I lead a team which studies the role of marine bacteria, phytoplankton and zooplankton in the global cycling of carbon and oxygen, and how this varies in space and time and with changing environmental conditions such as increasing nutrient supply, temperature and carbon dioxide and decreasing dissolved oxygen. This involves laboratory and field observations, remote sensing, numerical models and the use of water mass tracers (sulphur hexafluoride), gliders and time series datasets.

I developed an analytical system to continually measure seawater dissolved inorganic carbon and used this to determine the spatial variability in the North Atlantic CO2 sink, the impact of coccolithophore blooms on oceanic carbon uptake and the imbalanced uptake of carbon and nitrogen by phytoplankton.

Using scientific diving techniques I investigated carbon flux in the ice-ocean-plankton systems of the  Antarctic and in high CO2 hydrothermal regions in the Aegean Sea.

I undertook laboratory and mesocosm studies to investigate the cycling of carbon through the marine microbial foodweb under varying nutrient ratio and temperature conditions.

I led a project to investigate the latitudinal variability in the balance between phytoplankton uptake of CO2 and bacterial production of CO2 to develop empirical and remote sensing models to derive global plankton production. 

Recent projects have included the determination of oxygen photolysis as a potential bias in the determination of plankton production, the impact of coastal upwelling on carbonate chemistry, and the relationship between apparent oxygen utilisation and dissolved organic carbon.

I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and past President of the Challenger Society for Marine Science.

I organise a 2 day weekend Introduction to Oceanography course, open to anyone with an interest in the marine environment. The most recent course was in February 2015, and the next is planned for February/March 2016.

My personal twitter account is @CarolRobinson8

Career History

  • 2007 - present: Reader in Marine Biogeochemistry, University of East Anglia
  • 2000 - 2007: Senior Scientist (Head of Science, Biogeochemistry), Plymouth Marine Laboratory
  • 1996 - 2001: NERC Advanced Research Fellow, Plymouth Marine Laboratory
  • 1988 - 1996: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Wales; Bangor 
  • 1987 - 1988: Postdoctoral Research Assistant, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
  • 1987 Ph.D. Civil Engineering (Public Health) University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
  • 1982 B.Sc. Zoology (Marine) University of Newcastle Upon Tyne

PhD Positions

Click here for current PhD opportunities in the School of Environmental Sciences. 

Studentship projects available in my group to start October 2016 include :

The influence of organic nutrients on the production of CO2 by marine plankton in a changing environment

Satellite estimates of marine net community production in the Atlantic oligotrophic gyres

Zooplankton foray behaviour: its detection, prevalence and contribution to the stability of marine ecosystems

However,feel free to email me at any time to discuss projects outside these areas and alternative sources of funding.

Key Research Interests

I led the NERC large grant - the Atlantic Meridional Transect programme - which aimed to quantify the nature & causes of ecological & biogeochemical variability in the planktonic ecosystems of the Atlantic Ocean and a NERC SOLAS project to investigate the impact of upwelled water along the Mauritanian coast on open ocean biogeochemistry and air-sea exchange of climatically important gases. I was also a co-investigator on a NERC project to investigate spatial variability in marine productivity using underwater gliders. I have participated in ca. 30 open ocean research cruises, coastal mesocosm experiments and coastal time series studies, including a 3 month stay at the Australian Antarctic base DAVIS.

I’m currently funded to study plankton respiration (NERC Shelf Sea Biogeochemistry) and plankton metabolism (Spanish National Research Council) in a changing environment. Current projects link organic and inorganic chemistry, photochemistry, microbial ecology, plankton physiology, remote sensing, numerical models, and the use of tracers, gliders and time series datasets. My current PhD students are studying the link between bacterial respiration and community structure, the relationship between phytoplankton community structure and cycling of carbon dioxide in the North Atlantic and zooplankton mediated carbon flux in the South Atlantic Ocean.

I maintain a publicly available global database of plankton community and bacterial respiration.

My research profiles are available at Scopus 23045392200, Loop 231628, ResearcherID F-7649-2011, ResearchGate, Google Scholar, and ORCID 0000-0003-3033-4565.

Recent cv 

Publications: EPrints Digital Repository

Research Group Membership

Current Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr Enma Elena Garcia Martin

Previous Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr Niki Gist

Dr Vassilis Kitidis

Dr Pablo Serret (Marie Curie Fellow)

Current Postgraduate Students

Cansu Bayindirli    

Clare Ostle 

Alida Rosales Villa

Cecilia Liszka

Completed Postgraduate Students

Dr Katy Owen

Dr Chris Brown

Dr Johanna Gloel

Dr Raffaella Nobili

Dr Rhiannon Mather (University of Liverpool)

Dr Rachel U Shelley (University of Plymouth)  

Ms Jenna Robinson  (MPhil University of Newcastle upon Tyne)

Teaching Interests

I teach on the first year environmental sciences fieldcourse, on second year modules in Chemical Oceanography and the Marine Sciences Fieldcourse, third year modules in Biological Oceanography and the Carbon Cycle and Climate Change and Masters modules in Biological Oceanography, Carbon Cycle and Marine Sciences Fieldcourse.

I have been the external examiner for the BSc in Oceanography at the University of Liverpool (2010-2012) and the MSc in Oceanography at the University of Southampton (2009-2012), and a PhD examiner at the Universities of Southampton, Bristol, Liverpool, Dundee, Swansea and Marseilles.

External Activities and Indicators of Esteem

  • 2012 - 2016 Vice Chair of the EU FP7 People-ITN Marie Curie Review Panel
  • 2012 - 2015 Chair of the Steering Committee for the NERC Facility for Scientific Diving
  • 2011 - present Editor for Biogeosciences, European Geoscience Union (Impact Factor 3.9)
  • 2006 - present Editor for Ocean Science, European Geoscience Union (Impact Factor 2.2)
  • 2011 - present Member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the British Indian Ocean Territories, Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • 2011 - 2013 Member of the External Advisory Board for the FP7 Network of Excellence EuroMarine
  • 2011 - present Associate Editor ASLO e-lectures
  • 2010 - 2013 Vice Chair of the Scientific Steering Committee of the IGBP/SCOR programme ‘Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecological Research’ (IMBER)
  • 2010 - 2014 Deputy Chair of the European Research Council Fellowship Review Panel
  • 2010 Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology FSB (Chartered Biologist CBiol)
  • 2009 - 2013 UK IGBP National Committee
  • 2008 - 2010 President of the Challenger Society for Marine Science
  • 2006 - 2010 Member of the scientific steering committee of the SCOR sponsored programme GEOTRACES

Key Responsibilities

I have held several research and teaching administrative posts, including ENV Senior Advisor, Disability Awareness Officer, On- and in-water safety officer and Co-Head of the Atmospheres and Oceans sector, and have been a member of Teaching Executive, the Undergraduate Affairs Committee, the Promotions Committee, the Equipment Committee and the Postgraduate Research Committee.