Associate Professor, jointly appointed in Marine and Environmental Sciences, Chemistry and Chemical Biology & Civil and Environmental Engineering
The global cycles of carbon and plastics. Research into the cycling of natural carbon focusses upon dissolved organic carbon in natural waters from the depths of the ocean to the Tibetan plateau. I have conducted fieldwork in the open ocean, at hydrothermal vents, on glaciers, on the Amazon River, and in the Siberian Arctic. The diversity of research sites is required to develop a coherent understanding of the global cycles of elements, particularly carbon. The focus upon carbon is due its central role in determining global climate, as the building block of life, and the food that fuels natural ecosystems. Studying plastics is a natural extension of my work on the carbon cycle. Plastics are also formed predominantly from carbon. They are now also everywhere on Earth, including in the air we breathe. To understand the risk plastics pose, we need to understand where they are in the environment and what types of byproducts are formed when the degrade.