Dr. Karen Casciotti is marine chemist who specializes in tracing the marine nitrogen cycle using stable isotopic measurements. Her current research focuses on understanding how nitrogen is cycled in oceanic suboxic zones. Of particular interest is how microbial processes control the inventory of bioavailable nitrogen in the ocean and the production of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas.
On the GEOTRACES GP15 cruise, Dr. Casciotti is part of the mangement team, where she is helping to coordinate sampling for investigators receiving water samples from the ship’s CTD rosette. Joined by a team from Scripps Ocean Data Facility, as well as ‘supertechs’ Marty Fleisher (LDEO) and Colette Kelly (Stanford), she will ensure that water samples are provided to those who have requested it.
Her scientific interest in this cruise is investigating the distribution of nitrate, nitrite, and nitrous oxide isotopes across the Pacific ocean in order to better understand nitrogen cycling within the different biomes and biogeochemical provinces in the Pacific Ocean. This cruise is unique in that it will sample the oldest water in the worlds’ ocean, which possesses the highest nutrient levels, as well as some of the lowest oxygen levels in the global ocean.
Casciotti is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth System Science at Stanford University. She received a Ph.D. in Geosciences from Princeton University in 2002. After earning her PhD, she worked as an NRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the US Geological Survey in Reston, VA. From 2004 to 2011, she was on the scientific staff at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. In 2011 she joined the faculty at Stanford.