Sept 2004-June 2008: University of California San Diego: Environmental Systems(Earth Science) major, Biological Sciences minor.
River carbon cycling and the fate of terrestrial organic
Nick spent his early years in Monterey, California and
graduated from UC San Diego in 2008 with a BS in Environmental Systems/Earth
Science and a minor in Biological Sciences. He is now pursuing a PhD in
Chemical Oceanography at the University of Washington, and is interested in
unraveling the role of river systems in the global carbon cycle. Prior to
joining the River Systems Research Group, he performed research at both the
Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) and the Woods Hole Oceanographic
Institution (WHOI). At SIO he spent several years working with Dr. Lihini
Aluwihare, studying the relationship between the expression of specific genes
involved in nitrogen metabolism in phytoplankton to in situ nitrogen conditions. He spent the summer of
2007 researching the degradation of dissolved organic matter in arctic rivers
with Professors Daniel Repeta, Benjamin Van Mooy, Max Holmes, and Tim Eglinton
Nick came to the University of Washington in 2008, with Jeff Richey. He started off studying the mobilization sequence of nitrogen and
carbon species on short time scales to determine the potential effects of
watershed nutrient loading on low dissolved O2 concentrations in
Hood Canal, a branch of Puget Sound, Washington, USA (See under Research stories); results of such local
studies can be applied to a global perspective. Nick completed his Masters in 2011.
For his Ph.D, working with co-advisors Jeff Richey and Rick Keil, Nick moved to the lower Amazon, as part of the ROCA (River Ocean Continuum of the Amazon) project, where he is working on the very challenging problem of
determining what organic matter might be fueling the respiration leading to high
outgassing observed in tropical rivers. He is finding that lignin and other terrestrially-derived
macromolecules are, in fact, surprisingly reactive in tropical river systems. If this holds
true, these results will overturn the long held paradigm that lignin and other
terrestrial macromolecules are recalcitrant and persist for decades to
centuries buried in marine sediments 5-9 and reveal a highly dynamic and
essential pathway for terrestrial carbon remineralization.
The Amazon (and films of kite-boarding in extreme environments).