Currently, my research interests run along three loosely-connected tracks, all concerning the marine environment:
My basic research track explores biogeochemical processes with a focus on nutrient dynamics and organic matter cycling. One setting I am interested in is shallow-water sands. I focus on organic matter production/decomposition and nutrient regeneration/uptake in this highly permeable, constantly mixed habitat that provides a still-underappreciated ecosystem service to coastal zones, estuaries, and coral reefs. Another area of interest is the productivity and nutrient dynamics in the oligotrophic Levantine Sea, from the coastal zone to offshore waters, where a deep chlorophyll maximum and a complex and dynamic circulation field pose significant challenges and opportunities for investigators.
A more applied research track aims to spread the use of biogeochemical sensors on gliders (autonomous, low-power underwater vehicles) and acceptance/utility of their data. To this end, I work on the development of standards and best practices, including inter-calibration and comparison, and the design of sensor packages serving specific societal/industrial needs, such as water quality, installation/operation conditions, and oceanographic research.
Finally, a marine policy track focuses on the implementation of the most extensive EU legislation protecting the marine environment, the Marine Strategy Framework-Directive. The challenges I address include the quantitative definition of a good marine environmental state, the development of targets (and appropriate indicators) that satisfy that definition, the drafting of monitoring programs that observe these indicators, and the identification of measures that may rectify any problems.
Organic matter cycling
Benthic ecosystem function
Permeable sediment biogeochemistry and biodiversity
Biogeochemical sensors for autonomous platforms
Environmental assessment and monitoring indicators