News 2020: Professor of Estuarine & Ocean Sciences chosen for distinguished American Geophysical Union Fellowship
Professor of Estuarine & Ocean Sciences chosen for distinguished American Geophysical Union Fellowship

Professor Mark Altabet joins prestigious group of individuals who have made exceptional contributions in the Earth sciences

Professor Mark Altabet at podium

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) recently announced its 2020 Class of AGU Fellows and Professor of Estuarine & Ocean Sciences Mark Altabet, who also chairs the Estuarine & Ocean Sciences Department, was selected to join this prestigious group of Earth science researchers.

Altabet was selected due to his exceptional career in the field of marine biochemistry where his innovation, dedication, and contributions have advanced the geosciences. The AGU has selected less than 0.1% of members as Fellows and Altabet is just the second AGU Fellow within the UMass System.

“I am grateful for the opportunities afforded me to participate in the creation of knowledge of the biogeochemical systems upon which the habitability of the Earth depends. I am honored by the recognition by colleagues from around the world of my contributions to this effort,” said Altabet.

The award was for the sum of Altabet’s accomplishments over his research career. Altabet is internationally known for his research in marine biogeochemistry, using stable isotope techniques to study nitrogen cycling in our oceans. Since joining UMass Dartmouth, he has authored or co-authored 103 publications.

Altabet’s research contributions include the first formulation of the primary framework for interpreting large-scale variations in oceanic N isotope composition, present, and past and the demonstration that the N isotope ratio of sinking particles (and thus the signal reaching the sediment) reflects the new sources of nitrogen to the euphotic zone, thus paving the way for paleo-reconstruction of the oceanic nitrogen cycle. Many of the methods created by Altabet are now widely used for practical natural abundance N isotopic analysis.

“Thanks to their dedication and sacrifice, AGU Fellows serve as global leaders and experts who have propelled our understanding of geosciences. We are confident that they will remain curious and relentlessly focused on answers as they continue to advance their research, which pushes our boundaries of knowledge to create a healthy planet and beyond,” said Robin Bell, President of the American Geophysical Union.

Altabet will be honored during a virtual ceremony to recognize you on Wednesday, 9 December.