Biogeochemistry refers to the microbially-mediated chemistry of the earth. On our living planet, if a chemical reaction is thermodynamically feasible, and its wet, then there is a nearly 100% chance that a microbe exists to carry out that reaction and harvest the energy released from it. Biogeochemists study the gamut of cycles of the macro and micro elements on the earth, from carbon, to nitrogen to mercury. This work involves cutting edge field work and field measurements backed up by state of the art laboratories, including the national high magnetic field lab. Many biogeochemists use a range of isotopic tracers, both stable and radioactive to follow elemental cycling. There is no doubt that humans have affected elemental cycling. This work is critical. Nitrogen is cycling at double the rate it was in pre-industrial times, and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is at levels unprecedented for well over a million years. Mercury levels are real source of concern, particularly along the northern Gulf Coast. For more information, please follow this link: http://biogeochem.fsu.edu/
The scientists in the Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science Department represent one of the few research programs that focus on the coasts and deeper areas of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico.