2005 ROBERT ANDERSON
Dr. Robert F. Anderson of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, for his innovative contributions in the fields of biochemical cycles, ocean sedimentation and climate variability, through his development and use of pioneering radioisotope tracers and his scientific leadership in multidisciplinary programs.
Dr. Anderson is a Senior Scholar and the Associate Director for Geochemistry at the Lamont-Doherty Observatory in Palisades, New York, and an Adjunct Professor of Columbia University. He holds a B.Sc. in Chemistry / Oceanography from the University of Washington, and a Ph.D. in Oceanography from the Joint Program of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Dr. Anderson has recently received the Director's Award for Research Excellence and the Annual Mentoring Award from the Lamont-Doherty Observatory.
Dr. Anderson has done pioneering work in the use of several radioisotopes for understanding ocean biogeochemical cycles and sedimentary processes, and for inferring their role in past climate variability in particular. Using uranium series and other isotopes, he established past particle-scavenging rates and processes in the ocean, and used this information to reconstruct how the rain of biogenic material to the seabed has varied with climate change. He pioneered the use of uranium as a tracer for the level of anoxia in marine sediments, and has used its concentrations in historical sediments to infer the ocean's reduction-oxidation state and estimate biological productivity during past climate states. His work has shown that biological productivity in the Southern Ocean during the last glacial maximum was much higher than present-day pelagic productivity, and has led to important discoveries about the role of productivity changes in mediating atmospheric CO2 levels. Dr. Anderson has been highly influential in mentoring young scientists, leading the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study in the Southern Ocean, and now leading the planning of GEOTRACES, an international effort to determine the marine biogeochemical cycles of trace elements and their isotopes on a global scale.