Jennifer L Morford Charles A. Dana Professor of Chemistry

Office Location: Hackman 306 (HAC306)



B.S. Boston College

Ph.D. University of Washington

Postdoctoral Scholar, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2000-2002

Postdoctoral Investigator, University of Washington, 2000

Professional Service

Committee on Undergraduate Research - Chemistry Councilor (2021 - 2024); Vice-chair (2023 - 2024)

Intercollegiate Student Chemists Convention - Executive Secretary (2018 - present)


My research focuses on better understanding trace metal cycling in marine environments. For example, molybdenum (Mo) accumulation in ocean sediments is widely used as a proxy for conditions during sediment deposition to draw conclusions about paleoclimates and modern dead-zone formation. However, the accurate interpretation of Mo accumulation requires an understanding of the conditions that are conducive to Mo precipitation and retention in the solid phase. Because of the complexity of environmental samples, my research group uses careful lab experiments to approximate the marine environment. We synthesize single mineral phases in the laboratory to study the different controls and conditions that result in trace metal retention in the solid phase. Extrapolating from our experimental work allows us to better understand and interpret metal sequestration in marine sediments under various conditions.

My students work on projects that intersect analytical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, materials science, and geochemistry. Students in my research group gain experience in experimental design, synthesis and various characterization techniques.

Grants & Awards

2022 Charles A. Dana Professor of Chemistry 

2021 Christian R. and Mary E. Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching

2020-present Project Co-Director for the F&M Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) IE3 Learning Community

2022-2025  National Science Foundation, Marine Geology and Geophysics, “RUI: Where does all the Mo go? Evaluating the role of iron sulfides in Mo accumulation in marine sediments” 

2017-2023 National Science Foundation, Sedimentary Geology and Paleobiology, Collaborative Research: Tracking middle to late Paleozoic global-ocean redox conditions using U isotopes in marine carbonates” 

2017-2022 American Chemical Society, Petroleum Research Fund, “Influence of iron sulfide phase on the incorporation of Mo in marine sediments”

2017-2019 National Science Foundation, Chemistry, “MRI: Acquisition of a low-voltage TEM to enable materials chemistry training at Central Pennsylvania PUIs” 

2017-2018 American Philosophical Society Franklin Research Grant, “Characterization of iron sulfide phases after reaction with molybdenum”

2009-2011 National Science Foundation, Division of Earth Sciences, “MRI: Acquisition of New and Upgraded Equipment for Critical Zone Laboratory at a Research-Intensive Undergraduate College” 

2008-2011 American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund, “A laboratory investigation of the mechanisms of molybdenum accumulation in the solid phase: The influence of organic molecules.” 

2004-2007 Research Corporation, “Investigating the utility of silver and rhenium as complementary tracers for changing reducing conditions.” 

2002-2006 National Science Foundation, Chemical Oceanography Division, “The geochemistry of U, Re and Mo in margin and coastal sediments”


1999 - Present

(Undergraduate student coauthor are in bold.)

Elrick, M.; Gilleaudeau, G. J.; Romaniello, S. J.; Algeo, T. J.; Morford, J. L.; Sabbatino, M.; Goepfert, T. J.; Cleal, C.; Cascales-Minana, B.; Chernyavskiy P. Major Early-Middle Devonian oceanic oxygenation linked to early land plant evolution detected using high-resolution U isotopes of marine limestones. EPSL, 2022, 581, 117410 (

Miller, N.; Dougherty, M.; Du, R.; Sauers, T.; Yan, C.; Pines, J. E.; Meyers, K. L.; Dang, Y. M.; Nagle, E.; Ni, Z.; Pungsrisai, T.; Wetherington, M. T.; Vorlicek, T. P.; Plass, K. E.; Morford, J. L. Adsorption of tetrathiomolybdate to iron sulfides and its impact on iron sulfide transformations. ACS Earth and Space Chemistry 2020, 4(12), 2246-2260 DOI: 10.1021/acsearthspacechem.0c00176.

Algeo, T.J.; Owens, J.D.; Morford, J.L.; Dickson, A.J. New developments in geochemical proxies for paleoceanographic research. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 2020 287, 1-7. (

Morford Jennifer L, Redox-Sensitive Metals, 2019. In Cochran, J. Kirk; Bokuniewicz, J. Henry; Yager, L. Patricia (eds.) Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences, 3rd Edition, vol.[1], pp. 323-328. Oxford: Elsevier.

Olson, L.; Quinn, K.A.; Siebecker, M.G.; Luther, G.W.; Hastings, D.; Morford, J.L. Trace metal diagenesis in sulfidic sediments: Insights from Chesapeake Bay. Chemical Geology 2017, 452, 47-59.

Andersen, M. B.; Vance, D.;  Morford, J. L.; Bura-Nakic, E.; Breitenbach, S.F.M. ; Och, L. Closing in on the marine 238U/235U budget. Chemical Geology 2016, 420, 11–22.

