My current research focuses on the influence of organic matter cycling on the biogeochemical cycling of the (ultra-)trace metals thallium (Tl) and the group of rare earth elements (REE) in coastal environments. These metals are typically not considered to be affected by bio-associated processes. Recent studies, however, indicate their parallel cycling with and accumulation in organic matter in highly productive coastal environments, highlighting their potential to become harmful for coastal ecosystems. Considering the toxic nature of these metals, the anthropogenic alteration of their coastal inventory, as well as their use as oceanic process tracers, knowledge of their biogeochemical cycling is essential.
I combine highly interdisciplinary research approaches of different ecological complexity and temporal resolution to investigate:
- The fate of anthropogenically introduced potentially harmful (ultra-) trace metals (Tl, REE) in coastal ocean compartments
- The impact/imprint of organic matter cycling – with respect to the living and non-living fraction of the OM pool – on trace metal, in particular Tl and REE, concentration patterns.