Started June 2013, the Gagnon Lab studies how ocean acidification and other changes to seawater chemistry impact calcifying organisms and biogeochemical cycles.

Our lab is focused on chemical-scale mechanisms in oceanography.  We then apply this small-scale understanding to explain global patterns.  For example, we study skeletal growth to explain why marine calcifiers exhibit divergent sensitivities to ocean acidification.  Other projects use this mechanistic understanding of biomineralization to improve paleoproxies.  We are also developing new ways to use natural abundance isotopes, developing methods, for example, that harness these signatures to map the dynamic balance between mineral dissolution and calcification in reef environments and deep-sea sediments.

The ROV Hercules, operated by the Institute for Exploration, is one of several tools used to collect deep-sea coral.

Operationally, the lab uses a combination of geochemical tools like mass spectrometry together with biological culture and modeling.  There is also a field component to many projects.  For example, collecting deep-sea coral for paleorecords often involves manned or unmanned deep-sea submersibles.

You can learn more about ongoing research in the Gagnon Lab using the menus above.