Currently Funded Projects

NSF Chemical Oceanography

"Systematics of zinc isotopes in the oceans: assessing the roles of speciation and surfaces." (Co-investigators Ariel D. Anbar, Arizona State University and Thomas Spiro, University of Washington).

The objective of this project is to investigate zinc isotope fractionation mechanisms relevant to zinc cycling within the oceans and between seawater and marine sediment. The work is experimental and involves adsorption and crystal growth experiments. We are also exploring the isotope behavior of cadmium, zinc's chemical cousin. Much of the work is done in a trace metal-clean laboratory, and isotope compositions of samples are measured by multi-collector ICP-MS. The grant supports a graduate student and one or more undergraduate interns.

NASA Exobiology

"Assessing nickel isotope fractionation during abiotic processes."

In this project, we are investigating low–temperature, abiotic processes that fractionate stable isotopes of nickel. Nickel isotopes in ancient rocks may be the key to understanding the decline in productivity of methanogens, which led to profound changes in the course of evolution early in Earth’s history. First we must make sure that we understand all the processes that govern Ni isotope systematics, so this project involves experiments, as well as analysis of natural samples, to determine what natural, abiotic processes can or cannot fractionate Ni. The project supports a graduate student, a postdoc, and multiple undergraduate researchers.

NSF Major Research Instrumentation

"Acquisition of a multi-collector ICP-MS for Indiana University." (Co-investigators Lisa Pratt and Ed Ripley, Indiana University)

This grant supports the purchase of an instrument to measure very precisely the ratios of stable and radiogenic isotopes of almost any element. An ambitious, multi-disciplinary team of investigators uses the instrument for a wide range of investigations in geological, environmental, and biological contexts. The grant also provides partial support for a lab manager.