Research interests

I am a marine biogeochemist, currently working as a postdoctral research associate in Jorge Samiento's group at Princeton University. The focus of my scientific research is the study of bioglogically driven carbon fluxes in the ocean and their connection with changes in the global climate system. I specialize on the study of biogeochemical cycles through numerical models, autonomous profiling platforms, and satellite observations in order to understand the state of global marine ecosystems and their connection to past and future climate events.

(Image from NASA showing the average chlorophyll concentration in the ocean estimated from SeaWiFS between 1997 and 2004).

Previous work

Most of my previous work was aimed to understand the mechanisms regulating the growth of phyoplankton in the global ocean. My main tool was a physiological model that represents the basic internal biochemical processes driving the aquisition and use of light and energy by marine algae to conduct phosotosynthesis and fix CO2.  

(Schematic representation of the optimality-based model of phytoplankton growth from Pahlow, et al, MEPS (2013)).

Current Studies

Presently, my main area of research is the Southern Ocean. I am employing measurements from chemical and bio-optical sensors to assess the efficiency of the ocean “biological carbon pump”. I combine these measurements with information from passive and active satellite sensors in order to quantify biologically driven carbon export from the upper productive marine layer into the deep ocean. This project is part of the SOCCOM program (https://soccom.princeton.edu).

(Image from the NASA project EXPORTS, obtained from http://www.news.ucsb.edu).

Open student projects:

 

Estimating the flux of particulate organic carbon in the Southern Ocean from bio-optical sensors on profiling floats:

The Southern Ocean is a region of major biogeochemical relevance as it exports nutrient elements that sustain around 75% of the biological production north of 30° S. This horizontal export of nutrients towards northern latitudes is constrained by the efficiency in the vertical export of particulate organic material from the surface into the deep ocean. This project aims to estimate fluxes of particulate organic carbon from bio-optical sensors of particle backscattering on profiling floats in the Southern Ocean deployed by the SOCCOM project. Combined with float and model-based information on oxygen and chlorophyll, this study aims to quantify rates of organic matter remineralization and discern the main environmental variables controlling the efficiency of carbon export in the Southern Ocean.

(This project can be extended into a Junior Project or Senior Thesis. Feel free to contact me by email if this project seems interesting to you).