A tribute to Chris Daniels (1987-2018)

Data management is not a glamorous role. Even in a field like oceanography, which has generated large multi-disciplinary datasets and relied upon them for important scientific work for decades, the data managers tend to toil in the background and are rarely acknowledged. Their world is filled with dealing with different types of data spreadsheets, converting between file formats and the chasing down of units and methods, all while trying to meet the demands of their scientific community.

Today we would like to take the chance to acknowledge Chris Daniels, a data manager who made an important contribution to the GEOTRACES community and has sadly passed away in November 2018 at the age of 31.

All us are proud of the 2017 data product that GEOTRACES released, but those of us involved in the planning and execution process know that it was an enormous effort. A crucial part of this is how data sets from all over the world, concerning hundreds of parameters are assembled at the GEOTRACES Data Assembly Centre (hosted at the British Oceanographic Data Centre in Liverpool). Only with this synthesis effort is it possible to realise the ambition of a multi parameter, fully integrated dataset like the IDP.

When we moved from the IDP2014 to IDP2017 the number of different parameters and datasets increased dramatically, and our existing methods of work were feeling the strain. Chris joined the GEOTRACES effort in January 2017 and was tasked with thinking about how to approach this emerging challenge and the leadership this would require. Sadly, Chris became ill shortly afterwards and was unable to return to work to complete the task himself. However even in this short time, he brought into place a new approach, with a dedication and enthusiasm to deliver what the community was looking for.

Chris had interests outside of his role within GEOTRACES, which was only ever planned as a stepping stone along the road to a fulfilling academic career. During his PhD and postdoctoral work he was a valued member of large UK projects such as Ocean Acidification and Shelf Sea Biogeochemistry. He was especially passionate about coccolithophores and was considered to be a bright emerging young scientist with an exciting future ahead of him.

We express our sadness at his passing at such a young age and send our sympathies to his family, friends and colleagues. In particular, we take this opportunity to reflect on how fortunate we are to meet unique and talented people like Chris in our daily work. Today, we work on towards new scientific challenges and discoveries in his memory.

On behalf of the GEOTRACES Programme, 
Alessandro Tagliabue (co-chair Data Management Committee, University of Liverpool)

If you would like to make a donation in memory of Chris, his family has suggested Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, a charity with which Chris and his family are heavily involved: 

2018 Chris Daniels
Chris aboard the RRS James Clark Ross steaming out of South Georgia during the one of the UK Ocean Acidification cruises in 2013 (photo by Mark Moore).

SoNoAT2019 Shipboard Training - call for applications

 Training cruise on board RV Polarstern in June 2019

We are pleased to announce a call for applications to join a 'South-North Atlantic Training Transect' (SoNoAT) cruise on board the  RV Polarstern in June 2019.

SoNoAT is a training survey that brings together International participants through a collaboration between the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI)AtlantOSPartnership for Observation of the Global Ocean (POGO) and funded through the Nippon Foundation. The 2019 scientific programme is based on Ocean, Atmosphere and Climate interactions and is designed to provide participants with a thorough insight into the fundamental principles of our changing climate.

The SoNoAT 2019 programme comprises a pre-cruise training (landbased) in Punta Arenas at the end of May 2019, which will be immediately followed by the research cruise, leaving from Port Stanley, Falkland Islands, on 2 June 2019 and ending in Bremerhaven, Germany, on 29 June 2019.

There will be 25 scholarships available for participants, which include travel to the departure port, return flight from Bremerhaven, and all costs involved with living on board during the training.

This 'Floating Summer School' aims to train the ocean experts of the future, and is designed  for postgraduate students (Masters or PhD) of marine-related science and technology. Priority will be given to students from developing countries and countries with economies in transition. Diversity of race, gender and ethnicity will be encouraged and will promote cultural exchange and understanding.

The call for applications will be open from the 5 November until 30 November 2018. Successful candidates will be informed by the middle of December.

