Dr. Laura M. Otter is a geochemist by training. She received her Bachelor (2012) and Master of Science (2015) from the University of Mainz, Germany. Laura gained hands-on research experience, in her time as a research assistant at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany, where she investigated the formation of manganiferous rock varnish, an important paleoclimate proxy archive in desert regions.
In 2016, she moved to Australia to resume her interest in the biomineralization of marine mollusks and the gemmology of cultured pearls via a PhD at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. In her PhD, Laura developed a new approach to high-resolution pulse-chase label living bivalves in aquaculture experiments that provided unprecedented new insights into the growth processes of bivalve shells. Her PhD project was recognized by the German Mineralogical Society via a Beate Mocek Award in 2019.
Laura is currently employed with the Australian National University’s Research School of Earth Sciences as a postdoctoral fellow. Today, Laura’s research focusses on aspects of biogeochemistry and biomineralization. She uses an interdisciplinary approach merging aspects of marine aquaculture, structural biology, material sciences, and gemmology and applies a range of micro to atomic-scale analytical techniques. Currently, Laura is researching the biomineralization processes and growth dynamics of bivalve shells and the properties of cultured pearls across all length-scales and how they are affected by ocean acidification and global warming.