Our research centers upon an integral component of the global carbon cycle, dissolved organic carbon (DOC). All forms of life release DOC, sometimes on purpose, sometimes as waste. DOC lost from one organism provides sustenance to others, including microorganisms at the base of aquatic foodwebs that fuel life in our oceans. DOC cycling also redistributes carbon between land, ocean and atmosphere. Rivers carry vast amounts of DOC from land to the ocean where most of the global store of DOC resides. As the ocean DOC pool of carbon is equivalent in magnitude to the CO2 pool in the Earth’s atmosphere small shifts in the size of the oceanic DOC pool influence climate. In addition to its importance as a metabolite and carbon pool, the complexity of DOC makes it incredibly interesting to study. DOC contains thousands, if not millions or trillions, of different molecules. Each derived from a living organism and subsequently altered in the environment. The molecular messages carried within DOC allow a forensic analysis of ecosystem health today and the likely response of ecosystems to local and global change.
Postdoc: Sasha Wagner
Graduate Students: Christina Codden (PhD), Kevin Ryan (PhD), Max Liao (UGA Engineering MEng with Coastal Certificate), Nicholas Castellane (Savannah State University Marine Science MSc), Lixin Zhu (Eastern Normal University, China, Chemical Oceanography PhD), Ziming Fang (Xiamen University, China, Chemical Oceanography PhD)