Principal Investigator

David Nicholson

David is an Associate Scientist in the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. His research has the broad goal of better understand global biogeochemical cycles in the context of a changing climate. Towards this challenge, David uses observations from a range of autonomous platforms as well as numerical models of varying complexity. A central focus in the Nicholson lab is on the cycling of dissolved gases, including oxygen, carbon dioxide, methane and the noble gases. David received his Ph.D. in Oceanography from University of Washington in 2009 after completing his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Geological and Environmental Sciences as Stanford University.


Hilary Palevsky

Headshot_ByALerner_Summer_2013_cropHilary is currently a postdoctoral scholar at WHOI, where she works with Dr. David Nicholson and Dr. Scott Doney to study the ocean’s role in absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. She is interested in the role phytoplankton play in the ocean’s carbon cycle by converting carbon dioxide to organic carbon, some of which is then exported to the deep ocean – a process known as the “biological pump.” Her current work uses autonomous sensor data from the Ocean Observatories Initiative and numerical model simulations to study the biological pump and oceanic carbon dioxide uptake. Hilary graduated with a Ph.D. in Oceanography and a graduate certificate in Climate Science from the University of Washington in 2016. She conducted her dissertation research in the lab of Dr. Paul Quay using geochemical measurements from ships of opportunity to study the role of the biological pump in the North Pacific Ocean.


Mathieu Dever

Mat came to WHOI to work on the NASA EXPORTS program and is c0-Advised by Dr. Amala Mahadevan.




Graduate Students

Undergraduate Students


Lab Alumni

Graduate Students

Cara Manning

Cara was a MIT/WHOI Joint Program student co-Advised with Prof. Rachel Stanley and a gas geochemist extrordinaire. She defended her dissertation in October 2016 (Congrats Cara!!).  Her thesis research included the development of a field-deployable gas equilibrator mass spectrometer (GEMS) for measuring He, Ne, Ar, Kr and Xe.  Cara applied noble gas measurements and oxygen-based productivity tracers to study air-sea gas exchange and surface ocean productivity at field sites in Monterey Bay, CA and Bras d’Or Lake, Nova Scotia.  Cara’s research advances understanding of how rates of air-sea gas exchange are modulated by bubbles and the presence of sea ice as well as how incubation and tracer-based estimates of primary productivity can best be applied in dynamic coastal regions.  Cara is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Earth Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, University of British Columbia.



Kanieka visited BOOMLAB from University of Maryland Eastern Shores for the 2017 WHOI Summer Student Fellows Program. Her project involved analyzing biogeochemical data from the NSF Ocean Observing Initiative Irminger Sea Array.  This was Kanieka’s second summer at WHOI after completing the Woods Hole Partnership in Education Program last year with Dr. Scott Doney’s group.  



Rebecca Sugrue

Becca was a 2016 Summer Student Fellow, jointly advised with Dr. Anna Michel.  Over the summer, Becca was busy working  on the greenhouse gas Jetyak, which progressed from a pile of parts when Becca arrived in June, to the Jetyak’s maiden voyage, before Becca returned to MIT for her senior year.


Melanie Feen

feenMelanie joined the lab as a winter term student during her Senior year at Skidmore College. She had so much fun she came back to WHOI for the summer after her senior year. Melanie had a busy 2016 summer working on Slocum Glider oxygen data from the shelf break, including getting well acquainted with the Nicholson Lab Winkler titrator. She also was a big contributor to the Jetyak project, working with Becca.

Alexis Wood

Alexis was an undergraduate WHOI Summer Student Fellow in the lab during summer of 2014. During her time at WHOI she worked on the North Atlantic Ship of Opportunity project and learned a ton about biogeochemical sensors, remote sensing and of course, MATLAB!


Cole Stites-Clayton

Cole spent the summer of 2012 in the Nicholson Lab as a Guest Student working on the CMORE Seaglider project

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