Division of Marine Science faculty conduct research across a broad spectrum of sub-disciplines
including data assimilation, ocean optics, coastal and marine sedimentology, micropaleontology, ocean productivity, remote sensing, acoustics, ocean modeling, molecular ecology, and biogeochemistry.
See the faculty associated with our interdisciplinary research themes or find more information below.
Research Centers and Laboratory/Project Websites
Undersea Vehicles Technology Center (of NIUST, The National Institute for Undersea
Science and Technology)
The Consortium for Oil Exposure Pathways in Coastal River-Dominated Ecosystems (CONCORDE)
is a three-year $11 million grant funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative
to explore the effects of oiling events in nearshore waters. The USM Division of Marine
Science is the lead institution on the project.
You can learn more about CONCORDE by visiting their website at con-corde.org.
Current faculty includes scientists who have been educated at the top oceanographic
institutions in the world (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Woods Hole Oceanographic
Institution, Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Texas A&M University, University of
Hawaii, University of Wales, University of Rhode Island).
Our talented faculty is competitive on a national scale in obtaining research funds,
allowing faculty members and students to participate in a variety of national and
international projects. For example, DMS faculty are involved in research projects
sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Ocean Drilling Program, the Naval Research Laboratory, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, the Department of Energy, and the Office of Naval Research, among others.
Projects deal with environments as disparate as the Southern Ocean near Antarctica
to the marshes of coastal MS, LA, and TX. DMS faculty includes a past winner of the
American Geophysical Union's Sverdrup Prize and a recent recipient of a U.S. Department
of Interior Appreciation Award. A recent National Science Foundation research grant
to a DMS faculty member has allowed the division to become one of a select number
of U.S. academic institutions possessing specialized mass spectrometric equipment
for ultra-trace element determinations.
Special Research Equipment
The Division of Marine Science has certain research facilities that warrant special
mention because of the extraordinary research opportunities these items provide:
Element XR: High Resolution Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometer (HR-ICP-MS) This instrument uses a radio frequency coil to turn a stream of argon gas into a
high energy plasma. An ICP is an efficient means of generating ions from a sample
aspirated into the plasma. Many labs today have an ICP emission spectrometer-a device
that looks optically at the plasma to quantify elements present in the aspirated sample.
These ICP emission spectrometers have detection limits in the ppm to ppb range, depending
on the element.
Since 1984, ICP's have been coupled with mass spectrometers, which are one of the
most sensitive ion analyzers/ detectors available. Most ICP-MS instruments utilize
a quadrupole mass spectrometer and have a sensitivity in the low ppb range for many
elements. Recently, a new type of ICP-MS has become available that utilizes a high
resolution (i.e., double focusing, sector field) mass spectrometer: hence, high resolution
inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry or HR-ICP-MS. The high resolution mass
spectrometer allows many interferences to be distinguished and in most cases provides
detection limits in the parts-per-trillion (ppt) to parts-per-quadrillion (ppq) range.
Many isotope ratios can be determined to better than ±0.1%.
Benthos Open Frame ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) system: This ROV is capable of operating to a depth of 300m and is equipped with an Insite
Scorpio digital camera and a Deep Sea Power and Light collimated strobe illumination
system configured for imaging marine snow aggregates. There is also, an ORE Trackpoint
II acoustic navigation system, Imagenex 881A sector scanning sonar, tether reel with
slip rings, a control/shipping van and associated equipment.
International Submarine Engineering (ISE) Autonomous Undersea Vehicle (AUV) “Eagle Ray”: This AUV system was purchased by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) for use in seafloor mapping and for projects aimed at developing new technologies,
sensors, or techniques. The vehicle is capable of diving to 2,200m and travelling
at speeds up to 5 knots during dives lasting as long as 24 hours. It derives its navigation
at the surface using GPS but, once submerged, it uses a combined inertial and acoustic/Doppler
(Kearfott SeaDeViL) system for totally autonomous navigation. Bathymetric data are
obtained using a Simrad EM2000 200kHz multibeam echosounder.
Webb Research Slocum glider: This glider is gravity-propelled and is capable of covering over 100km in a single
mission. It is equipped with wings and a buoyancy regulating system. To move forward,
it makes itself heavy and begins to sink but the wings act to propel it forward as
it descends on a diagonal path. When it reaches a predetermined depth, it makes itself
buoyant and again moves forward as it rises. By repeatedly yo-yoing like this, the
glider can navigate for long distances, deriving its position fixes from GPS while
at the surface. The glider is equipped with standard CTD sensors as well as optical
sensors for measuring optical backscatter and chlorophyll fluorescence. Data are acquired
continuously when the glider is in motion, producing two-dimensional records of the
distribution of the measured parameters.