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Phone: 979.845.5137
Fax: 979.845.6331
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Texas A&M University
Room 403AB, Oceanography and Meteorology Building
MS 3146,
College Station, Texas 77843


  • OCNG 401 - Introduction to Oceanography
  • OCNG 645 - Marine Organic Geochemistry
  • OCNG 649 - Estuarine Biogeochemistry

Current Students:

Xingqian Cui

The application of TEX86 in studying paleoclimate and paleoceanography

Ivan Maulana

Biogeochemical record of large river material transport in the sediments of the Beaufort Sea coastal zone

Noura J. Randle

Paleoclimate proxies using foraminiferal geochemistry, Radiocarbon dating,

Michael Shields

I am currently working on a research project for my undergraduate thesis in Biochemistry.  The project involves studying sediment samples from Galveston Bay.  In my research I am able to apply what I have learned in Biochemistry to the field of Oceanography. 


Visiting Scholars:

Muhammad Jalees

Jun Zhao              

Undergraduate research worker:

Lucas Allison



Dr. Thomas Bianchi

James R. Whatley Chair in Geosciences and Professor, Chemical Section in Dept. of Oceanography and adjunct Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Program

Ph.D. Marine Sciences - Biogeochemistry, University of Maryland, 1987

M.A. Ecology and Evolution, SUNY at Stony Brook, 1981

B.A. Biology/Chemistry, Dowling College, 1978


Dr. Bianchi's general areas of expertise are organic geochemistry, biogeochemical dynamics of aquatic food chains, carbon cycling in estuarine and coastal ecosystems, and biochemical markers of colloidal and particulate organic carbon. He has worked in estuarine systems around the world with particular emphasis on the Mississippi River/Louisiana shelf system over the past six years. Some of this work has focused on the fate and transport of organic carbon source inputs to the Louisiana shelf using chemical biomarkers as source indicators, in addition to recent work on the paleo-reconstruction of hypoxia events on the shelf and relationship between carbon cycling in the Mississippi River plume and hypoxia. A recipient of two Fulbright Awards, Bianchi has published over 125 articles in refereed journals and was lead co-editor (Bianchi, Pennock and Twilley) of a 1999 book entitled Biogeochemistry of Gulf of Mexico Estuaries.

He has sole-authored book entitled, Biogeochemistry of Estuaries published in 2007 by Oxford University Press. More recently he was co-author on book by Dale, V., C. Kling, J.L. Meyer, J. Sanders, H. Stallworth, T. Armitage, D. Wangness, T.S. Bianchi, A. Blumberg, W. Boynton, D.J. Conley, W. Crumpton, M. David, D. Gilbert, R.W. Howarth, R. Lawrence, K. Mankin, J. Opaluch, H. Paerl, K. Recknow, A.N. Sharpley, T.W. Simpson, C. Snyder, and D. Wright, published in 2010 entitled Hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of Mexico (Springer Press), and another book as lead co-author by Bianchi, T.S. and E.A. Canuel, published in 2011 entitled Chemical Biomarkers in Aquatic Ecosystems, published by Princeton University Press. Bianchi is currently finishing two other books, one sole-authored to be published in 2012 entitled River Deltas: Sea-Level Rise and Cities in Peril to be published by Oxford University Press (due date in February 2013), and another by Bianchi, T.S., Allison, M.A., and W. Cai. entitled Biogeochemistry of Large-River Delta-Front Estuaries, to be published by Cambridge University Press. (due date December 2012).

Finally, Bianchi currently serves as an Associate Editor for the journals Marine Chemistry and Geochimica Cosmochimica et Acta, and has just accepted the post as Editor-in Chief of journal Estuarine and Coastal Shelf Science.

