche, D. (2023) Oxygen isotope constraints on the ventilation of the modern and glacial Pacific. Climate Dynamics. *supervised PhD student

Gray, W.R., de Lavergne, C., Jnglin Wills, R.C., Menviel, L., Spences, P., Holzer, M., Kageyama, M., Michel, E. (2023) Poleward shift in the Southern Hemisphere westerly winds synchronous with the deglacial rise in CO2. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, 38, e2023PA004666. Code: Note the wind / SST front/ northward Ekman transport reconstructions are given in the supplementary tables accompanying the online version of the manuscript. 

Nambiar R., Hauzer H., Gray W.R., W. Henehan M.J., Cotton L., Erez J., Rosenthal., Y., Renema, W., Müller W., Evans, D. (2023) Evaluating the utility of K/Ca in marine carbonates as a recorder of seawater chemistry. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 351, 125–138.

Gray, W.R., Evans, D., Henehan, M., Weldeab, S., Lea, D.W., Muller, W., Rosenthal, Y. (2023) Sodium incorporation in foraminiferal calcite: an evaluation of the Na/Ca salinity proxy and evidence for multiple Na-bearing phases. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 384, 152-164.

Ziveri, P., Gray, W.R.*, et al. (2023) Calcium carbonate production and shallow dissolution in the pelagic North Pacific Ocean, Nature communications, 14, 805. *joint first author. Data Code:

Rafter, P., Gray, W.R, Hines, S.K.V., Burke, A., Costa, K.M., Gottschalk, J., Hain, M.P., Rae, J.W.B, Southon, J.R., Walczack, M.H., Yu, J., Adkins, J.F., DeVries, T. (2022) Global reorganization of deep-sea circulation and carbon storage after the last ice age. Science Advances, 8, 46. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abq5434Data:

Peral, M. Y., Bassinot, F., Daeron, M., Blamart, D., Bonnin, J., Jorissen, F., Kissel, C., Michel, E., Waelbroeck, C., Rebaubier, H., Gray, W.R. (2022) On the combination of the planktonic foraminiferal Mg/Ca, clumped (Δ47) and conventional (δ18O) stable isotope paleothermometers in palaeoceanographic studies. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 339, 22-34.

Judd, E.J., Tierney, J.E., Huber, B.T. et al. The PhanSST global database of Phanerozoic sea surface temperature proxy data (2022) Sci Data 9, 753

Subhas, A. V., Dong, S., Naviaux, J. D., Rollins, N. E., Ziveri, P., Gray, W., et al. (2022) Shallow calcium carbonate cycling in the North Pacific Ocean. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 36, e2022GB007388. https://doi. org/10.1029/2022GB007388. Data: / / /

Weldeab, S., Rühlemann, C., Ding, Q., Khon, V., Schneider, B., Gray, W.R. (2022) Impact of Indian Ocean surface temperature gradient reversals on the Indian Summer Monsoon. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 578, 117327. Data:

Stewart, J.A., et al. (2021) NIST RM 8301 Boron Isotopes in Marine Carbonate (Simulated Coral and Foraminifera Solutions): Inter-laboratory d11B and Trace Element Ratio Value Assignment. Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research,

Gray, W. R., Wills, R. C. J., Rae, J. W. B., Burke, A., Ivanovic, R. F., Roberts, W. H. G., et al. (2020) Wind-driven evolution of the North Pacific subpolar gyre over the last deglaciation. Geophysical Research Letters 47, e2019GL086328. 10.1029/2019GL086328. Data: Code:

Rae, J.W.B., Gray, W.R., Wills, R., Eisman, I., Fitzhugh, B., Fotheringham, M., et al. (2020) Overturning circulation, nutrient limitation, and warming in the Glacial North Pacific. Science Advances 6, eabd1654. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd1654.

Evans, D., Gray, W. R., Rae, J. W. B., Greenop, R., Webb P. B., Penkman, K., Kroger, R., Allison, N (2020) Trace and major element incorporation into amorphous calcium carbonate (ACC) precipitate from seawater. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 290, 293-311,

Tierney, J.E., Malevich, S.B., Gray, W.R., Vetter, L., Thirumalai, K. (2019) Bayesian calibration of the Mg/Ca paleothermometer in planktic foraminifera. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, 10.1029/2019PA003744Data: Code:

Shao, J., Stott, L. D., Gray, W. R., Greenop, R., Pecher, I., Neil, H. L., et al. (2019). Atmosphere?ocean CO2 exchange across the last deglaciation from the Boron Isotope Proxy. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, 34. 10.1029/2018PA003498

