About Edward Boyle

Edward Boyle, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, 2014 Urey Award medallist

My main job description is marine geochemist, using trace element chemistry and isotopic composition to understand how elements move through the ocean, the role trace elements play in biogeochemical cycling, and how they have varied through time due to natural (ice age cycles) and anthropogenic forcing, using corals and fossils in sediments. Over the years, this work has led me into related areas, including ice core chemistry and river and estuarine chemistry. The work involves devising new sampling techniques for contamination-free sampling of trace metals in the ocean, and more efficient methods for trace metal analyses on small samples. My research group and I spend a fair amount of time at sea (I have been out at sea for two years of my life). Examples include studies of natural cadmium in the ocean and carbonate fossils, investigations into the nature (colloidal vs. soluble) and distribution of iron in the ocean, studies demonstrating anthropogenic inputs of metals into southern Spain coastal waters and the Mediterranean Sea, and documenting the fate of anthropogenic Pb in the marine environment during the past three decades. This includes work on stable (Fe and Zn) and radiogenic (Pb) isotope ratios. Following these paths has also led me to consider the role of the ocean and evolving ocean chemistry in forcing atmospheric carbon dioxide changes.

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