Mary Jo Richardson

Mary Jo Richardson

Professor Emeritus

Geological Oceanography: Sources and Sinks of Oceanic Particles


  • Dynamics and biogeochemistry of particle formation, sinking, resuspension, transport and deposition in the ocean from the continental shelf to the deep sea and from surface waters to the seafloor
  • Quantifying particulate organic carbon (POC) in the ocean through the development of algorithms from satellite ocean color that are sea-truthed with in-situ POC and transmissometer data to unravel global ocean processes of carbon recycling
  • Increasing the participation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers. Increasing diversity in Geoscience disciplines and improving Geoscience education opportunities through enhanced undergraduate and graduate experiences. 

Selected Publications

  • Lerner, P., O. Marchal, P. Lam, W.D. Gardner, A.V. Mishonov, M.J. Richardson, 2020. A Model Study of the Relative Influences of Scavenging and Circulation on 230Th and 231Pa in the western North Atlantic. Deep-Sea Research I, Volume 155, January 2020, 103159.  
  • John, Seth, Hengdi Liang; Tom Weber; Tim DeVries; Francois Primeau; Keith Moore; Mark Holzer; Natalie Mahowald; Wilford Gardner; Alexey Mishonov; Mary Jo Richardson; Yannice Faugere; Guillaume Taburet, AWESOME OCIM: A simple, flexible, and powerful tool for modeling elemental cycling in the oceans, 2020. Chemical Geology. 
  • Gardner, W.D., M.J. Richardson, A.V. Mishonov, P.E. Biscaye, 2018. Global comparison of Benthic Nepheloid Layers Based on 52 years of Nephelometer and Transmissometer Measurements. Progress in Oceanography, 168, 100-111.
  • Gardner, W.D., A.V. Mishonov, M.J. Richardson, 2018. Decadal Comparisons of Particulate Matter in Repeat Transects in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Ocean Basins,  Geophysical Research Letters 
  • Gardner, W.D., M.J. Richardson, A.V. Mishonov. Global Assessment of Benthic Nepheloid Layers and Linkage with Upper Ocean Dynamics.  Earth and Planetary Science Letters 482 (2018) 126–134
  • Richardson, M.J. Why I Care About Drawing Down Carbon Dioxide.  Invited presentation. United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Media Zone, 18 September 2017.
  • Gardner, W.D., B.E. Tucholke, M.J. Richardson, and P.E. Biscaye. Benthic storms, nepheloid layers, and linkage with upper ocean dynamics in the Western North Atlantic.  Invited Review article, 2016, Marine Geology,
  • Boss, E., Guidi, L., Richardson, M.J., Stemmann, L., Gardner, W., Bishop, J.K.B., Anderson, R.F., Sherrell, R.M., Optical techniques for remote and in-situ characterization of particles pertinent to GEOTRACES, Progress in Oceanography (2015), doi:
  • Richardson, M.J. 2014. “Women in Oceanography, A Decade Later”, The Oceanography Magazine, Vol 27, No 4, p 206
  • Son, Y.B., W.D. Gardner, M.J. Richrdson, J. Ishizaka, J.H. Ryu, Y.H. Ahn, H.-C Kim, S.H. Kim, S.H. Lee, 2012. Tracing offshore low-salinity plumes in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico during the summer season by use of multispectral remote-sensing data. J. Oceanography. DOI: 10.1007/10872-012-0131-y
  • Son, Y.B., W.D. Gardner, A.V. Mishonov, and M.J. Richardson, 2009. Model-based remote sensing algorithms for particulate organic carbon (POC) in the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico, Journal of Earth System Science, 118 (1), 1-10.
  • Ross, C.B., W.D. Gardner, M.J. Richardson, V.L. Asper, 2009. Currents and sediment transport in the Mississippi Canyon and effects of Hurricane Georges. Continental Shelf Research 29: 1384–1396.
  • Son, Y.B., W.D. Gardner, A.V. Mishonov, and M.J. Richardson, 2009. Multispectral Remote Sensing Algorithms for Particulate Organic Carbon (POC): the Gulf of Mexico, Remote Sensing of Environment 113:50–61. DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2008.08.011
  • Nianzhi, J., Zhang, Y., Zeng, Y., W.D. Gardner, M. J. Richardson and A.V. Mishonov and others, 2007. Early Impacts of the Three Gorges Dam on the East China Sea Ecosystem, Water Research, 41: 1287-1293.
  • Richardson, M.J., M. Roman, C. Aguilar, C.R. Benitez-Nelson, T.M. Brocher, T. Drake, R.A. Fine, J. P. Ray, K. Tedesco. 2007 Committee of Visitors Advice to the NSF Ocean Sciences Division, EOS, 88: 149.
  • Richardson, M.J. 2006. “Women in Oceanography, Biographic Sketch”, The Oceanography Magazine, Vol 18, No 1, p 103.
  • Gardner, W. D. A.V. Mishonov, and M. J. Richardson, 2006, Global POC Concentrations from in-situ and satellite data. Deep-Sea Research II, 53 (5-7): 718-740.
  • Zawada,D.G., J. R. V. Zaneveld, E. Boss, W. D. Gardner, M. J. Richardson, and A. V. Mishonov, 2005, A comparison of hydrographically- and optically-derived mixed layer depths, Journal of Geophysical Research. 110, C11001, doi:10.1029/2004JC002417.


