Dr. Rachel Shelley specializes in the biogeochemical cycling of trace elements in the ocean, with a focus on atmospheric supply and transfer across the air-sea interface. On the cruise, she will be working with Dr Bill Landing, Florida State University, to collect aerosol, rain water and sea water samples for the determination of a suite of trace elements. Some of these elements are essential nutrients for the bacterio-plankton community (e.g. iron, cobalt, copper, zinc), whereas others are pollutants with no known biological role (e.g. lead), or can be used as a tracer of atmospheric inputs (aluminum).

Much of her research has focused on the North Atlantic Ocean because of its proximity to the Sahara Desert. The Sahara is the single, most active mineral dust source on the planet, supplying vital bio-active trace elements to the open ocean, but also as far west as the Caribbean, the Americas and the Amazon basin. She has participated in a number of expeditions in the Atlantic, from Reykjavik, Iceland in the far north (68°N) to the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean at 60°.

She has recently completed a LabexMER Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Laboratoire des sciences de l’Environnement MARin (LEMAR) in Brest, France. She received her BSc. (Environmental Science), MSc. (Marine Science) and Ph.D. (Environmental Science) from the University of Plymouth, UK. Before starting her Fellowship in France, she was a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Florida State University. Her spare time is spent in or on the water.