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Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Professor Eric P Achterberg MSc, PhD, CChem, MRSC


Professor Eric P Achterberg's photo
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As a marine biogeochemist, my research involves the interactions between chemical, biological and physical processes in the oceans. My team investigates how changes in the chemistry in the ocean as a result of anthropogenic drivers, impacts biological processes.

MSc Environmental Chemistry, University of Wageningen, The Netherlands (1989)

PhD Chemistry Oceanography, University of Liverpool (1994)




Research interests

Specialism: Marine Biogeochemistry

The field of my research activities is related to Global Change and Ecosystem Functioning. The research is approached from two directions: field measurements and laboratory studies.

The research is interdisciplinary and undertaken in collaboration with national (e.g. MBA, PML, BAS, Universities of Birmingham, Essex, Liverpool, Plymouth, East Anglia, Reading) and international partners (e.g. in Australia, Belgium, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Kuwait, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, US).

Open Ocean Biogeochemistry

My main open ocean research interest lies in the study of trace metal, nutrient and carbon distribution, behaviour and speciation and the interactions with geochemical and biological processes.

Current programmes that we are involved in:

  • UK SOLAS (influence of Saharan dust inputs on microbial communities in N Atlantic)
  • Atlantic Meridional Transect Study (Fe, carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus biogeochemistry and nutrient limitation)
  • Extended Ellett Line programme (Fe biogeochemistry and limitation)
  • Southern Ocean BAS programme (Fe biogeochemistry and nutrient limitation)
  • 36ºN consortium (DOC and DON biogeochemistry; with Liverpool)
  • Fe uptake by marine phytoplankton (with MBA)
  • UK SOLAS (air-sea exchange of climatically important gases; with PML)
  • Marie Curie Post-DOC programme (role of sulphur compounds (thiols) in metal regulation by phytoplankton)
  • Ocean acidification (with UEA and PML).

Links to active collaborative projects:

AMT (Atlantic Meridional Transect)

SOLAS (Surface Ocean - Lower Atmosphere Study)

36 N project

Research group(s)

Marine Biogeochemistry

Research project(s)

UK ocean acidification impacts on the surface ocean (UKOARP)

Aluminium distributions in the Atlantic Ocean

Aluminium measurements are carried out to gain further knowledge of Al cycling in the oceans and to estimate regional dust deposition fluxes.

Iron Isotopes in seawater samples

Surface ocean lower atmosphere study (SOLAS)


RAGNARoCC: Radiatively active gases from the North Atlantic Region and Climate Change

Understanding the exceptional heat tolerance of reef corals from the Persian/Arabian Gulf


Book Section(s)

  • Ocean fertilisation: a potential means of geo-engineering? - Lampitt, R.S., Achterberg, E.P., Anderson, T.R., Hughes, J.A., Iglesias-Rodriguez, M.D., Kelly-Gerreyn, B.A., Lucas, M., Popova, E.E., Sanders, R., Shepherd, J.G., Smythe-Wright, D. and Yool, A.. In Geo-Engineering Climate Change: Environmental Necessity or Pandora's Box? - Thompson, J. Michael T. and Launder, Brian (eds.)
    Published by:
    Page Range:
  • Metal ion-binding properties of phytochelatins and related ligands - Devez, A., Achterberg, E. and Gledhill, M.. In Metallothioneins and Related Chelators - Sigel, A., Sigel, H. and Sigel, R.K.O. (eds.)
    Published by:
    Cambridge, UK
    Metal Ions in Life Sciences
    Page Range:
  • Transregional linkages in the north-eastern Atlantic - an `end-to-end' analysis of pelagic ecosystems - Fox, Clive, Harris, Roger, Sundby, Svein, Achterberg, Eric, Allen, J. Icarus, Allen, John, Baker, Alex, Brussaard, Corina P.D., Buckley, Paul, Cook, Elizabeth J., Dye, Stephen R., Edwards, Martin, Fernand, Liam, Kershaw, Peter, Metcalfe, Julian, Osterhus, Svein, Potter, Ted, Sakshaug, Egil, Speirs, Douglas, Stenevik, Erling, St. John, Mike, Thingstad, Frede and Wilson, Ben. In Oceanography and Marine Biology: an annual review. Vol. 47
    Published by:
    London, UK
    Page Range:


Professor Eric P Achterberg
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton University of Southampton Waterfront Campus European Way Southampton SO14 3ZH United Kingdom

Room Number: NOCS/166-09

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