You can read more about what the training involves here: 

To submit an application, please visit:

Postdoctoral Investigator, Department of Geology and Geophysics, WHOI, USA


Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is currently searching for a Postdoctoral Investigator to join the Department of Geology and Geophysics. This is a temporary, full-time, exempt position, and is eligible for benefits


Applications are invited for one Postdoctoral Investigator position in the use of inverse methods (inverse modeling) to analyze radiochemical and particle data recently obtained as part of the EXPORTS and GEOTRACES programs. The successful candidate will contribute to our understanding of particle aggregation and disaggregation in the ocean, which are among the most important yet poorest understood phenomena in the ocean biogeochemical cycles and in the formation of sedimentary material. The position will be based at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). The successful applicant will have the opportunity to collaborate with scientists from different institutions (WHOI and University of California at Santa Cruz) and with different background and research experience.

The position is full time and available for a period of one and a half year initially, but renewable for up to three years depending on performance and funding availability. Online application forms should be submitted with a cover letter and full curriculum vitae including a list of three references. Additionally, please email a copy of your letter of interest and CV to Dr. Olivier Marchal (


As deemed necessary by supervisor.


Applicants must have a PhD in oceanography, multivariate statistics, numerical analysis, physics, or applied mathematics. Preference will be given to an applicant who has strong quantitative skills with research experience in numerical modeling of aquatic systems and/or in the use of inverse methods and related methods of statistical inference. A strong background in chemical oceanography is desirable. Application review begins immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Informal inquiries may be made by emailing Dr. Olivier Marchal (


Physical duties for this position include but are not limited to the ability to work around others. This position is mostly sedentary by nature. WHOI is a member of the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC). We are sensitive to the issues of dual career candidates and we will work with applicants to address them. Please visit HERC - for more information. WHOI is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity.

Employer/Disabled/Veterans/M/F. We encourage Veterans and those with Disabilities to apply. Applications are reviewed confidentially. Applicants that require accommodation in the job application process are encouraged to contact us at (508) 289-2253 or email for assistance.

Keith A. Hunter Eulogy

Keith Andrew Hunter (1951-2018) was a New Zealand ocean chemist who served most recently as a professor of chemistry and Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Sciences, at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. He was educated at Auckland Grammar School, graduated from the University of Auckland with a first-class degree in chemistry in 1974, and completed his Ph.D. at the University of East Anglia in 1977 working with Peter Liss. He joined the University of Otago in 1979 and is a former president of the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry. He was awarded the Prime Minister’s Science Prize in 2011 and the Marsden Medal in 2014, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 1997. Keith was a pioneer in trace element biogeochemical research in New Zealand. His research interests were wide-ranging, including dissolved trace metal speciation and cycling (with a major emphasis on Fe biogeochemistry), effects of ocean acidification on trace element speciation, estuarine behavior of particles and colloids, atmospheric deposition of trace elements and nutrients, and the chemistry of the sea-surface microlayer. His work will continue to have a significant influence on many areas of chemical oceanography, and he will be sorely missed by his many friends and scientific colleagues.

William M. Landing
Professor, Earth Ocean and Atmospheric Science, Florida State University

Float your Boat project - Boats recovered three years after deployment!

The 2015 US Arctic GEOTRACES initiative participated in a novel outreach project coordinated with Dave Forcucci (US Coast Guard Marine Science Coordinator) to involve students and the public with an Arctic research cruise on the US Coast Guard ice-breaker Healy. GEOTRACES was a perfect match for the inaugural kick off of "Float your Boat" <>. Over one thousand 8-inch (20-cm) long cedar boats, were commissioned (funded by the National Science Foundation) from the Center for Wooden Boats ( in Seattle, WA and distributed to school groups, scout troops, and science open-house events around the country. Students personalized their boats with bright colors and after returning to Seattle the boats were branded with and packed into the hold of the Healy for the journey to the North Pole. During the GEOTRACES cruise, four groups of boats were deployed on ice floes between 87.5 N and 80 N on the 150 W meridian, each with a small satellite buoy (deployed by the University of Washington Applied Physics Laboratory to study ice movement). The iridium satellite-linked buoys provided an opportunistic chance for high resolution, real-time tracking of the boats for about a year and a half. After drifting with the Arctic ice, it was hoped that the boats would eventually be freed from its grasp and float to a distant shore to be discovered and reported. This project is described by our teacher-at-sea, Bill Schmoker, at and by Prof. Timothy Kenna, the scientitst who was in charge of deploying the boats:                                  

 2018 Boat1 2018 Boat2  2018 Boat3 

Figure 1. Left and middle: The recovered boat, showing the effects of three years of weathering. Right: the boat in its original condition. Below: Mr. Bollie Thor with the boat, in Iceland.

