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Kiefer Forsch

NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, 2021-Present

I grew up in Michigan, attended Oberlin College where I majored in Chemistry, and recently earned my PhD in Oceanography here at SIO. As a marine chemist, I am drawn to questions regarding the biogeochemical cycling of bioactive trace metals and their role as limiting nutrients for primary producers in the modern ocean. In my postdoctoral research, I use novel geochemical and microbial techniques to explore factors which affect the fate of glacial weathering inputs of bio-essential trace elements, like iron.


Our Lab Group


Emmet Norris

Ph.D. Student, 2020-Present

Emmet is interested in the interaction between processes on the earth’s surface, such as the transport and fate of mineral dust, and human society. He primarily uses isotopic source apportionment techniques to characterize the sources of natural and anthropogenically emitted PM and understand their effect on climate, air quality and biologically available nutrients. Motivated by previous work in human rights and artistic design, he seeks to use science as a vehicle for societal change.



Austin Carter

Ph.D. Candidate, 2020-Present

Austin is interested in the chemistry, geometry, and concentration of mineral dust (fine-grained particles of rock) trapped in polar ice. He has spent two field seasons at the Allan Hills, East Antarctica drilling ice cores in this blue ice area. In the lab, Austin carefully separates the dust and measures its properties. These small, solid impurities can provide insight into how the conditions on the Earth's surface and the flow of air may have changed through time. The overarching goal of Austin's Ph.D. research is to advance our understanding of the role of dust as both a recorder and catalyst of past climate changes.



Sarah Aarons

Principal Investigator

Sarah Aarons was born in and raised in Alaska. She obtained her Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Michigan in 2016, and she then received a University of California Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at UC Irvine, followed by the Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Chicago. Sarah joined the faculty at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD in 2019. Sarah’s research focuses on understanding and tracking earth surface processes in a variety of environments on both geologic timescales and throughout the modern. If you are interested in conducting research please feel free to contact me at:


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Linqing Huang

Ph.D. Candidate, 2019-Present

Linqing is interested in applying non-traditional stable isotope geochemistry towards understanding Earth surface processes and biogeochemical cycling in the oceans. In particular, she is working on probing whether iron (Fe) isotopes are a useful tracer of elemental lability and if it can be used to trace sources of Fe to the oceans. She is also working on developing and applying zirconium (Zr) isotopes in the ocean to probe whether this isotope system can inform us on water mass movement or biological productivity. 


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