Damian is a biogeochemical oceanographer whose research primarily focuses on marine nitrogen cycling. Using various methods that include natural abundance isotope measurements and 15N tracer techniques, Damian investigates how various environmental conditions impact the production rates and pathways of different nitrogen cycling processes.
Some of Damian’s past work has included research investigating how different environmental conditions impact new vs. regenerated primary production and nitrification, as well as the implications of euphotic zone nitrification for estimates of new production and carbon export via the biological pump. This work has been conducted across a range of oceanographic regimes, including the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study (BATS) station in the Sargasso Sea, and coastal and open-ocean regions of the subarctic Pacific.
More recently, Damian’s work has focused on extreme oxygen minimum zones (e.g. eastern tropical South Pacific and low oxygen eddies in the eastern tropical North Atlantic) in order to better understand the oxygen thresholds which 1) induce substantial increases in the production of the atmospheric warming and ozone destroying gas nitrous oxide, and 2) cause shifts in the predominant nitrous oxide production pathways. Results from this work will allow us to better predict the magnitude by which marine nitrous oxide production may increase under future oxygen conditions in the ocean.
With the potential for future ocean conditions to alter the composition of marine phytoplankton communities and their distributions, Damian is also interested in conducting field studies to better understand how different phytoplankton groups may respond to potential changes in marine environmental conditions (e.g. warming and increased fixed nitrogen losses). This will provide insights into how higher trophic level production and carbon export may respond to future ocean conditions.
Damian joined BIOS following appointments as a Postdoctoral Scholar and Research Scientist at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany. Prior to this Damian completed Ph.D. and M.Sc. degrees at the University of Victoria, Canada, and a B.Sc. Honors degree at the University of Tasmania, Australia. During his graduate work, Damian conducted a number of trips to BIOS to conduct work related to his Ph.D. research, and he was also involved in the Ocean Flux Program (OFP) time-series in the Sargasso Sea.