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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, a key process in ocean carbon storage 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

I led 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. 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’m currently funded (by NERC and The Leverhulme Trust) to study the role of plankton respiration in ocean carbon storage and the production of carbon dioxide and how this might change in a changing environment. 

I have supervised PhD students studying 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.

I maintain a publicly available global database of plankton community and bacterial respiration.

My research profiles are available at Scopus 23045392200, Loop 231628, ResearcherID F-7649-2011, ResearchGate, Google Scholar, LinkedIn and ORCID 0000-0003-3033-4565.

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.

Key Responsibilities

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

External Activities

  • 2022 - present Trustee and Member of the Council of the Marine Biological Association
  • 2021 - present Co-Chair joint ICES/PICES working group on Ocean Negative Carbon Emissions
  • 2021 - present Co-Chair SCOR working group on Mesopelagic Respiration 
  • 2021 - present Chair Panel B NERC Peer Review College
  • 2021 - present Co-Chair IOC working group on Integrated Ocean Carbon Research
  • 2019 - present Chair of the NERC Marine Facilities Advisory Board
  • 2016 - 2022 Chair of the Scientific Steering Committee of the SCOR/Future Earth programme ‘Integrated Marine Biosphere Research’ (IMBeR)
  • 2016 - 2018 Evaluator for EU H2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Individual Fellowships 
  • 2015 - Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • 2015 - present Editor for Frontiers in Marine Science - Marine Biogeochemistry
  • 2012 - 2016 Vice Chair of the EU FP7 People-ITN Marie Sklodowska-Curie Review Panel
  • 2012 - 2015 Chair of the Steering Committee for the NERC Facility for Scientific Diving
  • 2011 - 2022 Editor for Biogeosciences, European Geoscience Union
  • 2006 - 2016 Editor for Ocean Sciences, European Geoscience Union
  • 2011 - present Member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the British Indian Ocean Territories, Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • 2011 - 2013 Member of the External Advisory Board for the FP7 Network of Excellence EuroMarine
  • 2011 - 2018 Associate Editor ASLO e-lectures
  • 2010 - 2013 Vice Chair of the Scientific Steering Committee of the IGBP/SCOR programme ‘Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research’ (IMBeR)
  • 2010 - 2014 Deputy Chair of the European Research Council Fellowship Review Panel
  • 2010 - Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology FSB
  • 2009 - 2013 UK IGBP National Committee
  • 2008 - 2010 President of the Challenger Society for Marine Science
  • 2006 - 2010 Member of the scientific steering committee of the SCOR sponsored programme GEOTRACES
  • 2003 - present Member Scottish Association for Marine Science
  • 1996 - present Member Challenger Society for Marine Science
  • 1995 - present Member The Oceanography Society (TOS)
  • 1990 - present Member Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (formerly American Society for Limnology and Oceanography) (ASLO)
  • 1982 - present Member Royal Society of Biology (formerly Institute of Biology) (Chartered Biologist CBiol)

Research Group or Lab Membership

Current Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr Isabel Seguro Requejo, Dr Natalia Osma Prado

Previous Postdoctoral Researchers

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

Current Postgraduate Students

Chiara Cooper, Hamdan Alzahrani, Dominic Dennis, Maisie Evans

Completed Postgraduate Students

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


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