UCSC ocean scientist Margaret Delaney elected fellow of the American Geophysical Union

Margaret Delaney, professor of ocean sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has been elected a fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). The AGU fellows are a select group of distinguished scientists who have attained an acknowledged eminence in a branch of the geophysical sciences.

Delaney's research in paleoceanography and marine geochemistry involves using the geochemical records preserved in marine sediments to understand long-term changes in the oceans. In electing her a fellow, the AGU recognized Delaney "for her innovative work defining links between biogeochemically important elements and past changes in climate; and her altruistic and exemplary service to the oceanographic community."

Delaney's service to the oceanographic community includes major contributions to the ocean drilling programs that enable scientists to obtain sediment cores from the seafloor. She has chaired several panels and committees involved in planning and managing the international Ocean Drilling Program (ODP), which ran from 1985 to 2003, and its successor, the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), which began in October 2003.

"This honor from the AGU is a wonderful statement about all that Peggy Delaney has contributed to ocean drilling over the past several decades," said Gary Griggs, professor of Earth sciences and director of UCSC's Institute of Marine Sciences.

The IODP is an international scientific venture that will bring new technology to bear in the continuing effort to understand the Earth as a global system, its history, and its future. The IODP will use multiple drilling platforms, including two new research vessels--a heavy "riser" vessel provided by Japan and a light drilling vessel sponsored by the United States. Delaney chaired the Conceptual Design Committee that provided recommendations for the U.S.-sponsored research vessel. Several other UCSC faculty have also been closely involved in the ODP and in planning for the new IODP.

"IODP will use the most advanced sampling and observing technologies available to investigate processes and regions of the Earth that were previously inaccessible and poorly understood," Delaney said.

Delaney's research involves analyzing the chemical composition of marine sediments to trace the chemical history of the oceans. She is especially interested in the nutrient history of the ocean, and her work has helped establish long-term records of phosphorus deposition in the seafloor. Her research also addresses how the chemical composition of calcite microfossils may change after deposition in the sediments, which is important because these fossils are a primary tool in deciphering the past composition of the ocean.

Delaney sailed on three ODP expeditions, contributed to several others, and chaired the program's Ocean History Panel for three years. From 1996 to 1999, she was editor of the scientific journal Paleoceanography, published by the AGU. The field of paleoceanography has proven to be of critical importance in understanding the history of Earth's biogeochemistry and climate and, by extension, the implications of global warming and other global changes for the future.

Delaney received her B.S. in chemistry from Yale University and her Ph.D. in oceanography from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She joined the UCSC faculty in 1983.


Note to reporters: You may contact Delaney at (831) 459-4736 or delaney@ucsc.edu.