Department Faculty

Phoebe J. Lam
  • Pronouns she, her, her, hers, herself
  • Title
    • Associate Professor
  • Division Physical & Biological Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Ocean Sciences Department
    • Institute of Marine Sciences
  • Phone
    831-459-4587 (office)
  • Email
  • Fax
    831-459-4882 (department)
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Earth & Marine Sciences, A446
  • Mail Stop Ocean Sciences
  • Mailing Address
    • 1156 High Street
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise Oceanography, Geochemistry
  • Courses OCEA 80B, OCEA 220, OCEA 121, OCEA 122, ESCI 191
  • Advisees, Grad Students, Researchers Jong-Mi Lee, Vinicius Jose Amaral, Allison Laubach, Katherine Chang Mateos

Summary of Expertise

Particle geochemistry, biological carbon pump, cycling of trace elements and isotopes, chemical oceanography

Research Interests

I am a “marine particle geochemist” interested in the role that marine particles play in the biogeochemical cycling of major and minor elements in the ocean such as carbon, iron, and other trace elements. This includes the factors affecting the efficiency of the biological carbon pump; the past and current role of iron in stimulating primary production; the chemical speciation and bioavailability of marine particulate iron; the role of major particle composition on particle export (the ballast hypothesis) and on trace metal scavenging; and much more! I am actively involved in the International GEOTRACES program, which is greatly expanding our understanding of the cycling of trace elements in the ocean, and revealing new questions about the role of particles every day.

Our standard mode of operation is to collect size-fractionated marine particles from the water column, and analyze their composition using a range of wet geochemical (e.g., ICP-MS) and spectroscopic (e.g., synchrotron x-ray absorption spectroscopy) techniques. We are constantly expanding our toolkit in collaboration with colleagues specializing in modeling (e.g., using inverse methods to study scavenging and particle dynamics), isotope geochemistry (e.g., using Nd isotopes to study provenance, or Cd and Zn isotopes to study biological uptake and remineralization), or radiochemistry (e.g., using 234Th-238U disequilibrium to measure particle export flux) to deepen our understanding of the role of particles in the marine environment.

Click here to see a video of in-situ pumps and 30L Niskin bottles being recovered on the Eastern Pacific Zonal Transect GEOTRACES cruise, and here to zoom in on the filter holder recovery (where the size-fractionated particles are collected).

Biography, Education and Training

Associate Professor, Ocean Sciences, UCSC

Assistant Professor, Ocean Sciences, UCSC

Scientific Staff, Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, WHOI

Postdoctoral Scholar, Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, WHOI
Ph.D. Earth and Planetary Science, University of California, Berkeley
M.A. Geosciences, Princeton University
S.B. Environmental Engineering Science, MIT

Selected Publications

See google scholar for complete list of publications.

Teaching Interests

OCEA80B: Our Changing Planet

OCEA121: Aqueous Geochemistry

OCEA122: Chemical Oceanography (undergrad)

OCEA220: Chemical Oceanography (grad)