2018 Boat4In October 2018, three years after deployment, one of these small wooden boats was found by a gentleman in Iceland, Bolli Thor. He wrote: “These are the coordinates 63.962285, -22.734055 where I found one of your little wooden boats, near small town called Sandgerði in Iceland where I live. I found it at my favorite spot, where I usually walk with my dog called Tyra.” The recovered, weathered, boat is shown in Figure 1. Remarkably, we identified the pre-deployment picture, the student and school (Upper Nyack Elementary School).

The recovery site is shown in Figure 2. The drift track data stopped in February, 2017. Two groups of boats ran aground in northern Canada, while two groups, deployed near the N. Pole, were entrained in the Trans Polar drift and traveled south, through Fram Strait, into the E. Greenland Current (Figures 3 and 4). A boat from these groups made it to Iceland. 

2018 Boat5
Figure 2. The location, Sandgerði in Iceland, where the boat was recovered.


2018 Boat6

Figure 3. The map shows drift tracks of our small boat deployments. Boxes 3,4,5,6 ran aground in northern Canada in February 2017. Boxes 1 and 2 were entrained in the Transpolar drift and went south. The boat discovered in Iceland was in that group.

2018 Boat7

Figure 4. The map shows historical drift tracks of data buoy clusters from the NPEO (North Pole Environmental Laboratory) main deployment camp near the North Pole each April 2000-2014 toward the North Atlantic for as long as they continued transmitting.  The Arctic Ocean's Transpolar Drift exits the Arctic Basin by its only deep-water channel through Fram Strait just east of Greenland. A buoy deployed in April near the Pole has a high probability of following that general route to reach the central Greenland Sea by the following mid-winter.

Distributed on behalf of Dave Kadko, chief scientist, and Bill Landing, co-chief, of the US GEOTRACES Arctic cruises.

GEOTRACES Scientific Steering Committee Meeting and Workshop held in Taipei

The 2018 GEOTRACES Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) meeting was held from 23rd to 25th July 2018 at Academia Sinica in Taipei hosted by Prof. Tung-Yuan Ho. The SSC meets once each year to review the progress in the programme implementation and define the future programme agenda. A major topic for discussion this year was how to streamline the process of building the next GEOTRACES Intermediate Data Product planned for 2021. For this, the SSC decided to commit GEOTRACES resources in building an on-line portal which should allow more automatic management of data along with a quick and easy access to the information for all people involved in the construction of the product. This portal should be launched in the coming year. 

The SSC meeting was followed by a 1-day GEOTRACES Training Workshop which was attended by about 60 participants including graduate and undergraduate students as well as young scientists. During the workshop, GEOTRACES senior scientists trained participants on trace metal sampling and analysis together with Ocean Data View (ODV) methods for exploration and analysis of GEOTRACES data. 

2018 SSC Taipei l  2018 SSC Taipei group photo l 

Figures: (Left) 2018 GEOTRACES Scientific Steering Committee members and officers, (Right) GEOTRACES-Taiwan Training Workshop participants.

Thank you to Prof. Tung-Yuan Ho, Wan-Chen Hsieh, Daniel Liao, Vivian Cheng, Sing-How Tuo, Oliver Hsieh, Jenny Tu, Irene Rodriguez, Damo Karri and Ian Wu for the wonderful hospitality and support provided in organising the SSC meeting. We also gratefully acknowledge funding from the following Taiwanese agencies: Ministry of Science and Technology, Ocean Affairs Council, and Research Center of Environmental Changes at Academia Sinica.

 Data Product (IDP2017)


 Data Assembly Centre (GDAC)


Subscribe Mailing list

Contact us

To get a username and password, please contact the GEOTRACES IPO.

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. Find out more on how we use cookies and how you can change your settings.