Ph.D., Oceanography, Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1980

A.B., Geology/Mathematics, Smith College, 1975


Texas A&M University, Association of Former Students Distinguished Teaching Award -College Level – 2016

Antarctic Service Medal – 2013

Women’s Faculty Network Mentoring Award – 2007 – 1st recipient (University-wide)

Regents’ Professor – 2006

Texas A&M University, International Excellence Award – 1995

Texas A&M University, Association of Former Students Distinguished Teaching Award -College Level – 1991

National Science Foundation Faculty Award for Women Scientists and Engineers – 1991

Sigma Xi – 1975

Phi Beta Kappa - 1975

Additional Information


  • Regents’ Professor of Oceanography and Geology and Geophysics, 2006-present
  • Santa Chiara Study Abroad Program, Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy, 2011
  • Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Athens, Greece, Faculty Development Leave - 2009
  • Interim Dean, College of Geosciences, Texas A&M University, 2002-2004
  • Professor, Departments of Oceanography and Geology/Geophysics, Texas A&M University, 1994-2006
  • Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, College of Geosciences and Maritime Studies, Texas A&M University, 1993-2002
  • Associate Professor, Oceanography and Geology, Texas A&M University, 1990-1994
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Geology, Texas A&M University, 1986-1990
  • Research Associate, Oceanography, Texas A&M University, 1985-1986
  • Assistant Professor, Geology and Geography, City University of New York, 1981-1985
  • Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, Columbia University, 1980-1981
  • Postdoctoral Investigator, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1980

Selected Presentations

  • Richardson, M.J., N.A. Zuck*, W.D. Gardner, 2016. The Effect of Mississippi River Discharge on the Concentration and Composition of Particulate Matter along the Texas-Louisiana Shelf during Summers 2012 and 2013, Ocean Sciences Meeting in February 2016, New Orleans, LA.
  • Richardson, M.J., W.D. Gardner, 2016. Oceanography and Geoscience Scholars at Texas A&M University Funded through the NSF-STEM (Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Program, Ocean Sciences Meeting in February 2016, New Orleans, LA.
  • Gardner, W.D., M.J. Richardson, A. Mishonov, 2016. Global Distribution and Intensity of Deep-Water Benthic Nepheloid Layers, Ocean Sciences Meeting in February 2016, New Orleans,LA.
  • Gray, R.*, M.J. Richardson, W.D. Gardner, S.J. DiMarco, 2016. Annual and Seasonal Changes in POC, PON, and Total Particulate Matter in the Gulf of Mexico, Ocean Sciences Meeting in February 2016, New Orleans, LA.
  • Gardner, W.D., Richardson, M.J., Mishonov, A.V., Biscaye, P.E. 2014. Global Distribution and Intensity of Deep-Water Benthic Nepheloid Layers – What Satellites, Floats and Gliders Don’t See. Ocean Sciences Meeting, Hawaii, February 25, 2014.
  • Gardner, W. D., Richardson, M.J., Mishonov, A V., 2013. Benthic Nepheloid Layers. Gordon Research Conference, Biddeford, ME, August 4-9 2013
  • Richardson, M. J., Gardner, W. D., 2013. High Impact Educational Practices: Geoscience Field-Based Learning during a Texas A&M Study Abroad Semester in Italy. GSA South Central meeting, Austin, TX April 4-5, 2013
  • Zuck, N.A., E. Cochran, W.D. Gardner, M.J. Richardson, S.F. DiMarco, 2013. Particulate Matter And Hypoxia On Texas/Louisiana Shelf During Summer, 2012. GSA South Central meeting, Austin, TX April 4-5, 2013.
  • Gardner, W.D., M.J. Richardson, 2012. Particle Dynamics: Biogeochemical Processes, Optical Proxies, Sources and Sinks. Brazil-Texas A&M University Science and Education Internationalization conference and workshop, Porto de Galinhas – PE/Brazil, March 26-29, 2012.
  • Cochran, E. M., Gardner, W. D., Richardson, M. J., DiMarco, S. F., 2012, Optics And Composition Of Particulate Matter In Hypoxic Areas Of The Texas/Louisiana Shelf. Ocean Sciences, Salt Lake City, UT, Feb. 2012.
  • Richardson, M. J., Gardner, W. D., 2012. Field-Based Laboratories In Oceanography And Geology During A Study Abroad Semester In Italy, Ocean Sciences, Salt Lake City, UT, Feb. 2012.
  • Jacobsen, M., Kaunas, C. Miner, K. Richardson, M.J., Stelly,L., Yennello., S., 2012, From Staff Training to Faculty-Staff Interaction: Identifying Issues and Finding Solutions, NSF Joint Annual Meeting for awardees funded for ADVANCE and other initiatives in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources, June 2012.
  • Gardner, W. D, Richardson, M. J., Karageorgis, A. P., Krasakopoulou, E., Son, Y. B., Mishonov, A. V. (2010), Measuring Particulate Organic Carbon (POC) in the Eastern Mediterranean From Satellites, Eos Trans. AGU, 91(26), Ocean Sci. Meet. Suppl., Abstract B0151-10
  • Richardson, M.J. and W.D. Gardner, 2010. Educating a Diverse Generation of Geoscientists, Eos Trans. AGU, 91(26), Ocean Sci. Meet. Suppl., Abstract ED43A-02

*indicates student author

Science and Scenery from Antarctica

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