My collaboration with Dr. Bill Martin began when I was a post doctoral scholar at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (November 2000 – October 2002). I worked extensively with Bill to study the controls on trace metal mobility in the environment, particularly in coastal areas off Massachusetts.
Prior to my move to F&M, Bill and I were funded by the National Science Foundation to continue our work on metals in coastal sediments. The purpose of this proposal was to advance the utility of uranium (U), rhenium (Re) and molybdenum (Mo) as paleoredox tracers (tracers for past reducing conditions) in marine sediments by improving our mechanistic understanding of their sinks, sources and geochemical cycling in modern sediments. We completed seasonal sampling in Buzzards Bay, off Massachusetts, for March and August 2003 and August 2004. This sampling included in situ oxygen microelectrode profiles, sediment core retrieval for both conventional sampling and polyacrylamide gel probe incubations, and replicate modified benthic chambers that kept enclosed waters oxygenated during deployment and sampling. The impact of seasonal bioturbation and non-diffusive transport (irrigation) were investigated in Buzzards Bay, a non-sulfidic site, and compared to results from a sulfidic site in Hingham Bay. Some of this work was recently published (Morford et al., 2007) and a manuscript is currently in preparation that will detail the remainder of our results.
Fieldwork is incredibly labor intensive and continues from the time the samples arrive (often in the early afternoon for coastal work) until the sampling is completed (often in the early hours of the next morning). Because we do not want conditions in the sediment cores to change prior to sampling, we endeavor to keep the samples under conditions similar to their in situ conditions, which means sampling in a cold room at 4°C and working with samples in large nitrogen-filled glove bags. Analyses, which are time sensitive, must then be completed the following day. I have been fortunate to have several F&M undergraduates (Melissa Reinard '03, Sarah Gallagher '04, Gloria Yen '06 and Elizabeth Herrle '06) accompany me to Woods Hole and assist in supply preparation, sampling and analysis. Gloria also returned to WHOI with me to use the ICP-MS facility (http://www.whoi.edu/science/MCG/plasma-facility/) for sample analyses.
When we had a free moment, F&M students were able to attend lectures at Woods Hole (and find wonderful seafood dinners on the Cape!).