SUNY Stony Brook
Enrollment Year: 2005
Email Address: email@example.com
Atmospheric Mentor: John Mak, SUNY Stony Brook
Biosphere Mentor: Alex Guenther, UCAR; Manuel Lerdau, SUNY Stony Brook
Kolby's Research Prospectus
I am currently a third year PhD student at the Institute of Planetary and Terrestrial Atmospheres in Stony Brook University, NY. The focus of my research is to understand the role of the biosphere in the emission/uptake of oxygenated VOCs with the atmosphere. I have developed instrumentation capable of measuring the ratio of carbon-13 and carbon-12 of specific oxygenated VOCs from soil and branch enclosures. Because different sources and sinks of these compounds may have unique isotope signatures, these measurements may provide insight into the atmospheric budgets of these compounds. In addition, these studies may increase our knowledge of the biochemical pathways within plants and soils that are involved with their production/emissions. In the future, I plan to work on developing ultra-light weight instrumentation for field campaigns.
After graduating from NYU with a BS in Biochemistry, I returned to my home state of Colorado where I taught Chemistry, Microbiology, and Mathematics at San Juan College for two years. I then acquired an MS in Atmospheric Chemistry from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology where I fell in love with field research. After spending some time at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, I started my PhD program in NY. In my free time, I love to pursue outdoor adventures.
My PhD research will be a joint collaboration between three research groups with expertise in analytical atmospheric chemistry (Alex Guenther at the National Center for Atmospheric Research), high precision atmospheric isotope ratio measurements (John Mak at the State University of New York, thesis advisor), and plant physiology and biochemistry (Manuel Lerdau, also at SUNY). I plan to finish my PhD in three years and already have selected my dissertation topic: “*13C and *18O isotope ratio measurements of abundant oxygenates in the atmosphere: Atmospheric source apportionment, factors affecting emissions, and biosynthesis/metabolism.” The major goal is to answer some fundamental air quality questions related to the presence of oxygenated VOCs in the troposphere. In particular, I want to develop a method for determining the relative contribution of various sources of oxygenated VOC emissions to tropospheric concentrations. To accomplish this, I will develop and deploy an analytical system capable of collecting ambient air for online *13C and *18O measurements from specific oxygenated VOC’s in the atmosphere including acetone, methanol, acetaldehyde, and 2-methyl-3-buten-2-ol (MBO) in order to better constrain the budget and chemistry of these compounds. My dissertation has four elements:
- *13C and *18O signatures from anthropogenic, biogenic, and secondary photochemical sources as well as the major atmospheric loss processes.
- Measure the *13C and *18O isotope ratios of these compounds in ambient air at the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS).
- Use an isotope mass balance approach to constrain the budget and chemistry of these compounds and compare the results with previous estimates.
- Collaborate with chemical modelers in synthesizing these results into a chemical transport/transformation model to understand how anthropogenic and biogenic fluxes of oxygenates are affecting ozone, aerosol and particulate dynamics.
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