Graduate student positions – Trace metal biogeochemistry – Texas A&M Oceanography

The Fitzsimmons Lab in trace metal biogeochemistry in the Department of Oceanography at Texas A&M University seeks creative and motivated graduate students at the Masters and/or PhD level to join the lab in Fall 2018. Our research explores the distribution, physicochemical speciation, and isotope ratios of trace metals in seawater in order to better understand the cycling and biological usage of essential micronutrient and contaminant metals in the oceans. We are a sea-going group, collecting our samples on research cruises and then analyzing them back in the laboratory. Our primary analytical tool is inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), which is housed in the Williams Radiogenic Laboratory in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M.

Potential research projects include (but are not limited to) 1) processes controlling distributions of dissolved and colloidal metals on the U.S. GEOTRACES Pacific Meridional cruise; 2) the development of x-ray synchrotron methods to explore the physicochemical speciation of colloidal iron in marine and coastal waters; 3) the measurement of toxic heavy metals transport to coastal Texas waters in Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico; and 4) the measurement of iron stable isotope ratios in seawater to gain knowledge of the source and/or processes modulating metal distributions in the oceans (Antarctic and Pacific samples). Opportunities for participation in oceanographic cruises will be available and encouraged.

Students should have a strong background in one or more of the following disciplines: chemistry, biogeochemistry, oceanography, and/or earth science. Strong chemistry skills, excellent written and oral communication in English, and enthusiasm are required. Experience on oceanographic research cruises, in clean labs, and/or with ICP-MS is desirable.

**Application process**

Interested and qualified candidates should send an email describing their motivation and research interests along with a CV to Dr. Jessica Fitzsimmons <>. Formal graduate applications to Texas A&M Oceanography are due January 1st. Financial support for graduate students is available from research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and university fellowships. Application to outside funding sources is also encouraged.

*About Texas A&M Oceanography*

Texas A&M University is a top-100 university located in College Station, TX, between the metropolitan cities of Austin and Houston, TX. It is a land-, sea-, and space-grant university with a dynamic and international community of 172,000 people situated on 5200 acres of land. Oceanography graduate faculty are housed primarily in College Station, with associated scientists and graduate students also on the Galveston campus. The more than 30 faculty and 60 graduate students in Oceanography sail across the world to learn more about the ocean’s physical, geological, chemical and biological properties. The academic curriculum emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to discovering the connection between the oceans’ past, present, and future. Research ranges from monitoring the hypoxic levels and algal blooms of the Texas Gulf Coast to the understanding the influence of climate change on the fragile ecosystems of the Arctic and Antarctic. The department also maintains close ties with the Geochemical and Environmental Research Group (GERG), which is an applied research group that serves to link academic education and research to the real-world needs of government and industry. GERG expertise includes buoy design, fabrication, deployment, ocean monitoring and modeling, as well as environmental contaminant assessments of soil, water, air and organisms. The Oceanography department also works closely with the rest of the Texas A&M College of Geosciences, which includes the Departments of Atmospheric Sciences, Geology and Geophysics, and Geography, the Berg-Hughes Center for Petroleum Sedimentary Systems, the Integrated Ocean Discovery Program (IODP), and Texas Sea Grant. Altogether this School includes >100 research faculty, >200 research and administrative staff, and >350 graduate students.

Assistant Professor in Analytical Chemistry, Tenure Track, University of British Columbia, Canada


The Department of Chemistry at the University of British Columbia ( is seeking an outstanding new investigator for a full time tenure-track faculty position, at the rank of Assistant Professor. We are seeking candidates of exceptional scientific talent who have demonstrated success in analytical chemistry working at the interface of one or more other areas of science including, but not limited to, biological chemistry, data science, environmental chemistry, materials chemistry, and radiochemistry.

The position requires a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry or a related discipline, postdoctoral experience, and an outstanding research track record. Relevant postdoctoral experience is highly desirable. The successful candidate will develop and maintain an internationally recognized research program. As a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry, the successful applicant will be expected to effectively supervise graduate students, collaborate with other faculty members, obtain external funding, teach undergraduate and graduate Chemistry courses, and actively participate in departmental activities. Leading candidates will complement and strengthen the Department and University’s expertise in research and education.

The successful candidate will be eligible to hold an appointment at the tenure-track Assistant Professor level but a higher rank may be considered for applicants with exceptional qualifications and experience.

The anticipated start date is July 1st, 2018.

Equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Metis, Inuit, or Indigenous person. Canadian and permanent residents of Canada will be given priority. Please indicate your legal status to work in Canada.

Applicants should send curriculum vitae, a list of publications, a summary of research interests, a detailed research proposal, a statement of teaching philosophy and experience, and arrange to have three reference letters sent directly to:

Deadline for receipt of complete applications is NOVEMBER 1ST, 2017



The GEOTRACES Intermediate Data Product 2017 is available!!!

The second GEOTRACES Intermediate Data Product (IDP2017) was successfully released on 16 August 2017 at the Goldschmidt 2017 Conference in Paris. More than 350 persons attended the launch event!

The new product includes hydrographical and biogeochemical data from 39 cruises across all five ocean basins. More than 280 scientists have contributed data from 46794 samples to the product. In total 458 parameters are included in the new product ranging across micronutrients, contaminants, and radioactive and stable isotopes of trace elements. An exciting novelty in regard to the first data product released in 2014 is that it also includes biological, aerosols and rain parameters. 

During the launch event Phoebe Lam (University of California, Santa Cruz, USA) and Reiner Schlitzer (AWI, Bremerhaven, Germany) presented an overview of the GEOTRACES programme and the new data product. Six very interesting short-talks introducing science highlights of GEOTRACES data closed the event. The talks are available to download here. A USB memory card containing the eGEOTRACES Atlas was distributed to all participants.

Download the IDP2017 and use it!

IDP2017 2 low  IDP2017 low 

Figure: GEOTRACES Intermediate Data Product release event at Goldschmidt 2017.

PhD opportunity, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

The biogeochemistry of trace elements in the Australian sector of the Southern Ocean:
GEOTRACES-SR3 repeat section from Tasmania to Antarctica

University of Tasmania | Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies | Hobart, Australia

Contact: Andrew Bowie

Project Description

The Southern Ocean influences climate, sea level, biogeochemical cycles and marine productivity on global scales. Observations suggest that rapid change is already underway in the Southern Ocean, but the measurements are sparse and hence the nature, causes and implications of Southern Ocean change are not yet understood. This exciting PhD project will contribute to a multi-disciplinary observational program measuring a comprehensive suite of physical and biogeochemical variables along a full‐depth repeat hydrographic section extending from Australia to the Antarctic sea ice edge.

The candidate will join a research team on a 42 day oceanographic voyage of the Marine National Facility’s Research Vessel ‘Investigator’ in the Southern Ocean in early 2018, that will study the marine biogeochemistry of trace elements and their isotopes (TEIs) along the SR3 section (~140oE), a signature field program of the ACE CRC. Following the fieldwork, the candidate will participate in laboratory analyses and experiments using state-of-the-art facilities and instrumentation to determine the distributions, physico-chemical form and sufficiency of micronutrient trace elements in the Southern Ocean, and their relationships to changing environmental conditions. In the latter stages, this project will feed vital information on the prevalence and flux of trace elements into biogeochemical and ecosystem models of the region.

Funding Notes

Lodge an application for candidature and scholarship online through the University’s Online Application portal, StudyLink by 30th September 2017.
View Website

Suitable for graduates with degrees in :
Chemistry (preferably Analytical), any Earth or Environmental Science discipline, Oceanography/Marine Science.

Essential skills/experience:
Experience working in a laboratory, where attention to detail is important
Knowledge of geochemistry, biological science and analytical chemistry
Excellent written and oral communication skills
Excellent organisational skills and self-motivation

Desirable skills/experience:
Familiarity with marine biogeochemistry
Experience working at sea
Familiarity with biogeochemical modelling tools, software and platforms

For further information:



GEOTRACES Sessions at 2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting

2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting

(11-16 February 2018, Portland, Oregon, USA,

The deadline for abstract submission is 6 September 2017, 11:59 P.M. EDT.

