Welcome to the Chappaz research group website! Our main investigation topic is the geochemistry of trace metals in the environment. More specifically, we explore the geochemical cycling of trace metals through experimental geochemistry, analysis of diverse natural materials, and transport-reaction modeling. Our aim is to explore the molecular processes involved in the biogeochemical cycles of trace elements. By using these integrative approaches, we want to improve our understanding of the paleo-environmental implications of trace-element behavior, such as their potential to illuminate how the chemistry of Earth’s surface has changed through geologic time, as well as the implications for modern societies—including environmental chemistry and identification of anthropogenic sources. Our new lab facilities, GEM lab (Geochemistry – Environment – Metal), are being remodeled and will be ready for May 2013.
Meghan Wagner recently started a postdoc within the GEM Lab. She earned her B.S. in Chemistry from Indiana University. After her graduation, she served as a Science Resource Volunteer with the Peace Corps in South Africa. Following this amazing experience, Meghan went on to complete her M.S. in Chemistry and Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Michigan. Her Ph.D. work focused on developing Ag as a novel proxy for diatom paleoproductivity, and investigating trace metal enrichments in Southern Ocean sediments. Meghan aims to use her training in both inorganic chemistry and earth science to bridge the gap between the two disciplines. Her research in the GEM lab explores the relationship between Mo and organic matter with the goal of developing a better understanding of how Mo is delivered to and retained in sediments in order to more accurately interpret Mo as a paleoredox proxy.
Currently in Florence Italy, the world largest geochemistry conference of geochemistry (Goldschmidt Conference) is gathering thousand of geoscientists presenting their latest research. A talk given by Dr. Benner (Westheimer Institute of Science and Technology, US) attracted a lot of attention.
He presented new hypothesis that life in the solar system may have begun on Mars billions years ago. More details about this original research can be found on the BBC website.
His whole theory is based on results that suggest minerals containing the elements boron and molybdenum are key in assembling atoms into life-forming molecules. Molybdenum is a unique trace metal since it is required for nitrogen assimilation for all life forms on Earth.
Dr. Anthony Chappaz is a recognized expert on molybdenum geochemistry and is also presenting some new results on how Mo can be used to reconstruct the rise of oxygen concentration in the ancient ocean at the same conference with colleagues from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) and Princeton University.
Next month, a new postdoctoral researcher will join Chappaz research group (the GEM Lab) to investigate Mo geochemistry under low oxygen conditions. In the light of Dr. Benner’s presentation, this project, funded by NSF, could bring new insights on how life may have started.
As a member of a collaborative effort with Dr. Michael Twiss (Clarkson University) and Dr. Nathaniel Ostrom (MSU), Dr. Anthony Chappaz participated to an EPA research cruise aboard the Lake Guardian vessel to collect samples from Lake Ontario. This project funded by the NY Sea Grant agency aims to look at the nitrogen and trace metals cycles in relationships with the phytoplankton communities.Lake Guardian vessel Dr Twiss and Dr Chappaz