Ocean Ecology and Biogeochemistry is the study of the ocean's biological, chemical, and geological processes, and their interplay Most broadly, Ocean Ecology and Biogeochemistry is concerned with the structure and function of ecosystems across space and time, including feedbacks between land, atmosphere and ocean. Research backgrounds of our faculty include paleo-reconstruction, population and community ecology, biogeochemical cycling, atmospheric sciences, optics, acoustics, remote sensing, hydrology, deep-biosphere, and climate science. This diversity provides opportunities to break down traditional disciplinary boundaries and explore new lines of research, and to provide students with basic core knowledge of the traditional disciplines while encouraging them to work more closely at disciplinary interfaces in an earth system science context.
Kim Bernard Rene Boiteau Ed Brook Lorenzo Ciannelli Frederick Colwell Louise Copeman Byron Crump Jennifer Fehrenbacher Miguel Goni Roy Haggerty Burke Hales Brian Haley Lauren Juranek Maria Kavanaugh Ricardo Letelier Roberta Marinelli Jennifer McKay David Mellinger Alan Mix Clare Reimers Andreas Schmittner Alyssa Shiel Yvette Spitz Andrew Thurber Marta Torres Nick Tufillaro George Waldbusser James Watson Rob Wheatcroft Angelicque White
Harold Batchelder Kelly Benoit-Bird Hongsheng Bi Richard Brodeur Curtiss Davis Janet Duffy-Anderson Mary Hunsicker Min Luo John Lupton Jim McManus Sarah Paradis Vilar Julie Pett-Ridge Glenn Spinelli Christoph Thomas R. Burton Thomas Andy Ungerer Don Walsh
Andrew Carey Robert Collier Timothy Cowles Martin Fisk Louis Gordon Gary Klinkhammer Charles Miller David Nelson William Pearcy Fredrick Prahl Barry Sherr Evelyn Sherr Bernd Simoneit Lawrence Small Richard Vong Patricia Wheeler
Yvan Alleau Russ Desiderio Kristen Fogaren Dale Hubbard Joe Jennings Cheng Li Jesse Muratli Jasmine Nahorniak June Padman Jerome Payet Stuart Pearce Andrew Ross Kylie Welch Christopher Wingard Marnie Jo Zirbel
Cameron Allen Peter Chace Adrienne Chan Natasha Christman Haley Cynar Jianghui Du William Fairchild Theresa Fritz-Endres Jessamyn Johnson Carolyn Kachuk Giancarlo Helar Moron Correa Erin Peck Katelyn Qualls Sarah Seabrook Kirsten Steinke Zachary Wallace Sophia Wensman Jennifer Wong-Ala
The Ocean Ecology and Biogeochemistry faculty employs diverse research tools to address challenging ecological and biogeochemical questions including field campaigns, laboratory experiments, remote sensing and numerical modeling. The research themes noted below loosely capture the general current research of the group, but is not comprehensive. Infrastructure and equipment within the college are state of the art and available to support graduate student research.
A number of faculty in the OEB group investigate the sources, sinks and transformations of key elemental constituents of marine and freshwater including (but not limited to) carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, silica, sulfur, iron, and molybdenum. The study of elemental cycling and their isotopes informs our understanding of the regulation of biological productivity, dynamics of Earth's climate and chemical history, and allows us to unravel the geological record as well as integrate food web dynamics with prevailing biogeochemistry.
Closely linked with the study of elemental dynamics is the study of ocean food webs. OEB researchers investigate ocean biota from the scale of organisms to ecosystems. Tools range from microscopic and biochemical analysis to global scale remote sensing and modeling. This work spans investigations of bacteria, phytoplankton, zooplankton ecology; egg, larval and juvenile survival in marine organisms; success of commercial fish species; population and community ecology, the role of the physical environment in determining the distribution, abundance, and behavior of phytoplankton, zooplankton and higher organisms; adaptations of organisms to their environment; trophodynamics and energy flow; and model descriptions of population dynamics of marine organisms. A sampling of OEB research exploring elemental cycles and/or marine food webs includes the work of Kim Bernard, Rene Boiteau, Lorenzo Ciannelli, Rick Colwell, Byron Crump, Jennifer Fehrenbacher, Laurie Juranek, Ricardo Letelier, Clare Reimers, Alyssa Shiel, Yvette Spitz, Andrew Thurber, Marta Torres, and Angelicque White.