GEOTRACES and GEOTRACES-relevant sessions:

The Behavior of Trace Elements and Isotopes in Different Ocean Basins: New Insights from Comparisons and Contrasts
Session ID#: 28118

Session Description:

Recent international programs such as GEOTRACES have been examining the biogeochemical cycling of trace elements and isotopes (TEIs) in the world’s oceans to reveal the mechanisms and rates affecting their concentrations, distributions, chemical forms, and interactions with organisms. In addition to studies by individual investigators, the accumulating results show many similarities, but some surprising differences between ocean basins, with a classic example being the regionally-specific Cd/PO4 relationships. In the same way that deviations from the Redfield ratio of N/P between ocean basins, known since the 1970s GEOSECS program, provide insight into nitrogen cycle processes, what can we learn from the comparisons and contrasts of TEIs, and what tools are needed to explore and test these observations? This session seeks presentations from the observational and modeling communities on lessons learned from inter basin TEI data sets with respect to inputs to, cycling within, and exports from the world’s oceans. In addition we invite contributions that consider how TEI distributions, their chemical speciation, and interactions with micro-organisms shape microbial community structure and productivity in various ocean basins.

Primary Chair:  Gregory A Cutter, Old Dominion University, Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Norfolk, VA, United States

Co-chairs:  Adrian Burd, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, United States, Jay Thomas Cullen, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada and Tung-Yuan Ho, Research Center for Environmental Changes Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan

Abiotic and Biotic Retention, Recycling, and Remineralization of Metals in the Ocean

Session ID#: 23502

Session Description:

Trace metals shape both the biogeochemical functioning and the biological structure of oceanic provinces, and considerable insight into trace metal distributions have been gleaned from international programs like GEOTRACES. To date, observational and modelling efforts have mainly focused on modes of external metal supply from different sources. While this has yielded important advances, we also know that metals undergo key internal transformations such as biotic uptake, scavenging, recycling, and remineralization.  These internal transformations play crucial roles in shaping the biogeochemical cycling of metals by governing their bioavailability, oceanic distributions, and residence times. In this session we solicit presentations that address key questions regarding the abiotic and biotic processes regulating (i) the retention timescale for metals in the upper ocean, (ii) surface ocean metal recycling and bioavailability, (iii) the subsurface regeneration length scales for metals in the ocean interior, and (iv) the role of mineral versus organic characteristics of sinking particles on metal scavenging.  We also seek presentations that provide insights into how these key questions are mediated by differing physico-chemical and microbial processes in contrasting ocean settings. Presentations showing insights from the diverse standpoints of biogeochemical oceanography and molecular ecology, from both observational and modelling perspectives, are strongly encouraged.

Primary Chair:  Philip W Boyd, University of Tasmania, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, Hobart, Australia

Co-chairs:  Kristen N Buck, University of South Florida Tampa, College of Marine Science, Tampa, FL, United States; University of South Florida, College of Marine Science, St. Petersburg, FL, United States, Jessica N Fitzsimmons, Texas A&M University, Department of Oceanography, United States and Alessandro Tagliabue, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom

The Dawn of BioGEOTRACES: Metal-Microbe Interactions in the Ocean

Session ID#: 27768

Session Description:

Trace metals are essential for life, catalysing key cellular reactions which then govern patterns of ocean fertility and biodiversity. Fundamental in this regard are the ways in which ocean microbes acquire essential metals and how biological activity is affected by metal availability. Developments in this field are being led by advances in analytical chemistry, nanotechnology, molecular biology, and bioinformatics, as well as the expansion of 'omics'-related observations of in-situ microbial communities, and the advent of new high resolution geochemical data from the international GEOTRACES program. It is now timely to bring together insights from these different disciplines, spanning observation and modelling approaches to better understand how microbial activity, diversity and ecology is shaped by interactions with trace metals over different space and time scales. By linking across disciplines, there is the potential to develop the mechanistic understanding required to inform the ecological and biogeochemical models we rely on for testing hypotheses and projecting the impacts of ocean change. We are specifically interested in contributions that address (i) metal uptake and competition between microbes for metal resources, (ii) how microbes adapt their physiology to metal scarcity and varied supply and (iii) how trace metals shape cellular function and evolution.

Primary Chair:  Adrian Marchetti, University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill, Department of Marine Sciences, Chapel Hill, NC, United States

Co-chairs:  Maria Teresa Maldonado, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada, Alessandro Tagliabue, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom and Yeala Shaked, Hebrew University, Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences,, Eilat, Israel

Biogeochemical Processes Across Oxic-Anoxic Transitions

Session ID#: 28621

Session Description:

A suite of metabolically and chemically important oxidation-reduction reactions occur through the transitions from oxic to anoxic regions of the ocean. These reactions drive nutrient availability and metal solubility, as well as organic matter production, consumption, and preservation. As oxygen minimum and deficient zones expand, redox reactions in low to no oxygen environments are becoming globally more important, both for the nitrogen and carbon cycles and also for trace metals. Understanding such environments can provide an important analogue for ocean chemistry and microbial life in the Precambrian, prior to the great oxygenation events. This session seeks to bring together geochemical, biological, and physical scientists working on low oxygen and anoxic regions, in order to create an integrated picture of biogeochemistry in these environments. Presentations from observational, experimental, or modeling standpoints on nutrients, trace elements, dissolved gases, isotope systematics, microbiology, biological productivity, or physical drivers in these regions are all invited. We especially encourage submissions investigating the redox transition in the water column or sediments of restricted basins such as Saanich Inlet and the Black Sea, as well as GEOTRACES and open-ocean studies of settings such as the Eastern Tropical Pacific, North Atlantic, and Indian OMZs.

Primary Chair:  Jeffry V Sorensen, University of Victoria, School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Victoria, BC, Canada

Co-chairs:  Roberta Claire Hamme, University of Victoria, School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Victoria, BC, Canada and Tim M Conway, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, United States

Ocean Biogeochemistry and Air-Sea Interactions
Session ID#: 29651

Session Description:

Studies of ocean biogeochemistry related to air-sea interactions are providing significant new information to help us understand a wide variety of physical, chemical and biological processes in the oceans. There are many processes that link the surface ocean and the lower atmosphere, for example, the release of biogenic compounds as sources of cloud or ice condensation nuclei, the deposition of natural and anthropogenic aerosols that can affect plankton communities, the transport of airborne microbes that can alter the dynamics of proximal and distant ecosystems, the biology, chemistry and physics of the sea-surface microlayer (SML) as the interface through which all exchanges between the atmosphere and the ocean occur, the enrichment of surfactants and other biogenic compounds in the SML that can affect gas exchange rates, etc. Understanding these processes is crucial for improving the reliability of regional and global models and the evaluation of future scenarios. We welcome contributions on all aspects of the physics, chemistry, and biology of air-sea interactions, including observations, experimentation, methodological or technical developments, and theoretical and modeling efforts.

Primary Chair:  Francesc Peters, Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM, CSIC), Barcelona, Spain

Co-chairs:  William M Landing, Florida State University, Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science, Tallahassee, FL, United States, Oliver Wurl, Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment, Wilhelmshaven, Germany and Brian Ward, National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), School of Physics, Galway, Ireland

An updated list of GEOTRACES relevant sessions at the 2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting is available at:

To submit an abstract please follow the instructions available here:

Three GEOTRACES cruises will be sailing simultaneously in the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Southern Ocean

Three national GEOTRACES programmes (Japan, UK and South Africa) will undertake GEOTRACES cruises in the coming months. The first cruise to leave port will be the Japanese cruise along the GEOTRACES Pacific section GP02. This section cruise will depart from Tokyo (Japan) on 23 June and arrive port in Vancouver (Canada) on 7 August. During the cruise, biogeochemical cycles of trace elements and isotopes (TEIs) will be investigated in the High-Nutrient, Low-Chlorophyll (HNLC) areas of the subarctic North Pacific and the Gulf of Alaska (see figure below).

The UK ZIPLOC cruise will sail in the tropical Atlantic Ocean. It will depart on 27 June from Guadeloupe (French overseas region) and return port on 13 August in Tenerife (Canary Islands). This cruise has been endorsed as GEOTRACES process study and it will investigate zinc, iron and phosphorus co-limitation in the ocean.

The South African GEOTRACES cruise on board the research vessel Angulhas II will depart from Cape Town (South Africa) on 29 June. During 15-days this GEOTRACES process study will navigate in the Indian sector of the Southern Ocean (30˚E line, see figure below) to study the sources, sinks and cycling of bioactive trace elements as well as the impact of the hydrothermal ridge on trace metal distribution and speciation. Follow this cruise at:

  • Japanese cruise chief scientist: Hajime Obata
  • UK cruise chief scientist: Claire Mahaffey  (GEOTRACES scientists: Maeve Lohan and Alessandro Tagliabue)
  • South African cruise chief scientist: Marcello Vichi (GEOTRACES scientist: Alakaendra Roychoudhury)

2017 2 Cruise track

Figure: (A) Cruise track of the Japanese cruise (KH-17-3) along GEOTRACES GP02 line; (B) Cruise track of the South African process study cruise (AIMIZ-GIO6). Click here to view the figure larger.

 Data Product (IDP2017)


 Data Assembly Centre (GDAC)


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