Freund, C.;  Wishard, A.; Brenner, R.; Sobel, M.; Mizelle, J.; Kim, A.; Meyer, D. A.; Morford,J. L. The effect of a thiol-containing organic molecule on molybdenum adsorption onto pyrite. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 2016, 174, 222-235.

Hastings, D.W.; Schwing, P.T.; Brooks, G.R.; Larson, R.A.; Morford, J.L.; Roeder, T.; Quinn, K.A.; Bartlett, T.; Romero, I.C.; Hollander, D.J. Changes in sediment redox conditions following the BP DWH blowout event. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography 2016, 129, 167-178. [Available online]

Yoder, C. H.; Christie, E. L.; Morford, J. L. 95Mo NMR study of the effect of structure on complexation of molybdate with alpha and beta hydroxyl carboxylic acid igands. Polyhedron 2016, 114, 23-28.

Brenner, R. K.; Hess, K. R.; Morford, J. L. Understanding Electrophoresis through the Investigation of Size, Shape and Charge of pH Indicators.  J. Chem Ed  2015, 92 (10), 1705-1708. DOI:10.1021/ed500223d. 

Algeo, T.J.; Morford, J. L.; Cruse, A. New Applications of Trace Metals as Proxies in Marine Paleoenvironments. Chemical Geology 2012, 306–307, 160–164.

Morford, J.L.; Martin, W.R.; Carney, C.M. Rhenium Geochemical Cycling: Insights from Continental Margins. Chemical Geology 2012, 324-325, 73-86.

Morford, J.L.; Martin, W.R.; François, R.; Carney, C.M. A Model for Uranium, Rhenium and Molybdenum Diagenesis in Marine Sediments Based on Results from Coastal Locations. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 2009, 73, 2938-2960.

Morford, J.L.; Martin, W.R.; Carney ,C.M. Uranium Diagenesis in Sediments Underlying Bottom Waters with High Oxygen Content. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 2009, 73, 2920-2937.

Morford, J.L.; Kalnejais, L.; Helman, P.; Yen, G.; Reinard, M. Geochemical Cycling of Silver in Marine Sediments Along an Offshore Transect. Marine Chemistry 2008, 110, 77-88.

Morford, J.; Martin, W.; Kalnejais, L.; Francois, R.; Bothner, M.; Karle, I.-M. Insights on Geochemical Cycling and Diagenesis of U, Re and Mo from Pore Water Profiles and Benthic Chambers from Seasonal Sampling in Hingham Bay, Massachusetts, U.S.A. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 2007, 71(4), 895-917. [Download publication]

Morford, J.L.; Emerson, S.R. ; Breckel, E.J.;  Kim, S.H. Diagenesis of Oxyanions (V, U, Re, and Mo) in Pore Waters and Sediments from a Continental Margin. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 2005, 69(21), 5021-5032.

Morford, J.;  Kalnejais, L.; Martin, W.; Francois, F.; Karle, I.-M.  Sampling Marine Pore Waters for Mn, Fe, U, Re, and Mo: Modifications on DET (Diffusional Equilibration Thin Film) Gel Probes. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 2003, 285-286, 85-103.

Viollier, E.; Rabouille, C.; Apitz, S.E.; Breuer, E.; Chaillou, G.; Dedieu, K.; Furakawa, Y.; Grenz, C.; Hall, P.; Janssen, F.; Morford, J.L.; Poggiale ,J.-C.; Roberts, S.; Shimmield, T.; Taillefert, M.; Tengberg, A.; Wenzhofer, F.; Witte, U. In situ Assessment of Benthic Biogeochemistry: State of the Art Technologies and Guidelines for the Future. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 2003, 285-286, 5-31.

Archer, D.; Morford, J.; Emerson, S. A Model of Suboxic Sedimentary Diagenesis Suitable for Automatic Tuning and Gridded Global Domains. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 2002, 16(1).

Morford, J.; Russell, A.; Emerson, S. Authigenic Metal Concentrations Across LithologicTransitions from Terrigenous Clay to Diatomaceous Sediment in Saanich Inlet, British Columbia, Canada. Marine Geology 2001, 174, 355-369.

Russell, A.; Morford, J. The Behavior of Redox-sensitive Metals Across a Laminated-massive-laminated Transition in Saanich Inlet, British Columbia. Marine Geology 2001, 174, 341-354.

Schaller, T.; Morford, J.; Emerson, S.; Feely, R. Oxyanions in Metalliferous Sediments: Tracers for Paleoseawater Metal Concentrations. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 2000, 63(13), 2243-2254.

Morford, J.; Emerson, S. Geochemistry of Redox Sensitive Trace Metals in Sediments. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 1999 63(11/12), 1735-1750

Courses Taught

CHM 111 - General Chemistry I: Picturing the Atomic World, Lecture & Lab

CHM 112 - General Chemistry II: Reactions in the Atomic World, Lecture & Lab

CHM 221 - Chemical Analysis & Lab

CHM 342 - Environmental Chemistry

In the News

F&M Joins 14 Institutions in Unique Science and Math Collaborative

Professor Embraces 'Uncomfortable' in Learning

Common Hour presentation: Thinking about mentorship: We know it's important but how does it work?