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Faculty Profile
Leanne Powers

Leanne Powers

Assistant Professor

318 Jahn Laboratory



PhD 2014, University of Georgia, Marine Science

BA 2008, Colby College, Chemistry: Environmental Science

Professional Experience

2015-2016, Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography

2016-2021, Assistant Research Scientist, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory

Research Interests

The pool of reduced carbon stored in the ocean as "dissolved organic matter/carbon" (DOM) is one of earth's major carbon reservoirs, and is similar in size to the pool of oxidized carbon stored in the atmosphere as CO2. A process level understanding of DOM transformations is critical to fully grasp future changes in the size and impact of the DOM pool on global carbon and redox cycles. However, much is still unknown about the marine DOM pool and its relation to carbon and other elemental cycles in the environment! My research is broadly aimed at understanding the fate and reactivity of DOM in the ocean, with a particular focus on improving our quantitative understanding of photochemical DOM cycling by sunlight. To do this, we use a variety of analytical techniques and develop new methods to characterize DOM composition, sources, and reactivity in both the field and in the laboratory.

If you'd like more information about our graduate program, please follow this link to a brief form.

Current Graduate Advisees

Emily FridenEmily Friden

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Kieber and Powers
  • Area of Study: Environ & Forest Chemistry

Liv GroganLiv Grogan

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Powers
  • Area of Study: Environ & Forest Chemistry

Selected Publications

For a full list of publications, please visit:

Complete Listing: Google Scholar

  • Powers, L.C., Lapham, L.L., Malkin, S.Y., Heyes, A., Schmitt-Kopplin, P., Gonsior, M. (2021) Molecular and optical characterization reveals the preservation and sulfurization of chemically diverse porewater dissolved organic matter in oligohaline and brackish Chesapeake Bay sediments. Organic Geochemistry: 104324.
  • Le Roux, D.M., Powers, L.C., Blough, N.V. (2021) Photoproduction rates of one-electron reductants by chromophoric dissolved organic matter via fluorescence spectroscopy: Comparison with superoxide and hydrogen peroxide rates. Environmental Science & Technology.
  • Armstrong, A.W., Powers, L.C., Gonsior, M. (2021) Reproducible determinate of dissolved organic matter photosensitivity. Biogeosciences 18, 3367-3390.
  • Powers, L.C., Del Vecchio, R., Blough, N., McDonald, N., Schmitt-Kopplin, P., Gonsior, M. (2020) Optical properties and photochemical transformation of the dissolved organic matter released by Sargassum. Frontiers in Marine Science 7: 954. Doi: 10.3389/fmars.2020.588287
  • Powers, L.C., Conway, A., Mitchelmore, C.L., Fleischacker, S.J., Harir, M., Westerman, D.C., Crouè, J.-P., Schmitt-Kopplin, P., Richardson, S.D., Gonsior, M. (2020) Tracking the formation of new brominated disinfection by-products during the seawater desalination process. Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology 6: 2521-2541. Doi: 10.1039/d0ew00426j
  • Powers, L.C., Hertkorn, N., McDonald, N., Schmitt-Kopplin, P., Del Vecchio, R., Blough, N.V., Gonsior, M. (2019) Sargassum sp. act as a large region source of marine dissolved organic carbon and polyphenols. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 33:1423-1439.
  • Gonsior, M., Powers, L.C., Williams, E., Place, A., Chen, F., Ruf, A., Schmitt-Kopplin, P. (2019) The chemodiversity of algal dissolved organic matter from lysed Microcystis aeruginosa cells and its ability to form disinfection by-products during chlorination. Water Research, 155: 300-309.
  • Powers, L.C., Luek, J.L., Schmitt-Kopplin, P., Campbell, B.J., Magen, C., Cooper, L.W., Gonsior, M. (2018) Seasonal changes in dissolved organic matter composition in Delaware Bay, USA in March and August 2014. Organic Geochemistry 122: 87-97. doi: 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2018.05.005
  • Powers, L.C., Brandes, J.A., Stubbins, A., Miller, W.L. (2017) MoDIE: Moderate dissolved inorganic carbon (DI13C) isotope enrichment for improved evaluation of DIC photochemical production in natural waters. Marine Chemistry. 194: 1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.marchem.2017.03.007
  • Powers, L.C., Brandes, J.A., Miller, W.L., Stubbins, A. (2017) Using liquid chromatography-isotope ratio mass spectrometry to measure the (DI13C) of dissolved inorganic carbon photochemically produced from dissolved organic carbon. Limnology and Oceanography: Methods.15: 103-115. doi: 10.1002/lom3.10146
  • Powers, L.C., Miller, W.L. (2016) Apparent quantum efficiency spectra for superoxide photoproduction and its formation of hydrogen peroxide in natural waters. Frontiers in Marine Science. 3: 235. doi:10.3389/fmars.2016.00235

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