ChAOS Researchers

Dr Christian März

Christian März is Associate Professor for Biogeochemistry at the School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, and the Principal Investigator of the ChAOS project. A geologist by training and marine geochemist by choice, he has over the last seven years studied the behaviour of nutrients and metals in sediments of the Arctic Ocean and the North Pacific. Christian’s main focus is on the reconstruction of past environmental conditions from the archive of mud at the seafloor, and on the transformation and recycling processes of chemical elements like iron, manganese, carbon sulphur, phosphorus and silica (to name a few) that are key in biogeochemical processes. Within ChAOS, Christian will oversee the sampling and inorganic geochemical analysis of seafloor mud and the water within it - which is much more exciting than it sounds.
Link to profile

Prof Steve Widdicombe

Steve Widdicombe leads the Marine Ecology and Biodiversity group at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory. Steve has been exploring aspects of marine ecology for over 25 years and has a particular expertise in studying the biodiversity of seabed sediments. His work has largely focused on understanding how disturbance affects the structure, diversity and function of marine communities. These disturbances include natural phenomena such as bioturbation, storms and large plankton blooms and manmade impacts such as trawling, pollution and, more recently, climate change including ocean warming and acidification. Steve’s interest in arctic ecosystems started in 1997 when he first visited Svalbard as part of a UK/Polish team exploring the impact of glaciers on seabed communities in polar fjords. In 2009 Steve was back in Svalbard, in the research village of Ny Alesund, where he was leading an international team exploring the impacts of ocean acidification on marine organisms. Within the ChAOS project Steve will be exploring how changes in the supply of organic matter due to the retreating ice edge is leading to changes in the communities of organisms living on and in the seafloor.
Link to profile

Dr Kate Hendry

Kate Hendry is a biogeochemist and chemical oceanographer at the University of Bristol, interested in understanding nutrient cycling in the modern ocean, and the link between past climatic change, ocean circulation, nutrient supply and biological productivity. She did her PhD at Oxford University, working on trace metal cycling in coastal Antarctic waters and was then awarded a Doherty Scholarship to work at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Thoughout the last few years, she has worked on the stable isotopes of silicon in seawater and biogenic opal, a substance produced by some kinds of algae (diatoms), some protists (radiolarians, for example) and deep-sea sponges. She currently has a number of projects working on silicon isotope biogeochemistry, and will be working on silica cycling during the ChAOS project. Kate has been on many field expeditions, migrating further north every time, with trips (in order) to the Southern Ocean, the Equatorial Atlantic, and the Labrador Sea.
Link to profile

Dr Karen Tait

Karen Tait is a microbial ecologist at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory. Karen uses molecular biology techniques to explore the relationship between microbial communities and biogeochemical cycling within sediments, with a particular emphasis on nitrogen cycling. This has comprised studies of the effect of climate change including ocean warming and acidification on microbial communities (including in the Arctic), benthic responses to plankton blooms and the interaction between bioturbating infauna, microbial activity and biogeochemical cycling. Within the ChAOS project, Karen will be working with the team of microbiologists to characterise benthic microbial community structure and nutrient cycling activity under contrasting regions of sea ice cover.
Link to profile

Dr Geoffrey Abbott

Geoffrey Abbott is a Reader in Organic Geochemistry in the Geosciences group (School of Natural and Environmental Science) at Newcastle University. He is overseeing the evaluation of organic matter quantity, source, and reactivity from contrasting regions of ice cover to assess its impact on carbon and nutrient recycling and burial. His passion is applying molecular geochemical, biogeochemical and analytical pyrolysis techniques to address major questions related to the evolution of the Earth's environment. His research combines detailed laboratory experiments on organic geochemical processes with studies of the carbon cycle in ancient and modern environments (specifically Arctic marine sediments, northern peatlands and soils). Geoff will be coordinating the organic geochemical analysis of the seafloor mud and evaluating what can (and perhaps cannot!) be realistically gleaned about environmental processes from stratigraphic biomarker analysis of the Arctic Ocean floor.
Link to profile

Louise McNeill

Louise McNeill BSC is a benthic research scientist working within the Marine Ecology and Biodiversity group at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory. Initially commercially trained for 6 years she has a 18 years’ experience in identifying marine and estuarine macrofauna both from the UK and European and International waters. Whilst much of Louise’s work involves the identification of marine macrofauna, she also has extensive fieldwork experience and experience in the setup of large manipulative mesocosm experiments to assess ecological impacts of ocean acidification and elevated temperatures on the ecology, biodiversity, and ecosystem function of macrofaunal communities (IMCO2, RISCS, and UKOARP, MERP) . Projects include the collection of video data to aid SAC site selection for Natural England, a 9 year benthic time series to assess seasonal cycling and benthic patterns from various sites in the Plymouth Sound as part of the Western Channel Observatory, in addition to a large variety of commercially valuable projects. She also has experience in exposing a variety of species to histological techniques in order to look at organism health in response to elevated CO2 at a cellular level in addition to assisting many MSc, PhD students with their projects related to benthic organisms and ecosystem functioning.
Link to profile

Dr Sian Henley

Sian Henley is a NERC Independent Research Fellow currently based at the University of Edinburgh. Sian is a marine biogeochemist with a penchant for nutrient cycling in the polar oceans and how nutrient cycles are changing in response to climate and environmental change, and the feedbacks of those nutrient cycle changes on the climate system. Most of Sian's polar research has focused on Antarctica, with in situ observations of nutrients and their isotopic compositions in seawater, sea ice, glacial ice and sediments forming the backbone of her work. Sian is excited about applying and adapting her skills learned in the Antarctic to the rapidly changing Arctic Ocean as part of both the Arctic PRIZE and ChAOS projects.
Link to profile

Dr David Barnes

David Barnes is a marine ecologist with the British Antarctic Survey, NERC and visiting lecturer at University of Cambridge. He has been studying polar continental shelf benthos for the last 26 years with a particular focus in West Antarctica. David’s main focus is on macro- and megabenthic responses to physical change, particularly with respect to growth, carbon capture, accumulation and immobilization. These measures allow estimation of ‘blue carbon’ ecosystem services, which may be one our planet’s most important negative feedbacks on climate change. Within ChAOS, David will be involved in imaging benthos using a bespoke fibre optic camera lander, ‘Shelf Underwater Camera System’ (SUCS), and trying to collect samples of these animals using a video and light equipped minitrawl. Examination of the trawled specimens enable estimation of carbon accumulated per year (e.g., in shells) and the SUCS images enable quantification of the density of those animals on the seabed – giving biological changes in carbon accumulation in time and space.
Link to profile

Dr Allyson Tessin

Allie is a Marie Curie Research Fellow in the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds. Her research focuses on carbon and nutrient cycling in modern and ancient marine environments. She is currently investigating biogeochemical cycling north of Svalbard and on the Yermak Plateau. Allie will be joining the ChAOS team on the 2017 expedition to help with sediment and pore water collection.
Link to profile