Skidaway Institute of Oceanography
Research About US Education Faculty Publications R/V Savannah
Dr. C. Alexander; Dr. H.L. Windom; Dr. J.G. Sanders

The Sedimentological Research group studies processes and products of sedimentation, dominantly in the fine-grained environments of estuarine, coastal and continental margin regions. We use a suite of naturally occurring and anthropogenic radionuclides to study the rates of sedimentary processes: 234Th and 7Be for processes on 3-8 month time scales, 210Pb and 137Cs for processes on 30-100 year time scales and 14C for processes on 1000 year time scales. Using these tools, we can examine biological mixing rates, flood sedimentation, sediment accumulation on a variety of time scales, and the record of anthropogenic impact on the coastal zone.

We also look at sediment texture (grain size) as an indicator of sediment delivery processes, sources and environmental energy. Lastly, we examine sedimentary structure in cores using x-radiography and thin-section microstratigraphy to determine the signatures of these various processes in the sediment record and to determine the degree to which biological mixing has influenced geochemical profiles.

Studies have been carried out in many parts of the world, including the northern and central Yellow Sea, Korean tidal flats, Siberian Arctic estuaries, Northern and Southern California slope and rise, and Georgia estuaries.

Dr. J. G. Sanders
Biogeochemical research underway seeks to understand the interactions between biologically reactive elements and organisms. In particular, Sanders is interested in how the chemical structure of metalloids such as arsenic and selenium and important trace metals such as copper, silver and cadmium influence their reactions with phytoplankton and microbes, how biochemical reactions within the cell influence the toxicity of these elements, and in determining their ultimate fate within marine systems.
Concentrations of dissolved Arsenic and its major chemical forms in a transect along the estuarine Patuxent River at two seasons, winter and summer.

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