Our research focuses on the role of seafloor processes in ocean chemical cycles, the biogeochemical influences of hypoxia and anoxia, and new electrochemical tools for ocean observing networks. Over the last few years we have adopted the eddy correlation method as our approach to studying benthic oxygen exchange. These benthic fluxes represent the rate that oxygen dissolved in seawater is consumed (or produced) by the biological community at the seafloor. Essential to eddy correlation measurements are reliable, fast responding, low noise, and fully calibrated oxygen sensors (microelectrodes). These sensors are made in our lab and deployed with supporting equipment on benthic landers.
We have recently collaborated with the Venus Observatory operated by University of Victoria researchers. A designated Venus eddy correlation system, the MicroSquid, developed by Rockland Scientific was deployed in Saanich Inlet, BC in August 2012. The system collected oxygen benthic flux data through spring of 2013.
Our group also continues to develop and evaluate revolutionary benthic microbial fuel cells (BMFCs) - devices designed as self-refueling power sources for fixed seafloor sensors. We have demonstrated powering sonar modem/chemical sensor systems by unattended BMFCs at water depths ranging from 10-1000 m. We are investigating the microbial communities and chemistries that enable electron transfer in these systems.