Kenneth H. Coale

Professor Receives National Honor

Kenneth H. Coale (courtesy of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories)

Kenneth H. Coale (courtesy of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories)

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories Kenneth H. Coale has been Named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Media contacts:
Brynn Kaufman, MLML, 831-771-4401
Kenneth Coale, MLML, 831-771-4406
Kat Zambon, AAAS, 202-326-6434

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories Professor of Marine Biogeochemistry Kenneth H. Coale has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for groundbreaking experiments linking iron to plankton growth, marine production and climate change. Coale is among a select number of California State University faculty members to receive this distinction.

“It is truly an honor for our little institution in Moss Landing to be recognized by such a prominent and respected scientific body,” Coale said.

Coale was elected as an AAAS Fellow for studies of trace element biogeochemistry in marine waters and the response of marine phytoplankton to exogenous iron deposition.  He is a marine biogeochemist who studies the cycles of chemicals in the sea and the natural and anthropogenic processes that influence these cycles.

Climate change research

The professor was the chief scientist/principal investigator on all the U.S.-led open ocean iron fertilization experiments in both the equatorial Pacific and Southern Ocean that have advanced the “Iron Hypothesis” of phytoplankton production and climate forcing.

His research interests include trace element, carbon and nutrient cycling in ocean, coastal and freshwater systems; the application of natural and anthropogenic radionuclides in the study of marine rate processes; the biogeochemical cycling of mercury in aquatic and atmospheric systems, and the transport of mercury from the oceans to terrestrial systems via fog.

Coale serves on the California Ocean Protection Council’s Science Advisory Team and is a trustee for the Ocean Science Trust. In a recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Coale and coworkers identified a neurotoxin produced in iron-fertilized open ocean regions.

“This work definitely reveals a wrinkle in plans to use iron fertilization of the oceans as a way to combat global warming,” Coale said. “It is much easier to break an ecosystem than it is to fix one. In light of these findings, we should redouble our efforts to reduce carbon emissions, the primary culprit for ocean ecosystem damage worldwide.”

Advancing science

Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. This year, 401 members have been awarded this honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

New Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on at the 2015 AAAS Annual Meeting to be held in February in San Jose.

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) are the graduate program and research facilities administered by San Jose State University serving seven California State University (CSU) campuses located in Fresno, Stanislaus, Sacramento, San Francisco, Hayward, San Jose and Monterey Bay.  MLML, the second oldest marine lab in the Monterey Bay region, has grown from its humble beginnings in a converted cannery building in 1966, to an internationally renowned program for excellence in all marine science disciplines.

San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,740 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science as well as Science Translational Medicine and Science Signaling. AAAS was founded in 1848, and includes 254 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of one million. The non-profit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert! the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.