[Eoas-seminar] Seminar Wang Zheng February 26

eoas-seminar at lists.fsu.edu eoas-seminar at lists.fsu.edu
Mon Feb 23 15:54:19 EST 2015

faculty candidate in the CMRI will give a seminar on 
Metal stable isotopes as tracers of biogeochemical cycles from molecular to global scales: insights from mercury stable isotopes


Metals are deeply involved in many biogeochemical processes on Earth. They can be essential nutrients or toxins for organisms, and therefore are critical for the evolution of life and sustainability of the biosphere. The biogeochemical cycles of metals are accompanied by fractionation of metal stable isotopes, which can be important tracers for both metal cycles and the related biogeochemical processes. In particular, my research focuses on the biogeochemical cycle and stable isotope fractionation of a heavy metal, mercury (Hg). The stable isotope system of Hg is unique because it not only displays a relatively high range of mass dependent fractionation (MDF) among all heavy elements, but it also shows at least three types of mass independent fractionation (MIF) in natural samples. With such a large range of fractionation and types of fractionation, the stable isotope system of Hg provides valuable insights into both the biogeochemical cycle of Hg and the basic mechanisms of how isotopes can fractionate in nature expanding our knowledge of basic isotopic mechanisms and perhaps inspiring new applications. Understanding the biogeochemical cycle of Hg is important because Hg is a global pollutant that poses a serious health threat for animals and human beings. Here I demonstrate that Hg isotope fractionation (particularly MIF) can help elucidate the molecular scale mechanisms of Hg transformations and is also a powerful tracer of Hg biogeochemical cycling at global scales. Future research will expand the application of the Hg stable isotope systems and explore other metal and metalloid isotope systems (e.g., Se, Cr, Cu, Si) across multiple disciplines and at various spatial and time scales.

Dr. Vincent J.M. Salters
National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
Florida State University
Tallahassee, Florida
Phone: 850-644-1934, Skype: vsalters

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