Personal profile


I lead a team which studies the role of marine bacteria, phytoplankton and zooplankton in the global cycling of carbon and oxygen, and how this varies in space and time and with changing environmental conditions such as increasing nutrient supply, temperature and carbon dioxide and decreasing dissolved oxygen. This involves laboratory and field observations, remote sensing, numerical models and the use of autonomous platforms (gliders and floats) and time series datasets.

I developed an analytical system to continually measure seawater dissolved inorganic carbon and used this to determine the spatial variability in the North Atlantic CO2 sink, the impact of coccolithophore blooms on oceanic carbon uptake and the imbalanced uptake of carbon and nitrogen by phytoplankton.

Using scientific diving techniques I investigated carbon flux in the ice-ocean-plankton systems of the Antarctic and in high CO2 hydrothermal regions in the Aegean Sea.

I undertook laboratory and mesocosm studies to investigate the cycling of carbon through the marine microbial foodweb under varying nutrient ratio and temperature conditions.

I led a project to investigate the latitudinal variability in the balance between phytoplankton uptake of CO2 and bacterial production of CO2 to develop empirical and remote sensing models to derive global plankton production. 

Current projects include the determination of the proportion of plankton respiration attributable to bacterioplankton, an investigation of the factors influencing microbial respiration, and a study of the microbial carbon pump including as an approach for ocean-based carbon dioxide removal and blue carbon accounting.

I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and past President of the Challenger Society for Marine Science.

I organise a 2 day weekend Introduction to Oceanography course, open to anyone with an interest in the marine environment. 

My personal twitter account is @CarolRobinson8


  • 2018 - present: Professor of Marine Sciences, University of East Anglia
  • 2007 - 2018: Reader in Marine Biogeochemistry, University of East Anglia
  • 2000 - 2007: Senior Scientist (Head of Science, Biogeochemistry), Plymouth Marine Laboratory
  • 1996 - 2001: NERC Advanced Research Fellow, Plymouth Marine Laboratory
  • 1988 - 1996: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Wales; Bangor 
  • 1987 - 1988: Postdoctoral Research Assistant, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
  • 1987 Ph.D. Civil Engineering (Public Health) University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
  • 1982 B.Sc. Zoology (Marine) University of Newcastle Upon Tyne

Key Research Interests

My current projects investigate the role of plankton respiration in the balance between the storage of organic carbon in the ocean and the production of carbon dioxide and how this might change in a changing environment.

Previous projects include leadership of the NERC large grant - the Atlantic Meridional Transect programme - which aimed to quantify the nature & causes of ecological & biogeochemical variability in the planktonic ecosystems of the Atlantic Ocean and a NERC SOLAS project to investigate the impact of upwelled water along the Mauritanian coast on open ocean biogeochemistry and air-sea exchange of climatically important gases. I was also a co-investigator on a NERC project to investigate spatial variability in marine productivity using underwater gliders, and another studying biogeochemical cycles in UK shelf seas. I have participated in ca. 30 open ocean research cruises, coastal mesocosm experiments and coastal time series studies, including a 3 month stay at the Australian Antarctic base DAVIS.
I have supervised PhD students who studied the relationship between phytoplankton community structure and the cycling of carbon dioxide in the North Atlantic, the dynamics of dissolved organic carbon in rivers and coastal waters and zooplankton mediated carbon flux in the Southern Ocean.

Publications: EPrints Digital Repository

Teaching Interests

I teach on the first year Environmental Sciences fieldcourse and a module on Sustainability, Society and Biodiversity, on second year modules in Aquatic Biogeochemistry and the Marine Sciences Fieldcourse, third year modules in Biological Oceanography and the Carbon Cycle and Climate Change and Masters modules in Ocean Observing Systems and the Marine Sciences Fieldcourse.

I'm the module organiser for Biological Oceanography and the Marine Sciences Fieldcourse.

I have been the external examiner for the BSc in Oceanography at the University of Liverpool (2010-2012) and the MSc in Oceanography at the University of Southampton (2009-2012), and a PhD examiner at the Universities of Southampton, Bristol, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Dundee, Swansea and Marseilles.

I completed an MA in Higher Education Practice in 2019, with a thesis entitled 'The Art of Reflection'.

Key Responsibilities

I have held several research and teaching leadership and management positions, including Deputy Head of School, Senior Advisor, Chair of the Undergraduate Exam Board, Disability Awareness Officer, On- and in-water safety officer and Theme Lead of the Atmosphere and Oceans sector, and have been a member of the Teaching Executive Committee, the Undergraduate Affairs Committee, the Promotions Committee, the Undergraduate Examinations Board and the Postgraduate Research Committee.

Research Group or Lab Membership

Current Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr Isabel Seguro Requejo

Previous Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr Natalia Osma Prado, Dr Kevin Vikstrom, Dr Enma Elena Garcia-MartinDr Cecilia Liszka, Dr Niki Gist, Dr Vassilis Kitidis, Dr Pablo Serret (Marie Curie Fellow)

Current Postgraduate Students

Hamdan Alzahrani, Maisie Evans, Marta Vannoni, Qin Wang, Duncan Vaughan

Completed Postgraduate Students

Dr Chiara Cooper, Dr Victoria Fowler, Dr Peter Ward, Dr Cecilia Liszka, Dr Alida Rosales Villa, Ms Cansu Bayindirli (MPhil), Dr Clare Ostle, Dr Katy Owen, Dr Chris Brown, Dr Johanna Gloel, Dr Raffaella Nobili, Dr Rhiannon Mather (University of Liverpool), Dr Rachel U Shelley (University of Plymouth), Ms Jenna Robinson  (MPhil University of Newcastle upon Tyne)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or