Albert ColmanAssistant Professor

Research Focus:
Geobiology, isotope geochemistry, aqueous chemistry
(773) 834-1278
Hinds 321

Research Interests

My research examines feedbacks in modern and ancient biogeochemical cycles, the resultant controls on atmospheric and oceanic chemistry, and the links to climate and paleoclimate. This work employs a combination of field based studies (oceanographic; hot springs; soils), laboratory microbiology and geochemistry experiments, mathematical modeling, and advanced stable isotope analytical techniques.

Current major individual research topics:

  1. Phosphorus biogeochemistry in aquatic ecosystems;
  2. Carbon monoxide in anaerobic microbial ecosystems (e.g., hot springs, soils) and links to the chemistry of early Earth’s atmosphere;
  3. Couplings between the marine phosphorus cycle, ocean productivity, and atmospheric composition on geologic timescales;
  4. Paleoclimate and paleoaltimetric reconstruction using the δ18O of phosphate and carbonate minerals and Δ47 of carbonate minerals.

Selected Publications

  • McCoy, SJ, Pfister CA, Olack G, Colman AS (2015) Diurnal and tidal patterns of carbon uptake and growth in intertidal coralline algae. Marine Ecology, in press.
  • Colman, AS. (2015)  Sponge symbionts and the marine P cycle.   PNAS, 112, 4191-4192.
  • Voelker, AHL, AS Colman, G Olack, JJ Waniek, D Hodell (2015) Oxygen and hydrogen isotope signatures of Northeast Atlantic Water Masses. Deep Sea Research II, 10.1016/j.dsr2.2014.11.006.


23805. Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry. PQ: CHEM 11100-11200-11300 or
equivalent; GEOS  13100-13200-13300 or consent of instructor. Stable isotopes of H, C,
O, N, and S are valuable tools for understanding the biological and geochemical
processes that have shaped the composition of Earth's atmosphere and oceans
throughout our planet's history. This course examines basic thermodynamic and
kinetic theory to describe the behavior of isotopes in chemical and biological
systems. We then examine the stable isotope systematics of localized environmental
processes, and see how local processes contribute to global isotopic signals that
are preserved in ice, sediment, rock, and fossils. Special emphasis is placed on the
global carbon cycle, the history of atmospheric oxygen levels, and paleoclimate.
A. Colman. Winter.

23900. Environmental Chemistry. (=ENST 23900) PQ: CHEM 11101-
11201 or equivalent, and prior calculus course. The focus of this course is the
fundamental science underlying issues of local and regional scale pollution. In
particular, the lifetimes of important pollutants in the air, water, and soils are
examined by considering the roles played by photochemistry, surface chemistry,
biological processes, and dispersal into the surrounding environment. Specific
topics include urban air quality, water quality, long-lived organic toxins, heavy
metals, and indoor air pollution. Control measures are also considered. D. Archer,
A. Colman. Autumn. L.