The Berelson Lab
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Connecting Geochemical Cycles


The work that goes on in my lab encompasses a wide spectrum of topics but aims to ultimately connect geochemical cycles and budgets to the microbiological agents involved and, ultimately, to the rock record.

Much of my research involves studies of chemical fluxes to the sea floor and across this boundary. Capturing fluxes through he water column involve the use of sediment traps; fluxes across the sea floor involve the use of benthic chambers and pore water diagenetic models. Analysis of the solid phase helps link oceanographic biogeochemistry with the rock record. Fluxes and reactions involving O, C, N, CaCO3, bSi, Fe and S (and their isotopes) are among those that I work on. Most of my students have an opportunity to join an oceanographic research cruise and/or participate in various forms of field research. Recent (2009-2011) field study areas include: Eastern Tropical South Pacific Ocean off Peru/Chile; Western Tropical North Atlantic Ocean off the Amazon River plume; Gulf of Mexico zone of hypoxia and slope; San Pedro/Santa Monica Basin OMZ and sediments; Yellowstone National Park Hot Springs; Walker Lake, NV; Zaca Lake, CA; Monterey Formation, CA; Green River Formation, WY

I am affiliated with many groups at USC including the Geobiology, Geochemistry and Climate programs in Earth Sciences, Marine Environmental Biology; Molecular Biology; Physics and Engineering.

My lab combines standard geologic and inorganic chemical analytical facilities with some novel geochemical instrumentation including: gas separation high vacuum lines, NOx Analyzer, Membrane Inlet Mass Spectrometer, microfluidics experimental systems, microbial respirometers, a benchtop environmental SEM with EDS, a Picarro C isotope CRDS analyzer.

I teach graduate courses in carbonate chemistry and sedimentology, marine sedimentary geochemistry and seminars in geobiology.

I have been a director of the International GeoBiology Summer Course (2002-2009) and remain involved with this training course, one that has had a profound impact on the growth and development of this field.