Research Interests

  • Organic Geochemistry
  • Biogeochemical Dynamics in Aquatic Food Chains
  • Carbon Cycling in Riverine, Estuarine and Coastal Ecosystems
  • Biochemical Markers of Colloidal and Particulate Organic Carbon


  • How temporal changes in river discharge and storms affect the source and age distribution of sedimentary organic carbon across a river-dominated margin
  • Millennial variations in Arabic sediment proxies: the connection to North Atlantic Climate
  • Anthropogenic impacts on carbon cycling in the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta: changes in sources, nature and age of organic carbon
  • Comparison between organic carbon cycling in large and small river systems


  • Professor, Dept. of Oceanography, Texas A&M University, 2006–present
  • Adjunct Professor, Marine Sciences Research Center, State University of New York at Stony Brook, New York, 2005–present
  • Professor, Dept.of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2002–2005
  • Associate Professor, Dept.of E.E. Biology, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, and Acting Director of the Institute for Earth and Ecosystem Sciences (IEES), 1998–2002
  • Assistant Professor, Dept. of E.E. Biology, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1994–1998
  • Assistant Professor, Dept. of Biology, Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas, 1990–1994
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, New York, 1988–1990


  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAS) AAS Fellow 2013
  • 11th International Symposium on the Interactions between Sediments and Water Esperance, Australia (invited Keynote Speaker), 2008
  • William Evans Fellowship, Research Scholar, Otago University, New Zealand, 2007
  • Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden (invited Plenary Speaker), 2003
  • Fulbright Research Scholarship, U.S./Sweden, 2000
  • Mortar Board Excellence in Teaching at Tulane University, 1988
  • Lamar University Excellence in Research Award, 1994
  • Lamar University Excellence in Teaching Award, 1994
  • Visiting Scientist Award, Stockholm University, Sweden, 1994
  • Fulbright Research Scholarship, U.S/Cyprus, 1993
  • TARP Award, to attend the Gordon Conference on Chemical Oceanography, Meriden, New Hampshire, 1991
  • Sterrer Fellowship, Bermuda Biological Research Station, 1990
  • Sterrer Fellowship, Bermuda Biological Research Station1989
  • Theodore Roosevelt Fellowship, American Museum of Natural History, 1989
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Milbrook, N.Y., 1988-1990
  • Lerner-Gray Fund Award for Marine Research, The American Museum of Natural History, 1986
  • Predoctoral Research Award, The Society of Sigma Xi, 1986

Ten Selected Publications

Bianchi, T.S., P. Westman, C. Rolff, E. Engelhaupt, T. Andren, and R. Elmgren. 2000.
Cyanobacterial blooms in the Baltic Sea: Natural or human-induced? Limnol . Oceanogr. 45 (3): 716-726. (Selected as Featured Article in L&O).

Mitra, S., T.S. Bianchi, L. Guo, and P. H. Santschi. 2000. Sources and transport of terrestrially-derived orgamic matter in the Chesapeake Bay and Middle Atlantic Bight. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 64: 3547-3557.

Chen, N., T. S. Bianchi, and J. M. Bland. 2003. Novel decomposition products of chlorophyll-a in continental shelf (Louisiana shelf) sediments: Formation and transformation of carotenol chlorin esters. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 67: 2027-2042.

Bianchi, T.S., T. Filley, K. Dria, and P. Hatcher. 2004. Temporal variability in sources of dissolved organic carbon in the lower Mississippi River. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 68: 959-967.

Bianchi, T.S., L.A. Wysocki, M. Stewart, T.R. Filley, and B.A. McKee. 2007. Temporal variability in terrestrially-derived sources of particulate organic carbon in the lower Mississippi River. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta. 71: 4425-4437.

Bianchi, T.S., and M.A. Allison. 2009. Large-river delta-front estuaries as natural “recorders” of global environmental change. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci.: 106 (20): 8085-8092.

Bianchi, T.S., S.F. DiMarco, R.W. Smith, and K.M. Schreiner. 2009. A gradient of dissolved organic carbon and lignin from Terrebonne-Timbalier Bay Estuary to the Louisiana Shelf (USA). Mar. Chem. 117: 32-41.

Bianchi, T.S., S.F. DiMarco, J.H. Cowan, Jr., R.D. Hetland, P. Chapman, J.W. Day, and M.A. Allison. 2010. The science of hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: A review. Sci. Total Environ. 408: 1471-1484.

Bianchi, T.S. 2011. The role of terrestrially derived organic carbon in the coastal ocean: A changing paradigm and the priming effect. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 108(49): 19,473-19,481.

Smith, R.W., T.S. Bianchi, and X. Li. 2012. A re-evaluation of the use of branched GDGTs as terrestrial biomarkers: Implications for the BIT and TEX86 Indices. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta. 80:14-29.


