My group studies the role of the ocean in regulating atmospherically important trace gases. A variety of trace gases including halocarbons (e.g. methyl halides, trihalomethanes), nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and methane are both produced and degraded in the ocean. The distribution and strength of the various oceanic sources and sinks impacts the exchange of these gases between the ocean and atmosphere. Through ship-board measurements, laboratory studies and modeling, my research group examines the role/magnitude of oceanic influence on trace gases that are important in the atmosphere as stratospheric ozone depletors or greenhouse gases.
We also study the impact of organic matter remineralization on dissolved inorganic carbon and pH. This relates to my trace gas research in that the oxidation of organic matter increases CO2, and to characterize the dissolved CO2 also requires understanding the dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). In addition to measuring CO2 in the air and seawater, we also measure the DIC and total alkalinity (TA). This has allowed my research group to begin characterizing the DIC/pH system in the deep Gulf of Mexico. I have also been working with biologists on laboratory studies looking at the impacts of ocean acidification on various organisms and processes (e.g. toxin production).