Student Vignettes

Delfina Navarro-Estrada

About my research

I am starting my first year of my Phd studies in Chemical Oceanography working in Dr. Kristen Buck’s lab. My research will focus on measuring the complexation of the trace metal iron by naturally-occurring organic ligands in seawater and determining the resulting speciation of iron using electrochemistry and mass spectrometry techniques. The organic complexation of iron is an important process in the oceans because it dissolves iron, which then act as a nutrient for phytoplankton. Insufficient iron in large regions of the ocean limits phytoplankton productivity. World-wide climate regulation through the oceans is partly due to the fixation of CO2 via phytoplankton through photosynthesis. Phytoplankton is therefore an important organism that act as a carbon dioxide sink and an oxygen source to the atmosphere. My research will aim to improve understanding of iron chemistry in the oceans, including how changes in ocean pH (ocean acidification) influence iron speciation and cycling.


There are a few public schools in the country that offer chemical oceanography and the University of South Florida is one of the top research schools (R1) for oceanography in the country.  When I visited the campus, I realized that the university offers many state-of-the-art labs with some of the best professors in their discipline. There is also a very nice atmosphere of people, including professors, students and staff. 

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