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.



Graduate Students

Shawnee Traylor

Shawnee is a first-year MIT-WHOI Joint Program student with an interest in using dissolved gases to better understand global biogeochemical cycles. She has a special interest in high latitude environments, particularly methane emissions in the Arctic and the efficacy of the biological carbon pump in regions with deep winter mixing. Prior to joining the BOOMLAB, Shawnee completed her undergraduate studies in environmental chemistry at Columbia University (2018) and worked as a field research assistant at the Palmer Station, Antarctica LTER. Her undergraduate research at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory focused around environmental sensing, with applications from urban air and water quality to the carbon dynamics and resiliency of coral reefs. Shawnee is also interested in public outreach through data-driven art. Recent projects include a collaboration with Ennead Architecture Lab and serving as the Science and Technology Advisor to New York-based nonprofit +Pool for the launch of a floating public art installation in the East River.


Ellen Park

Ellen is a first-year MIT-WHOI Joint Program student and is interested in biogeochemical cycling. She completed her B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University (2020). Ellen was also a WHOI Summer Student Fellow (2019) in Dr. Anne Cohen’s lab.​ During her first year, Ellen is diving into the world of Biogeochemical Argo.



Undergraduate Students

Check out undergraduate research opportunities at WHOI and drop us a line if you are interested in joining us.

Lab Alumni


Hilary Palevsky

Headshot_ByALerner_Summer_2013_cropHilary was a postdoctoral scholar at WHOI, where she worked 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. Hilary now is at Boston College, but continues to collaborate with us as a PI on the Irminger Sea biological carbon pump project.

Mathieu Dever

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




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.



Beth Connors

Beth was a member of the BOOMLAB for the summer of 2018, as a guest student. Beth graduated from University of California, Berkeley in May where she was a dual major in Marine Science and Integrative Biology. Over the summer, she is learning how to use MATLAB to analyze biogeochemical data from the NSF Ocean Observing Initiative Irminger Sea Array. With her new found love of MATLAB and OOI, she is working to categorize the 2018 summer plankton bloom in the North Atlantic. As a member of the lab, she also is learning a lot about remote sensing, ocean engineering, the biological carbon pump and Winkler titrations. Beth is now a graduate student in the Bowman Lab at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

William Pardis

William is a Summer Student Fellow co-Advised by Anna Michel. This summer he is working to develop a low-cost dissolved gas sensor that can measure oxygen, carbon dioxide and total dissolved gas pressure. William visited from Montana State University where he is majoring in Electrical Engineering. We are thrilled that William has recently returned to WHOI as an Engineer in the Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering Department.

Kanieka Neal

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. Kanieka Neal graduated in 2018 and is a Chemist at Tishcon Corp. Check out this great featured article on Kanieka’s summer research at WHOI!



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. Becca currently is a graduate student in the Kirchstetter Lab in Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley


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. Melanie now is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Rhode Island with Prof. Melissa Omand. Melanie continues to collaborate with us as part of the NASA EXPORTS project.

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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