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School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment


Biogeochemistry and Geochemistry

The following faculty are involved with Biogeochemistry or Geochemistry Research. Their research involves the study of the processes and reactions that govern the composition of the environment both in the present day and throughout the geologic past; the interaction and co-evolution of the biosphere and geosphere; the elemental cycles of carbon, phosphorus, nitrogen, and sulfur, and the structure and function of ecosystems.

Biogeochemistry & Geochemistry Faculty

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David Barbeau

Clastic sedimentology, tectonics and sedimentation, basin analysis, thermochronology, sediment provenance, and tectonics of the southern Andes and Antarctica.

Claudia Benitez-Nelson

Claudia Benitez-Nelson

Biogeochemical cycling and export fluxes of nutrients. Global climate change in past and present day environments. Utilization of cosmogenic and uranium series radioisotopes to study ecological processes. Development of new analytical techniques.

Ronald Benner

Ronald Benner

My research focuses on the carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous cycles in aquatic environments, from wetlands to the open ocean. Experimental approaches are used to characterize biogeochemical processes and the roles of microorganisms as key players in the production and transformation of organic matter. Geochemical approaches are used to integrate processes over space and time.

Michael Bizimis

Michael Bizimis

Radiogenic isotope (Hf, Nd, Sr, Pb, Os) and trace element geochemistry, Igneous Petrology, in their broadest sense. Geochemical evolution of the Terrestrial mantle.  Mantle plume dynamics, plume-lithosphere interaction, and the origin of Ocean Island volcanism. Water and the fate of volatiles in the mantle. Element fluxes in subduction zones. Elemental exchange between seawater and mantle lithosphere in hydrothermal systems. Hg-isotopes as a tracer of Hg cycling in the environment. Elemental fluxes in salt marshes and coastal environments.  

Susan Lang

Susan Lang

Aqueous biogeochemistry; water-rock-microbe interactions, particularly in hydrothermal and subsurface systems; stable (13C, 15N, 34S) and radiocarbon (14C) isotopes of organic molecules; serpentinization as a source of energy for microbes and the abiotic synthesis of organic molecules; past, present, and future cycling of carbon and nitrogen through the environment.

Ryan Rykaczewski

Ryan Rykaczewski

Fisheries Oceanography; Observation of long-term changes in ocean biogeochemistry and climate; Large-scale changes in oceanic and atmospheric properties of the North Pacific; Remote forcing of coastal conditions; Ocean acidification and deoxygenation; Size-structured interactions in ocean ecosystems

Howie Scher

Howie Scher

Cenozoic ocean history , Role of the ocean during abrupt climate events, Changes in seawater chemistry, Evolution of the Southern Ocean and Antarctic cryosphere, Spatial and temporal variations in the distribution of seawater trace elements and isotopes (TEI’s), Developing and calibrating proxies for paleoceanography.

Robert Thunell

Robert Thunell

Reconstructing paleoceanographic and paleoclimatic conditions using deep sea sediments; measuring the production and flux of sediments in the ocean; calibration of paleoclimate proxies.

Lori Ziolkowski

Lori Ziolkowski

Bioavailability of Arctic soils, Biogeochemistry of darkening glacier surfaces, Environmental controls of hydrocarbon degradation