The Anthropocene is an informal geologic period that has been driven by human's influence on the atmosphere and earth's systems, and is currently under consideration for formal inclusion as a recognized geologic period. Many challenging earth system science questions involve understanding our collective impact on earth's chemical, biological, and ecological processes, and how these interact.
Faculty within the Ocean Ecology and Biogeochemistry group are at the forefront of research examining the effects of human activities on a variety of earth's ecosystems and associated processes, such as pollution effects, ocean acidification, eutrophication, using a diversity of techniques including ship and laboratory measurements, remote sensing, modeling and sustained ocean observing systems. Representative faculty working within this general area are Bob Collier, Rick Colwell, Byron Crump, Curtiss Davis, Fredrick Prahl, Alyssa Shiel, Andrew Thurber, and George Waldbusser.
Interdisciplinary and collaborative research is ongoing at OSU to understand the biological, chemical and geological dynamics occurring where the land and oceans meet. This research includes study of the processes that transport sediments from the continents to the oceans, the dynamics and controls of the rich and diverse ecosystems thriving at the land-sea interface and monitoring and modeling of the linkages between human activities and marine resources. A sampling of OEB research exploring land-sea interactions and dynamics of the coastal shelf ecosystems includes the work of Byron Crump, Miguel Goni, Roy Haggerty, Burke Hales, Fredrick Prahl, and Rob Wheatcroft.
Full system responses of Earth's climate and environmental systems to human influence (including climate and weather, biogeochemical cycles, ecosystem structure and productivity, ocean acidification and hypoxia, and sea level) will play out dynamically on timescales of centuries to millennia. Since reliable measurements of historical climate are available only for the last century, understanding the longer-term dynamics of the Earth system and calibration of models to project large changes must be addressed though paleoclimatology and paleoceanography. Measuring and monitoring past variations requires indirect methods. Paleotemperatures of the ocean surface, for example, are reconstructed using fossils of marine microorganisms or their constituent molecules or biomarkers found preserved in sea floor sediments, corals, and other geological archives. Concentrations of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane are measured in bubbles of air trapped in ancient ice. Isotopic measurements of cave deposits may reveal changes in atmospheric temperature, precipitation, or vegetation cover on land. Combining observations with model simulations allows testing of hypotheses about forcing mechanisms of and interactions within the climate and environmental systems that sustain life on Earth.
The inter-disciplinary paleoclimatology and paleoceanography program at CEOAS is among the world's leading academic paleo programs. Within OEB, Ed Brook (also affiliated with G&G) reconstructs atmospheric trace gases and climate change in ice cores; Jennifer Fehrenbacher develops and uses proxies for reconstructing ocean circulation, temperature, and chemistry; Brian Haley studies trace metal and heavy isotope systems as tracers of ocean temperature and circulation; Alan Mix (also affiliated with G&G) addresses micropaleontological, isotopic, and geochemical approaches to paleoscience; Fred Prahl focuses on organic biomarker tracers of climate; and Andreas Schmittner (also affiliated with POA) employs the paleoclimate record to test and calibrate models of biogeochemical systems in global climate and ocean models, and applies these insights to projection of long-term future changes in the Earth system.
The CEOAS ocean ecology and biogeochemistry program is currently seeking students with a strong background in biology, chemistry, geology, earth or applied sciences to study with us. Most students accepted for study receive Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA) covering tuition and living expenses. Numerous GRA openings are available each year and are best investigated by first contacting individual faculty members whose research aligns with your interests. Prospective students should also check out the graduate student guidelines. Additional fellowship and funding opportunities can be found here. Start here if you're looking for undergraduate programs at OSU.College Overview). Faculty members at the College support paid summer research internships through Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU).