Mark Altabet

Mark Altabet

Professor / Chairperson

SMAST / Estuarine & Ocean Sciences

Isotope Biogeochemistry Group Website




School for Marine Science & Technology West, New Bedford 122A


1984Harvard UniversityPh.D
1979State University of New York at Stony BrookBS





Chemical oceanography starting with the basic chemical and physical properties of sea water and going through the major processes shaping chemical distributions in the ocean. A brief review of basic thermodynamics and chemical equilibria precedes a discussion of carbonate equilibria and trace metal speciation. Throughout much of the course an interdisciplinary approach is taken and pertinent material on the interaction between ocean chemistry and marine physics, biology, and geology will be presented. Whenever possible, the results of recent studies will be incorporated into class material and the last few class periods are devoted to special topics.

Investigations of a fundamental and/or applied nature representing an original contribution to the scholarly research literature of the field. PhD dissertations are often published in refereed journals or presented at major conferences. A written dissertation must be completed in accordance with the rules of the Graduate School and the School for Marine Science and Technology. Admission to the course is based on successful completion of the PhD comprehensive examination and submission of a formal proposal endorsed by the student's graduate committee and submitted to the SMAST Graduate Program Director.


Research Activities

  • Nitrogen isotope and N2/Ar biogeochemistry of the Peru suboxic zone, NSF, $412,000, Feb 01 2009 to Jan 30 2013
  • Collaborative Research: The role of regenerated nitrogen for rocky shore productivity, NSF, $183,381, Sept 01 2009 to August 31 2013
  • Collaborative Research: High resolution paleoceanography in the heart of the Equatorial Pacific Cold Tongue, NSF, $170,000 over 3years
  • Collaborative Research: Microbial associations in zooplankton: significance for the marine nitrogen cycle, NSF, $616,980 over 3 years ($150,000 supports M. Altabet’s component of this project), August 01 2011 to July 31 2014
  • Collaborative Research: Autonomous Lagrangian Floats for Oxygen Minimum Zone Biogeochemistry, NSF, $349,607 over 3 years


Research Interests

  • Major marine biogeochemical cycles
  • Global N cycle and its interactions with climate change
  • Atmospheric CO2 concentration
  • Coastal eutrophication

Select publications

  • Bryant Mason, A., Y. J. Xu, and M.A. Altabet (2013).
    Water Resources Research
    Limited capacity of river corridor wetlands to remove nitrate - A case study on the Atchafalaya River Basin during the 2011 Mississippi River Flooding, 49
  • Montes, E., M. A. Altabet, F. Muller-Karger, M. I. Scranton, R. Thunell, Cl. Benitez-Nelson, L. Lorenzoni, Y. Astor (2013).
    Biogenic nitrogen gas production at the oxic-anoxic interface in the Cariaco Basin, Venezuela, 10, 267-279.
  • Altabet, M.A., E. Ryabenko, L. Stramma, D. Wallace, M. Frank, P. Grasse, and G. Lavik (2012).
    An eddystimulated hotspot for fixed nitrogen-loss from the Peru Oxygen Minimum Zone, 9, 4897-4908.
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