Khider, D., Emile?Geay, J., McKay, N. P., Gil, Y., Garijo, D., Ratnakar, V., et al. (2019). PaCTS 1.0: A crowdsourced reporting standard for paleoclimate data. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, 34. https://doi. org/10.1029/2019PA003632

*Gray W.R. & Evans, D. (2019) Nonthermal influences on Mg/Ca in planktonic foraminifera: A review of culture studies and application to the last glacial maximum. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology 34. 10.1029/2018PA003517. *Invited review. Code: ***A web app version of MgCaRB is available here***

Gray W.R., Rae, J.W.B, Wills, R.C.J., Shevenell, A.E., Taylor, B., Burke, A., Foster, G.L., Lear, C.H. (2018) Deglacial upwelling, productivity and CO2 outgassing in the North Pacific Ocean. Nature Geoscience 11, 340-344. See also ‘Nature Geoscience News and Views', doi:10.1038/s41561-018-0119-3Data:

Gray, W.R., Weldeab, S., Lea, D.W., Rosenthal, Y., Gruber, N., Donner, B., Fisher, G. (2018) The effects of temperature, salinity, and the carbonate system on Mg/Ca in Globigerinoides ruber: A global sediment trap calibration. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 482, 607-620, Data:

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

Drury, A. J., Lee, G. P., Gray, W. R., Lyle, M., Westerhold, T., Shevenell, A. E., John C. M. (2018) Deciphering the state of the late Miocene to early Pliocene equatorial Pacific. Paleoceanography 33, 246-263.

Frings, P., Clymans, W., Fontorbe, G., Gray, W.R., Chakrapani, G., Conley, D., De La Rocha, C. (2015) Silicate weathering in the Ganges alluvial plain. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 427, 136-148

Gray, W.R., Holmes, J.A. and A.E. Shevenell (2014) Evaluation of foraminiferal trace element cleaning procedures on the Mg/Ca of marine ostracod genus Krithe. Chemical Geology 382, 14-23.

Frings, P., Conley, D., Struyf, E., van Pelt, D., Schoelynck, J., Murray Hudson, M., Gondwe, M., Wolski, P., Mosimane, K., De La Rocha, C., Gray, W.R., Schaller, J. (2014) Tracing silicon cycling in the Okavango Delta, a sub-tropical flood-pulse wetland. Geochimica et Cosmochmica Acta 142, 132-148.


assorted things

Mg/Ca paleothermometry

Sargasso Sea sediment trap
Mg/Ca derived SST (colours) with measured SST (grey) at the Sargasso Sea sediment trap/BATS.
The calibrations of Gray et al 2018/ Gray and Evans 2019 do a reasonable job of capturing both the absolute and seasonal variation in measured SST at this site.
The calibration of Anand et al. 2003 does not (despite the fact this is the site used in that calibration).















A web app version of MgCaRB (a tool to covert Mg/Ca to SST accounting for pH and salinity) is available here and the R/Matlab code is available here and here

The data from our 2018 global sediment trap study is available here.


Boron isotopes and the carbon cycle


Boron isotopes in foraminifera track seawater pH, giving us a powerful tool to reconstuct past CO2 concentrations and track the carbon cycle.

stack of surface ocean pH and pCO2
Stack of surface ocean pH and pCO2 from boron isotopes showing deglacial CO2 outgassing
(Shao et al,. 2019)














Using spatial patterns of δ18O to reconstruct past climate dynamics

We can use basin-scale compilations of planktic foraminiferal δ18O and climate models to look changes in atmospheric and surface ocean circulation over deglaciation. 

Tracking the latitudinal movement of the gyre boundary in the North Pacific over deglaciation using the spatial pattern of δ18O


pelagic calcifiers in the modern ocean and the alkalinity cycle

Carbonate production by pelagic calcifiers removes alkalinity from the surface ocean and exports it to the deep ocean, however estimates of how much calcium carbonate is produced, who makes it (forams/coccos/pteropods), and how much of it makes it into the deep ocean/sediments vary wildely; we are trying to figure out how much carbonate is produced by foraminifera, coccolithophores, and pterpods, how much of this CaCO3 sinks into the deep ocean and how quickly CaCO3 dissolves, and the mechanisms controlling dissolution of CaCO3 above the saturation horizon.

Pteropods produce aragonite and look cool
Pteropods produce aragonite.


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