People: Faculty: Oscar Schofield

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Oscar Schofield
Professor Bio-Optical Oceanography 

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What motivates me?
The oceans are changing in our lifetimes and this has profound implications for the next generation. At the same time, the United States has produced too few scientists and engineers, which will greatly impact our countries ability to compete in the global workplace. I believe that oceanography is a great vehicle to excite the next generation of scientists/engineers, as it remains a harsh and unexplored realm, full of adventure. The new technologies being developed and deployed in the ocean will allow anyone in the world to explore the ocean with me, if they have internet access and a desire to take part in those adventures. This will be a fundamental change in how ocean exploration and research will be conducted, which is critical as the changes in the ocean are occurring more rapidly than expected. So my hope is we can excite the next generation of leaders for our nation while simultaneously exploring some of the harshest and most unexplored environments on Earth.

Research Interests
I am a biological oceanographer, interested in understanding how the ocean physics and chemistry regulates plankton ecology. In turn, I am interested in how these plankton dynamics structure marine food webs and feeds back on the ocean’s biogeochemistry. I believe this is an important research topic as the oceans have shown dramatic changes in the recent decades and these changes will impact the Earth in many ways we do yet understand.

Research Approach
I have a two-pronged research approach for my work: First, I believe a mechanistic understanding of the phytoplankton cell biology is key to understanding their success in the ocean. Therefore I conduct laboratory experiments using genetic and biochemical techniques to understand the cellular physiology for the diverse phytoplankton taxa found in the oceans. Second, I believe we must go to sea to corroborate laboratory work with what is actually happening in the oceans. Unfortunately, the oceans are chronically under-sampled and therefore I believe new technologies must be used to study the ocean. These new technologies include satellites, radars, and ocean robots. These systems must be coupled to numerical food web models.

page.png Curriculum Vitae


user.pngCurrent PostDocs: Grace Saba

Former PostDocs: Mark Moline, Yu Gao, Elena Litchmann, Antonietta.Quigg, Lin Jhang, Mathew Oliver, Bronwyn Cahill, Renato Castelao, Martin Montes-Hugo, Alex Kahl

Current Grad Students: Xu Yi, Travis Miles, Mike Garzio, Nicole Cuorto, Christian Laber, Felipa Carnevale

Former Grad Students: Joe Grzymski (PhD), Patricia Shaheen (MS), Trisha Bergmann (PhD), Zoe Finkel (PhD), Felisa Wolfe (PhD), Matthew Oliver (PhD), Meenal Gogte (MS), Alex Kahl (PhD), Rachael Sipler (PhD)


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