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, the relationship between apparent oxygen utilisation and dissolved organic carbon, and determination of the proportion of plankton respiration attributable to bacterioplankton.
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 March 2016, and the next is planned for February/March 2018.
My personal twitter account is @CarolRobinson8
- 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
Click here for current PhD opportunities in the School of Environmental Sciences.
Studentship projects available in my group 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
However,feel free to email me at any time to discuss projects outside these areas and alternative sources of funding.
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Plankton community respiration and bacterial metabolism in a North Atlantic Shelf Sea during spring bloom development (April 2015),
in Progress in OceanographyFull Text UEA Repository
(E-pub ahead of print)
A communal catalogue reveals Earth’s multiscale microbial diversity,
in NatureFull Text UEA Repository
(E-pub ahead of print)
Phytoplankton biogeochemical cycles,
in Marine Plankton : A practical guide to ecology, methodology, and taxonomy.
Carbon dioxide and ocean acidification observations in UK waters. Synthesis report with a focus on 2010–2015,
University of East Anglia, UKFull Text
Comment on “Dilution limits dissolved organic carbon utilization in the deep ocean”,
pp. 1483aFull Text UEA Repository
Technical note: Could benzalkonium chloride be a suitable alternative to mercuric chloride for preservation of seawater samples?,
in Ocean Science
pp. 947-952Full Text UEA Repository
IMBER – Research for marine sustainability: Synthesis and the way forward,
pp. 42–53Full Text UEA Repository
20 years of the Atlantic Meridional Transect - AMT,
in Limnology and Oceanography Bulletin
pp. 101–107Full Text UEA Repository
Drivers and effects of Karenia mikimotoi blooms in the western English Channel,
in Progress in Oceanography
pp. 456–469Full Text UEA Repository
Satellite estimates of net community production indicate predominance of net autotrophy in the Atlantic Ocean,
in Remote Sensing of Environment
pp. 254-269Full Text UEA Repository
Both respiration and photosynthesis determine the scaling of plankton metabolism in the oligotrophic ocean,
in Nature Communications
article no. 6961Full Text UEA Repository
Net community production in the North Atlantic Ocean derived from Volunteer Observing Ship data,
in Global Biogeochemical Cycles
pp. 80-95Full Text UEA Repository
Technical Note: Could benzalkonium chloride be a suitable alternative to mercuric chloride for preservation of seawater samples?,
in Ocean Science Discussions
pp. 1953-1969Full Text UEA Repository
Mechanisms of microbial carbon sequestration in the ocean – future research directions,
pp. 5285-5306Full Text UEA Repository
Dissolved organic carbon and apparent oxygen utilization in the Atlantic Ocean,
in Deep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers
pp. 80-87Full Text UEA Repository
Oxygen photolysis in the Mauritanian upwelling: Implications for net community production,
in Limnology and Oceanography
pp. 299-310Full Text UEA Repository
Biological and physical forcing of carbonate chemistry in an upwelling filament off northwest Africa: Results from a Lagrangian study,
in Global Biogeochemical Cycles
pp. 1-13Full Text UEA Repository
Changing Currents: A Strategy for Understanding and Predicting the Changing Ocean Circulation.,
in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
pp. 5461-5479Full Text UEA Repository
Prospectus for UK Marine Science.,
in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society
The microbial carbon pump: Emerging issues workshop report,
in ASLO Bulletin
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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 (by NERC and The Leverhulme Trust) to study the role of plankton respiration in carbon sequestration and the production of carbon dioxide and how this might change 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 PhD students are studying the relationship between phytoplankton community structure and cycling of carbon dioxide in the North Atlantic and zooplankton mediated carbon flux in the Southern Ocean.
I maintain a publicly available global database of plankton community and bacterial respiration.
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
Completed Postgraduate Students
Dr Alida Rosales Villa
Ms Cansu Bayindirli (MPhil)
Dr Clare Ostle
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)
I teach on the first year environmental sciences fieldcourse and a module on Sustainability, Society and Biodiversity, on second year modules in Aquatic Biogeochemistry and the Marine Sciences Fieldcourse, third year modules in Biological Oceanography and the Carbon Cycle and Climate Change and Masters modules in Ocean Observing Systems and the 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
- 2016 - present Chair of the Scientific Steering Committee of the SCOR/Future Earth programme ‘Integrated Marine Biosphere Research’ (IMBER)
- 2015 Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
- 2015 - present Editor for Frontiers in Marine Science - Marine Biogeochemistry
- 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 - 2016 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 Ecosystem 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
I have held several research and teaching leadership and management positions, including Senior Advisor, Disability Awareness Officer, On- and in-water safety officer and Co- Sector Head of the Atmospheres and Oceans sector, and have been a member of Teaching Executive, the Undergraduate Affairs Committee, the Promotions Committee, the Undergraduate Examinations Board, the Equipment Committee and the Postgraduate Research Committee.