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Dr. Chris OsburnAssociate Professor
Tel. (919) 515-0382
4150 Jordan Hall
Curriculum Vitae
Research web site

B.A., Geological Sciences, Indiana University, 1995

B.S., Public Affairs (Environmental Science & Management), Indiana University, 1991

Ph.D., Lehigh University, 2000

I am interested primarily in the biogeochemistry of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in surface waters both fresh and salty.  Current and past research efforts have examined DOM, in numerous estuaries on both US coasts, in the western Canadian Arctic (Mackenzie River and Beaufort Sea), in the coastal waters of Denmark, and in saline lakes in the West Central US.  The comparative analysis of multiple and diverse systems is critical to my research effort.

I have two main research goals: understanding organic matter sources and its transformation in the larger context of regional carbon cycling.  In understanding DOM sources, I employ carbon stable isotope measurements, organic geochemical biomarkers (e.g., lignin), and spectroscopic techniques (uv-visible absorption and fluorescence).  In understanding DOM transformations, I have focused on photochemical degradation of DOM because this serves as a major transition of organic C to inorganic C (mostly as CO2).   This research has been connected to remote sensing of surface waters, anthropogenic effects on coastal systems, and global climate change.

Future research efforts will extend into the biogeochemistry of pore water DOM in surface sediments.  In addition, I am interested in understanding carbon flux between dissolved and particulate phases, especially in transition areas between fresh water and salt water (the pycnocline) and between surface sediments and overlying waters (the benthic nepheloid layer).  Critical to these studies will be high resolution measurement and processing of biogeochemical data.  Multivariate statistical techniques and geospatial analysis will be necessary additions to my research effort.

My current teaching duties include Earth Systems Chemistry and Organic Geochemistry.  I plan to develop courses in Geological Limnology and Arctic Ocean Biogeochemistry.  In these courses, I want students to appreciate how data collection, manipulation, and interpretation all contribute to an understanding of concepts and principles.

Osburn, C.L., O’Sullivan, D.W., and Boyd, T.J. (accepted) Estuarine mixing increases the photoreactivity of freshwater colored dissolved organic matter in the Chesapeake Bay.  Limnology and Oceanography.

Montgomery, M. T., Osburn, C. L., Furukawa, Y., Ziebis, W., Mahn, C., and Gieskes, J. M.  (in press).  Increased capacity for PAH mineralization in biologically-mixed estuarine sediments.  Environmental Monitoring and Assessment.

Tzortziou, M., Neale, P.J., Osburn, C.L., Megonigal, P.J., Maie, N., and Jaffe, R. (2008) Tidal marshes as a source of optically and chemically distinctive colored dissolved organic matter in the Chesapeake Bay.  Limnology and Oceanography, 53: 148-149.

Vallières, C., L. Retamal, P. Ramlal, C.L. Osburn, and W.F. Vincent. (in press) Bacterial production and microbial food web structure in a large arctic river and the coastal Arctic Ocean. Journal of Marine Systems.

Osburn, C. L. and St-Jean, G. (2007) Stable isotope analysis of dissolved organic carbon in seawater using TOC-IRMS.  Limnology and Oceanography: Methods, 5: 296-308.

Retamal, L., Vincent, W.F., Martineau, C., and Osburn, C.L. (2007) Comparison of the optical properties of dissolved organic matter in two river-influenced coastal regions of the Canadian Arctic.  Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science., doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2006.10.022.

Tzortziou, M., Osburn, C.L. and P. J. Neale. (2007) Photobleaching of dissolved organic material from a tidal marsh-estuarine system of the Chesapeake Bay. Photochemistry and Photobiology. 83: 782-792.

Boyd, T. J., Osburn, C. L., Johnson, K. J., Birgl, K. B., & Coffin, R. B. (2006). Compound-specific isotope analysis coupled with multivariate statistics to source-apportion hydrocarbon mixtures. Environmental Science and Technology, 40: 1916-1924.

O’Sullivan, D. W., Neale, P. J., Coffin, R. B., Boyd, T. J., and Osburn, C. L. (2005) Photochemical production of hydrogen peroxide and methylhydroperoxide in coastal waters.  Marine Chemistry, 97: 14-33.

Boyd, T. J. and Osburn, C. L.  (2004). Changes in CDOM fluorescence from allochthonous and autochthonous sources during tidal mixing and bacterial degradation in two coastal estuaries, Marine Chemistry, 89: 189-210.

Osburn, C. L.
and Morris, D. P. (2003).  Photochemistry of chromophoric dissolved organic matter in natural waters, In: UV Effects in Aquatic Organisms and Ecosystems, Hebling, W. E. and Zagarese, H. E. (eds.), Royal Society of Chemistry, 500 pp.


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