Research Interests


As an observational chemical oceanographer, I am interested in identifying and describing the physical, biological and chemical processes in the global ocean as well as in coastal regions.  My main research area includes the dynamics of bioactive trace metals (e.g., Fe), tracers (e.g., Al, Mn, REEs) and nutrients (N, P, and Si) and their role in moderating marine biogeochemical processes.  I have been involved in several global scale projects (US CLIVAR, US GEOTRACES) and have participated in many of their global scale oceanographic cruises.  In addition, I have participated in several multi-disciplinary, Antarctic Ocean Projects.  During those research cruises, I had the opportunity to collaborate with other geochemists, biologists, and physical oceanographers.

Currently our understanding of the biogeochemistry of the ocean is data-limited needing increased coverage in both space and time, as well as improved integration of existing and disparate datasets (Fassbender et al., 2018).  Recent global scale cruises that I have been a part of (CLIVAR and GEOTRACES), allow us not only to understand the 3-dimensional geochemical distributions and their cycles in the ocean but also to increase the magnitude of the datasets of geochemical parameters that can be used to improve models of the ocean and Earth system.  The results obtained have emphasized the importance of monitoring certain chemical parameters and their isotopes (e.g. Fe).  However, our ability to obtain large numbers of samples in the ocean is still limited by fairly complicated analytical protocols, that are utilized both at sea and in the lab.

During my career, I have seen the challenge of undertaking analytical activities at sea and it has become obvious to me that it is essential for our field to improve current seagoing methodology and to develop simple and autonomous determination systems.  Thus, my recent research career has been focused on the application of microfluidic methodology to shipboard determinations in the field of chemical oceanography.

Armed with my research background in chemical oceanography, my research activities are concentrated around two themes: (1) develop chemical oceanography instrumentation to reduce required sample volumes and improve their automation (2) to apply these and existing methodology to understand geochemical process and the role that bioactive trace metals and nutrients play in river, coastal and open ocean systems.