Jonathan Sharp, USF


PhD Student, University of South Florida College of Marine Science 

Bio: My path to marine science began in a high school classroom in North Philadelphia. I had decided to take a semester-long marine ecology course, despite my distinct lack of prior oceanographic knowledge. But the field immediately fascinated me, and that spark of interest led to my pursuit of a major in Marine Biology at the University of Miami.

At Miami, I had the magnificent fortune to land an undergraduate research assistant position in the lab of Frank Millero, a prominent marine chemist. Though my studies at the time were biology-focused, I became captivated by ocean chemistry and the various ways we can observe changes in the ocean invisible to the naked eye. I studied ionic interaction models, compositions of high-salinity natural waters, and human-induced changes in ocean chemistry. During my research, I became especially interested in the marine carbonate system—the chemistry of carbon dioxide dissolved in seawater.

These research experiences guided me to the University of South Florida, where I am pursuing a PhD in chemical oceanography. Under the direction of Robert Byrne, I am seeking to develop novel methods to measure parameters of the marine carbonate system. These advances are critical as the continuing human influence on ocean chemistry demands that subtle changes in carbonate parameters be detected. I am also interested in the influence that organic particles like biological cells have on the alkalinity of seawater (basically its ability to neutralize acid).

The 2016 WCOA Cruise will be my first time at sea. I am hoping to master a number of techniques relevant to shipboard carbonate system measurements, and am excited to participate firsthand in the process of building an important oceanographic dataset.

What I’m doing on this cruise: On this cruise, I’ll be measuring pH and carbonate ion concentration in the waters off the west coast of North America. These measurements will provide important calibration data and insight into the rate and extent of ocean acidification occurring in the California Current System.