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Chemical Oceanography

chemical oceanography

Chemical oceanography encompasses the study of the chemical components of the oceans, their reactions, and their pathways of transformation. We study both organic and inorganic compounds, particulate and dissolved material, and the ocean sediments. The pathways that compounds follow affect the global cycling of elements such as carbon and nitrogen, and are often intimately related to biological activity. We undertake our research in environments such as cold seeps and saline lakes, salt marshes, and deep ocean sediments. We combine field observations, laboratory experiments, and computer models to understand factors affecting chemical compositions and how they vary in time and space.


Use of Stable isotopes to determine sources and diagenesis of organic compounds and nutrients in ecosystems. Development of high resolution X-ray spectromicroscopic techniques for examining nutrient cycling and sequestration and organic matter diagenesis.

Aspects of environmental chemistry, chemical oceanography, and atmospheric chemistry including:
(1) The transport of biologically important elements to oceans and estuaries via aerosols 
(2) The processes controlling aerosol elemental solubility and metal speciation 
(3) The fate of aerosol derived trace elements and nutrients…

Organic geochemistry and biogeochemistry:

1. Sources, transport, alterations and fate of organic compounds in aquatic and atmospheric environments;

2. Molecular characterization of riverine/estuarine/marine dissolved organic matter (DOM); 

3. Microbial- and photochemical-derived changes in DOM composition.


Reactive-Transport Modeling and Biogeochemical Cycling 
bioturbation, microbial metabolism, in silico microbial models and upscaling, nutrient dynamics and human impacts at the land-ocean interface, salt marsh carbon and groundwater dynamics, iron cycling and redox oscillations, hydrothermal vents, oil spill impacts

Research Emphasis: 

Aquatic Photochemistry: Significance to redox chemistry and reactive oxygen species, carbon cycles, trace gases, alteration of aquatic humic substances, and relations to optics and biological processes

Trace element & trace metal redox chemistry, processes controlling chemical distributions and biological…

At sea, our lab collects particles using large-volume, size-fractionated filtration (McLane pumps) and smaller-scale bottle filtrations. We also use optical instrumentation to observe particles in the ocean. Back in the lab, we measure the bulk composition of particles using multi-element mass spectrometry, often through digestion of filtered…

My research group focuses on coastal ecosystem ecology. I seek to develop an integrated understanding of ecological and biogeochemical processes in order to refine the role of estuaries and wetlands in the global carbon cycle and predict the likelihood of recovery from human disturbances. My group uses innovative geochemical tracer approaches,…

Research Emphasis:

Yager's interdisciplinary research approach includes oceanography, marine microbial ecology and biogeochemistry. Her work concentrates on the interactions between climate and marine ecosystems, and includes both fieldwork and modeling. Recent projects include investigating the effects of melting ice sheets on Arctic…

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