New Group Member: Emily Klonicki

This Fall, Emily Klonicki is joining our group as a new graduate student in the Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences Department.

Emily joins us from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she was a planetary Protection and Systems engineer and participated in different missions including the Planetary Protection for Europa Clipper and Europa Lander and the Science Definition Team for the Europa Lander mission concept.

Emily will be working in our NSF Collaborative Research Grant: “Redefining the footprint of deep ocean methane seepage for benthic ecosystems“ and in the NASA project “Alternative Earths – How to Build and Sustain a Detectable Biosphere“. You can learn more about Emily on her personal page.

Welcome to UCLA, Emily!

Finished successful RV Atlantis expedition in the Santa Barbara Basin

From October 29 through November 11 part of my group (including Sebastian Krause, DeMarcus Robinson, David Yousavich, myself), was onboard the RV Atlantis (AT42-19 Expedition) together with a team from UCSB (lead by chief scientist Dave Valentine) and a team from the MPI Bremen/AWI (Frank Wenzhoefer and Felix Janssen). Our goal was to study the seasonal dynamics of giant sulfur bacteria mats in the low- to no-oxygen zone of the Santa Barbara Basin and their coupling to sulfur, nitrogen, and other element cycling. We deployed benthic chambers and microprofilers and collected sediment pushcores with the ROV Jason. We further used the AUV Sentry to map 3D oxygen distribution and other parameters in the water column and to produce a photo mosaic of the mat distribution at the seafloor. We also deployed several casts of CTD/Rosettes and collected a gravity corer. More information about our NSF-funded research can be found here. This was the first of two planned expeditions. We are very grateful for all the support we received on board the Atlantis. The three science teams worked hard and with joy to achieve our project goals.

Science Team (UCSB, UCLA, MPI Bremen/AWI) with Santa Catalina in the Background (during our return to San Diego).
Halloween on board: Team UC Zissou honors Jaques Cousteau.
Team UCLA and MPI Bremen arriving back in San Diego. From left to right: DeMarcus Robinson (UCLA), David Yousavich (UCLA), Frank Wenzhoefer (MPI Bremen/AWI), Tina Treude (UCLA), Sebastian Krause (UCLA), Felix Janssen (MPI Bremen/AWI).
ROV Jason Deployment
Elevator deployment (with benthic chambers).
ROV Jason Control Room.
AUV Sentry deployment.
AUV Sentry deployment.
In-situ profiling of sulfur bacteria mat with a microprofiler (MPI Bremen/AWI).
Benthic Chamber (MPI Bremen/AWI) deployment.
Collecting water samples from syringes of Benthic Chambers after their incubation at the seafloor.
Sediment pushcore sampling of sulfur bacteria mat with the ROV Jason arm.
Collecting sulfur bacteria from sediments.
Slicing sediment pushcores in the cold room…brrrr….
Porewater processing in the Geochem Lab.
Water sampling from CTD/Rosette.
Gravity core sampling.
Some curious visitors.

Field Work in the Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve

Early July our group headed out on a trip to Santa Barbara to conduct field work in the Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve. The fieldwork was supported by our newly funded NSF grant “Deciphering the cryptic cycling of methane in sediments of a coastal wetland“. Sampling was ….very muddy…. and a lot of fun. We collected a good set of sediment cores from different stations along the salinity gradient from almost freshwater to hypersaline. Back in the lab at UCLA we will study the close relationship between methylotrophic methanogens and anaerobic methanotrophs.

Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve
Team “Mud” from left to right: David Yousavich (graduate student), Sebastian Krause (project graduate student), Tina Treude (project PI), Demarcus Robinson (graduate student), Xin (Helen) Huang (project undergraduate student).
Preparing for the mud.
Sampling at the marine site.
A native says “Hello”.

Join the Rad Trace Network


The RadTrace Network is going online!

What is this and why?

We have started a few years ago by building a team (now the core group of the network) to closely collaborate in the framework of IODP Expedition 370 T-Limit of the Deep Biosphere to coordinate and conduct a comprehensive suit of microbial activity measurements using radioactive tracer compounds. Most of us knew each other from different collaborations in the past but this time we worked all together across different countries and continents closely coordinating all work and logistics.

We have noticed growing interest in the application of radio-tracer techniques to determine metabolic rates of subsurface microbes because these methods provide exceptionally low detection limits which were substantially improved over the past decade in order to be successfully applied to low activity and low energy environments in the deep biosphere.

Conducting radio-tracer experiments in the field and/or at the home laboratory, especially with precious, expensive, and often low active samples, requires additional efforts in dealing with sampling, sample preservation, contamination control, logistics, health and safety concerns and necessary bureaucracy. We provide and want to establish a network for interested active researchers where they can find help, information and support for this type of work. We aim to share expertise and knowledge and enable cooperation within frame of general science etiquette.  We will provide ways to connect to the network soon. Stay tuned!

Interested public is welcome to contact us to seek information about our work, the aims and goals of our research and requests or concerns of any kind.

So long,

The RadTrace Network

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Follow us on Twitter: ‎@radtracenetwork

OCB Workshop on Oceanic Methane and Nitrous Oxide: The Present Situation and Future Scenarios

Last week, international scientists met at UCLA’s Lake Arrowhead Conference Center to discuss the production and emission of oceanic methane and nitrous oxide. For three days we discussed the current knowledge, the establishment of standard operating procedures, and future research needs. It was a very productive meeting and it was great to bring so many experts together.

The OCB Workshop was organized by Sam Wilson (Lead), Bonnie Chang, Curtis Deutsch, Adam Jones, John Kessler, Tina Treude, Dave Valentine, and Bess Ward and funded by OCB, NSF, NASA, the Moore Foundation and SCOR.



Demarcus Robinson David Yousavich small

This week my two new group members, De’Marcus Robinson (left) and David Yousavich (right), started at UCLA. DeMarcus is a graduate student in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, David is a graduate student in the Department of Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences.

De’Marcus received his Bachelor’s degree from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU) where he majored Environmental Science with a concentration in Toxicology/Risk Analysis. At his undergraduate university his research looked at creating a material that absorbs oil through organic chemistry and electrospinning. He also received internship investigating microbial lake productivity in the Sierra Nevada Watershed at University of Southern California (USC) through the C-DEBI (Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigation) course, and another internship at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) investigating Turbinaria Ornata, an invasive macrogalge, in the coral reefs of Mo’orea.

David received his Bachelor’s degree from Miami University (OH) where he majored in Chemistry and Zoology. There he did research in algal biofuels and cellulose degrading bacteria. After graduating, he worked as a research assistant on projects involving K-12 science education and molecular biology. He received his Master’s degree from Cal State LA in Geology and did research in the bioremediation of heavy metals in Los Angeles, specifically in analyzing processes governing the sequestration of copper, lead, and zinc in bioremediation media.

Both De’Marcus and David will be involved in studying bacterial sulfur and nitrogen cycling in aquatic environments in my group.

Welcome, De’Marcus and David, to UCLA!