I was born and raised in Southern Germany. After attending the Universities of Heidelberg and Kiel, I received my undergraduate degree (Diplom) in Biology in 1986. Aided by a Fulbright-ITT fellowship, I came to the US, where I received a Master of Science degree in Biological Oceanography from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1988. Instead of going back home to Germany as I had originally planned, I met my husband-to-be and decided to stay on the West Coast. I continued my graduate work at the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. There I completed my PhD in Biological Oceanography in 1992 working on microzooplankton grazing in the Oregon upwelling system. The year I finished my doctorate my daughter Marlene was born.
In the same year we moved back to Germany and a year later, I joined the University of Bremen’s Department of Geosciences for a Post Doc in Biogeochemistry. There I was involved in JGOFS (Joint Global Ocean Flux Study) one of the large international projects studying global carbon flux in the ocean, and in CANIGO (Canary Islands, Azores, Gibraltar Observations) a large European Commission funded project on the oceanography of the eastern subtropical Atlantic. During my time in Bremen, I helped build an open-ocean time-series station north of the Canary Islands (ESTOC, European Station for Time-Series in the Ocean, Canary Islands), which is a collaboration of Institutions on the Canary Islands and in Germany. At that site I have studied the flux of carbon and associated elements from the surface ocean, its relationship to surface productivity, input of Saharan desert dust and deep particle advection from the NW African upwelling zone. How much of the phytoplankton production sinks from the surface layers to the deep ocean is an important question because it concerns the Biological Carbon Pump, the biological processes by which the ocean takes up and removes anthropogenic CO2. Most of my research in the past has been ship based; I have participated in 20+ cruises, five of which as chief scientist.
My move to ASU was triggered by my husband (a Microbial Ecologist) obtaining a faculty position in the former Department of Microbiology (now part of the School of Life Sciences). This explains how an Oceanographer can end up in the desert! I was hired as a tenure-track professor in Biogeochemistry in the School of Life Sciences in 2004, after a few years as research faculty in the former Department of Biology and as Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Geosciences, where I taught Oceanography and Introductory Geology.
My group continues to work on aspects of carbon flux in the subtropical Atlantic and its relationship to the surface productivity and input of nutrients. We also work on various aspects of marine plankton ecology in the lab and field, including studies of organisms isolated from the Arctic sea-ice, a habitat that is progressively endangered due to Global Warming. Check out the Research and Group Members pages for more info on our work and ongoing projects!