  • American Society of Limnology and Oceanography
  • Estuarine Research Federation
  • American Chemical Society
  • American Geophysical Union
  • European Association of Organic Geochemists

Published Books

chemical_l.jpgChemical Biomarkers in Aquatic Ecosystems
Bianchi, Thomas S. and Canuel, Elzabeth A.
Princeton University Press, ISBN 97800-691-13414-7. 2011.

This textbook provides a unique and thorough look at the application of chemical biomarkers to aquatic ecosystems. Defining a chemical biomarker as a compound that can be linked to particular sources of organic matter identified in the sediment record, the book indicates that the application of these biomarkers for an understanding of aquatic ecosytems consists of a biogeochemical approach that has been quite successful but underused.

  • Provides a guide to the broad diversity of chemical biomarkers in aquatic environments
  • The first textbook to be structured around the compounds themselves
  • Describes the structure, biochemical synthesis, analysis, and reactivity of each class of biomarkers
  • Offers a selection of relevant applications to aquatic systems, including lakes, rivers, estuaries, oceans, and paleoenvironments
  • Demonstrates the utility of using organic molecules as tracers of processes occurring in aquatic ecosystems, both modern and ancient

Hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of Mexico
Dale, V., C. Kling, J.L. Meyer, J. Sanders, H. Stallworth, T. Armitage, D. Wangness, T.S. Bianchi, A. Blumberg, W. Boynton, D.J. Conley, W. Crumpton, M. David, D. Gilbert, R.W. Howarth, R. Lawrence, K. Mankin, J. Opaluch, H. Paerl, K. Recknow, A.N. Sharpley, T.W. Simpson, C. Snyder, and D. Wright.  2009. Springer

Hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of MexicoThe goal of the book is to examine scientific advances since 2000 that may have increased understanding and options in three general areas related to hypoxia:

  • This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Characterization the Cause(s) of Hypoxia. The physical, biological and chemical processes that affect the development, persistence and extent of hypoxia in the northern Gulf of Mexico.
  • This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   Characterization of Nutrient Fate, Transport and Sources. Nutrient loadings, fate, transport and sources in the Mississippi River that impact Gulf Hypoxia.
  • Scientific Basis for Goals and Management Options. The scientific basis for, and recommended revisions to, the goals proposed in the Action Plan; and the scientific basis for the efficacy of recommended management actions to reduce nutrient flux from point and nonpoint sources.

In addressing the state of the science, the book focuses on the strengths and limitations of the science in managing the Gulf hypoxia problem, including available data, models and model results and uncertainty.

Biogeochemistry of Estuaries
Bianchi, T.S.  2007.  Oxford University Press, 720 pp.

Biogeochemistry of EstuariesBiogeochemistry of Estuaries offers a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to understanding biogeochemical cycling in estuaries. Designed as a text for intermediate to advanced students, this book utilizes numerous illustrations and an extensive literature base to impart the current state-of-the-art knowledge in this field. While many of the existing books in estuarine science are comprised of edited volumes, typically focused on highly specific topics in estuaries,Biogeochemistry of Estuaries provides, for the first time, a unique foundation in the areas of geomorphology, geochemistry, biochemistry, aqueous chemistry, and ecology, while making strong linkages (trhoughout the text) to ecosystem-based processes in estuarine sciences. Estuaries, located at the interface between land and the coastal ocean are dynamic, highly productive systems that, in many cases, have been historically associated with development of many of the great centers of early human civilization. Consequentially, these systems have and continue to be highly impacted by anthropogenic inputs. This timely book takes the foundational basis of elemental cycling in estuarine and applies it to estuarine management issues. Biogeochemistry of Estuaries will be welcomed by estuarine/marine scientists, ecologists, biogeochemists, and environmentalists around the world.

Biogeochemistry of Gulf of Mexico Estuaries
Bianchi, T.S., J. Pennock, and R. Twilley (eds.) 1999.  John Wiley & Sons, 428 pp.

Biogeochemistry of Gulf of Mexico Estuaries

The fisheries of the Gulf of Mexico make up the largest commercial fishery in the United States. But the ecology of the Gulf is in trouble: much of the Gulf is subject to critical problems with toxic microorganisms. This important book addresses the emergency, providing indispensable research findings and material on sedimentary processes, nutrient flows, carbon, and trace metal cycling. Time is of the essence in examining these problems; this book cuts to the heart of the matter, providing ecologists and biologists with the first coherent treatment of the subject.

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