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Faculty Profile
Leanne Powers

Leanne  Powers

Assistant Professor

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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

Infographic for role of dissolved organic matter and sunlight in chemical and redox cycles. The details are in the paragraph below.

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 and potential positions in my laboratory, please follow this link and contact me at

Current Graduate Advisees

Emma ColemanEmma Coleman

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

Liv GroganLiv Grogan

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

Postdoctoral Investigators

Dr. Lei Xue (Google Scholar and ORCiD)

Ph.D. 2020, Chemistry, SUNY-ESF, advisor: Dr. David Kieber

Postdoctoral Mentors: Drs. David Kieber & Leanne Powers

Reseach interests: aquatic photochemistry, marine organic carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur cycling, marine aerosol, HAB, VOCs, reactive oxygen species

Email/phone: 315-470-6991

Courses Regularly Taught

FCH 510: Environmental Chemistry I (Aquatic Chemistry)

FCH 525: Oceanography

Selected Publications

For a full list of publications, please visit:

Complete Listing: Google Scholar or Experts@ESF

Powers, L.C., Schmitt-Kopplin, P., Gonsior, M. (2023) Evaluating the photochemical reactivity of disinfection byproducts formed during seawater desalination processes. STOTEN. 9: 169292.

Le Roux, D.M., Powers, L.C., Blough, N.V. (2023) Direct Evidence of a Light-Dependent Sink of Superoxide within Chromophoric Dissolved Organic Matter. Environ. Sci. Technol. 57, 20627–20635.

Zhu, Y., Powers, L.C., Kieber, D.J., Miller, W.L. (2022) Depth-resolved photochemical production of hydrogen peroxide in the global ocean using remotely sensed ocean color. Front. Remote. Sens. 3.

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. Org. Geochem. 161: 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. Environ. Sci.Technol. 55: 12095-12105.

Powers, L.C., Conway, A., Mitchelmore, C.L., Fleischacker, S.J., Harir, M., Westerman, D.C., Croué, 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. Environ. Sci. Water Res. Technol. 6: 2521-2541. 

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 Biogeochem. Cycles 33:1423-1439.