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Staff and Center News

New Postdoctoral Researchers Enriching USGS Science in Woods Hole, Massachusetts

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Several postdoctoral researchers have joined the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Three are studying chemical processes affecting New England salt marshes in projects that grew out of the “Nitrogen and Coastal Blue Carbon Research Project” at the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The fourth is studying submarine landslide and tsunami hazards.

Joanna C. Carey at Nag Marsh on Prudence Island, Rhode Island
Above: Joanna C. Carey at Nag Marsh on Prudence Island, Rhode Island (part of the Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve [NBNERR]), in 2011. [larger version]

Joanna C. Carey is working with Jim Tang (Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole), Kevin Kroeger (USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center), and Pam Templer (Boston University) to evaluate how warming affects a range of ecosystem responses. She is conducting warming experiments in New England salt marshes, examining how warming alters greenhouse gas fluxes, soil carbon accretion, and plant phenology (the timing of blooming and other cyclical life events). In addition, Carey is working to synthesize the results of warming experiments across a wide range of biomes (areas with distinctive plant and animal groups, such as grassland or desert). Carey recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Narragansett, Rhode Island, studying the impact of oyster-reef restoration and aquaculture on rates of net denitrification (reduction of nitrate back into the largely inert nitrogen gas). She holds a Ph.D. in Earth sciences from Boston University, where she focused on silicon cycling in temperate salt marsh and river systems. She received a Master of Environmental Science (MESc) degree in environmental science from Yale University in 2007 and a B.S. in environmental policy and planning from Virginia Tech in 2005. Her research focuses on understanding the impact of human activities on biogeochemical cycling at the land-sea-atmosphere interface.

Priya Ganguli measuring basic water-quality parameters
Above: Priya Ganguli measuring basic water-quality parameters (temperature, pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen) at San Gregorio lagoon as part of a study to evaluate seasonal variability in mercury speciation in coastal lagoons along the central California coast. [larger version]

Priya Ganguli completed her Ph.D. in Earth sciences in 2013 at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she studied mercury cycling in aqueous systems. She is now a USGS Postdoctoral Scholar at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), where she is characterizing mercury biogeochemical cycling in salt marsh ponds, with an emphasis on the influence of submarine groundwater discharge (the flow of groundwater into the ocean or lakes through submarine springs or by diffuse flow through sediments). Carl Lamborg (WHOI) and Kevin Kroeger (USGS) are her primary advisors. This mercury study is part of a multidisciplinary project to evaluate carbon sequestration (uptake and storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide) and greenhouse-gas emissions at the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Ganguli is also interested in terrestrial-watershed dynamics. She has been involved in remediation projects at several mine sites in the California Coast Ranges, including the abandoned New Idria and Klau/Buena Vista mercury mines, which are EPA Superfund sites. Between her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, Ganguli was employed as a geologist at the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, where she worked on large-scale mine-site and wetland remediation projects. Ganguli would like to combine her background in science and policy to continue working on multidisciplinary environmental-restoration projects.

Meagan Gonneea sampling groundwater through steel piezometers
Above: Meagan Gonneea sampling groundwater through steel piezometers (removable wells) on the coast of the Strait of Magellan, Chile, to determine how subsurface water flow contributes to seawater chemistry. [larger version]

Meagan Gonneea is a National Science Foundation (NSF) Postdoctoral Fellow working with Kevin Kroeger at the USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center. Gonneea earned a Ph.D. in chemical oceanography from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (MIT/WHOI) Joint Program in September 2013, completing her thesis on seasonal variability in chemical fluxes from within the subterranean estuary (where groundwater and seawater mix) of a coastal aquifer at Waquoit Bay, Massachusetts. She studied with Matt Charette, a senior scientist in marine chemistry and geochemistry at WHOI. Gonneea received an NSF Ocean Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowship to study the impact of sea-level rise and nitrogen enrichment on soil and carbon accretion, and the subsurface cycling of greenhouse gases and carbon in the salt marshes of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Nathan Miller during recovery of an ocean-bottom seismometer on the research vessel (R/V) Marcus Langseth at the Mariana Trench in 2011
Above: Nathan Miller during recovery of an ocean-bottom seismometer on the research vessel (R/V) Marcus Langseth at the Mariana Trench in 2011. These instruments were part of a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded experiment to measure the amount of water being carried into the mantle as the Pacific plate subducts into the trench. [larger version]

Nathan Miller came to the USGS through the Mendenhall Research Fellowship Program. He is working primarily with research geophysicists Uri ten Brink and Daniel Brothers and research geologist Jason Chaytor on seismic characterization of submarine landslide and tsunami hazards. (“Seismic” refers to the use of sound energy to image structures and measure mechanical properties in materials beneath the seafloor.) Miller earned his Ph.D. in geophysics from the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in April 2013. His thesis work focused on early rifting and salt deposition in the Gulf of California, numerical experiments on sediment diapirism (a type of intrusion in which a less dense material, such as sediments, moves upward into denser, overlying rock), and upper-mantle hydration and seismic anisotropy at the Middle America Trench. (Material is considered “anisotropic” if seismic waves move through it faster in some directions than others). Miller is also a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and he is excited about the opportunity to work on projects related to submarine landslides and oceanic margin evolution with scientists from both institutions.

A warm welcome to these new postdocs and the contributions they are making to USGS science!

Related Websites
Nitrogen and Coastal Blue Carbon Research Project
Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
The Impact of Nitrogen-loading on Salt Marsh Greenhouse Gas Fluxes
Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
MIT • WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography/Applied Ocean Science & Engineering
MIT/WHOI Joint Program
Nitrogen Fluxes to Waquoit Bay via Groundwater discharge: Identifying End Member Concentrations
Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Mendenhall Research Fellowship Program

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in this issue:

cover story:
Earthquake, Landslide, and Tsunami Hazards in the Caribbean

Through the Eyes of a Polar Bear—First "Point of View" Video

Spotlight on Sandy
Hurricane Sandy Impacts Did Not Contribute to Subsequent Storm Flooding

New Personnel Study Estuarine Response to Storms

Summer Hires Assist Studies of Coastal Sediment Transport

Tracking Oil—USGS Tools and Analysis Inform Oil-Spill Response

Help Identify Coastal Hazards with Aerial Photographs on "iCoast" Website

Coral Reefs Provide Critical Protection to Coastal Inhabitants

New Postdoctoral Researchers at USGS in Woods Hole, Massachusetts

Summer Intern at USGS in Woods Hole, Massachusetts

Publications New USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Web Pages

Facilitating Identification of Coastal and Undersea Features

May / June Publications

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