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Zachary Ogburn, a second-year graduate student in chemistry, has developed a novel approach to monitoring how microscopic algae adapt—a step that could help improve the marine environment.

Ogburn, using spectroscopy experiments, devised a way to monitor how different chemical conditions prompt changes in microscopic algae. Spectroscopy is the study of the interaction between matter and electromagnetic radiation.

His research was published recently in Analytica Chimica Acta, a leading journal in analytical chemistry. The paper was featured on the journal’s cover.

Microalgae are an important component in marine ecosystems because of their ability to transform large quantities of inorganic compounds into biomass that could potentially be used for fuel. The study examined how phytoplankton take in and change atmospheric carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, and nitrate, one cause of harmful algae blooms.

Continue reading on the Department of Chemistry website.