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The Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN) »lsotopic Tools as Novel Sensors of Earth Surface Resources - lsoNose« is a network of eight international and five associated partners from academia and industry. The project was coordinated at the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences by Professor Dr. Friedhelm von Blanckenburg.

The IsoNose Fellows benefited from an extensive training program, equipping them with skills in research, communicating science, and management techniques. They had the unique opportunity to experience working (i) for a variety of institutions (both in academia and industry), (ii) in different research environments and countries as well as (iii) different supervisors, (iv) cutting-edge technologies and innovative scientific questions. The interdisciplinary research projects in IsoNose aimed to answer the following key questions (1) How do novel stable isotope signatures characterize weathering processes? (2) How do novel stable isotope signatures trace water transport? (3) How to use novel stable isotope as environmental tracers? (4) How to use novel stable isotope for detecting and exploring metal ores? (5) How to improve analytical capabilities and develop robust routine applications for novel stable isotopes?

Eight work packages (WP) defined the work flow in IsoNose and were grouped in four categories (i) RESEARCH (WP1 “Making soil from rock”, WP2 “Dissolved metals in the global water cycle”, WP3 “Human Influence on Metal Cycling”, WP4 “Innovations in metal ore exploration”, WP5 “New analytical tools”), (ii) TRAINING (WP6), (iii) MANAGEMENT (WP7) and (iv) OUTREACH and DISSEMINATION (WP8).

The IsoNose Fellows considerably broadened their scientific skills and knowledge as well as their presentations, writing and management skills. Outreach activities comprised workshops for school children, the design of outreach material for the general public (posters, comic, videos, animations), and the participation in the European Researchers' Night.

The outcomes of the research in WP1 (i) can be used for paleoclimate reconstruction, (ii) help to understand the Mg cycling in weathering, ecological, cell physiological, and nutrition studies and (iii) allow to quantify the impact of different environments on mineral weathering by microorganisms.

In WP2 the combination of elemental concentrations and Li, Si, and Mg stable isotope composition in samples from small catchments and their compartments (water, soil, bedrock etc.) and large rivers were used to together with experimental studies to unravel the coupling between water transport and chemical reactions in the Critical Zone (CZ).

Research in WP3 deciphered sources of historic and recent sources of metals to the Irish atmosphere by analysing the metal geochemistry radiogenic Pb isotopes, and stable Zn isotopes of ombrotrophic peat bogs. Results of studies on the naturally depleted soil profiles from India identified the critical mineralogical and chemical transformations in soils that cause a strong depletion in Zn and indicate that Zn isotopes could serve as a new tool to identify Zn deficiency in soils.

In WP4 research into plant biogeochemistry over the Navan Zn-Pb deposit (Ireland) and the porphyry-skarn Laver Copper deposit resulted in the development of new geobotanical tools for Zn-Pb exploration in temperate European climates, whereas Cr stable isotopes were used to reconstruct the generation of laterite deposits in Turkey and Brazil.

In WP5 two techniques to obtain simultaneously isotope ratios and element concentrations from solids from a laser single ablation spot were established by laser ablation split stream with a multicollector and quadrupole ICP-MS. Furthermore a procedure for the correction for different amplifier response rates were refined and considerably improved the data processing of stable isotope geochemistry data.

The expected socio-economic impact of the ITN IsoNose will be far-reaching and diverse. Our Fellows benefited from an extensive training program, partly delivered by our industrial partners that equipped them with additional skills in research and design, communicating science, and management techniques. On one hand the integrated structure of our training programme and the expertise of its diverse partners will ensure that our Fellows have the widest possible career opportunities open to them on the European job market. On the other hand European research institutions, research based industries, engineering consultancy firms or government agencies will have access to 14 highly trained young researchers who have developed the specific skills, required in the respective working field. From the application point of view of stable metal isotopes the ITN IsoNose aimed to make novel stable isotope techniques fit for major industrial and societal applications to ensure the sustainable exploitation of water, soil, and metal resources.

Up to date information can be found on the constantly updated project website at that will be hosted at least until 2020.

Friedhelm von Blanckenburg