Kristine Brown


Research Summary

Rivers function as the main line of communication between terrestrial and marine environments, and as such, directly link landscape changes to the coastal ocean. As a geochemist, I’m interested in how changes in terrestrial systems influence the marine carbon cycle, especially in the Arctic, a region undergoing rapid and unprecedented change. My PhD research focused on the application of biogeochemical tracers (e.g., stable isotopes, nutrients, hydrography and carbon system parameters) to examine distinct processes that cycle carbon across seawater/freshwater and ocean/ice/atmosphere interfaces in the Arctic Ocean. My postdoctoral research focuses on river systems within Canada’s High Arctic islands, using river biogeochemistry as a tool to evaluate the fate of carbon mobilized as these landscapes thaw. This study will help us understand how permafrost landscapes respond to climate warming and what that means for the Arctic carbon cycle. 
As a Coastal Ocean Institute Postdoctoral Scholar, I’m working with researchers in WHOI’s Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department, Bernhard Peucker-Ehrenbrink, Valier Galy, and Aleck Wang, who all conduct projects as part of the Global Rivers Observatory. My postdoctoral research involves expanding the Global Rivers Observatory reach into the Canadian High Arctic islands, a region where very little is known about the geochemical characteristics of the rivers draining into the marine system. This research will generate novel geochemical data to help us better understand the delivery of terrestrial carbon and nutrients to the ocean from rivers that drain continuous permafrost systems, creating a baseline from which to assess future environmental change. With close linkages to the marine sampling carried out during the Canadian Arctic GEOTRACES program, this research will also contribute novel data on river end-members for GEOTRACES target elements and provide valuable contextual information to understand the oceanic distributions of these parameters.