Phoebe Lam is a chemical oceanographer who studies the role of marine particles in the cycling of elements in the ocean. Marine particles are key players in the cycling of most elements in the ocean. These elements range from major elements such as carbon, important for the ocean’s role in climate as well as the major building block of life, to important micronutrients such as iron and cobalt, to trace elements and isotopes such as lead and thorium that act as tracers of ocean processes.
On the GP15 US GEOTRACES Pacific Meridional Transect cruise, Phoebe is one of three co-leaders (together with Greg Cutter of Old Dominion University, the chief scientist, and Karen Casciotti of Stanford University) who are working on overall cruise management. This cruise also receives strong support from Dr. Bob Anderson of Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, the Principal Investigator of the U.S. GEOTRACES program office.
Dr. Lam will be in charge of the in-situ pumping system that will be collecting size-fractionated particles for 16 groups on the cruise. This includes overseeing the two pump “supertechs”, technician Steve Pike of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who will be in charge of pump maintenance and operations, and graduate student Yang Xiang of UC Santa Cruz, who will be in charge of particle sample processing. Helping Yang to process samples will be graduate student Vinicius Amaral, also of UC Santa Cruz. Her lab’s scientific interests will be to determine the concentration and major, minor, and trace element composition of size fractionated suspended particles. This cruise transect will be crossing through major gradients in particle concentration and composition, providing an ideal opportunity to understand the role of particles in the cycling of trace elements and their isotopes. This will be a major part of Vinicius’ PhD thesis.
Phoebe is an associate professor in the Department of Ocean Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she’s been since 2014. Prior to coming to Santa Cruz, she was on the scientific staff at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She received a PhD in Earth and Planetary Sciences at UC Berkeley. She is currently one of the co-chairs of the International GEOTRACES Scientific Steering Committee, which coordinates the international GEOTRACES program.