Marine Organic Geochemistry/Environmental Analytical Chemistry

Dr. Zhanfei Liu
Associate Professor
Marine Science Institute
The University of Texas at Austin

ph: (361) 749-6772 
fax: (361) 749-6777

Brief Description of the Lab
Our lab focuses on investigating the source, distribution, and diagenesis of biogenic organic compounds in marine environments. Most biogenic compounds are produced in the surface ocean through photosynthesis, and they are subsequently subject to different biogeochemical processes. For example, some are degraded or modified by bacteria or zooplankton; some are preserved in a long time scale by interaction with minerals. Elucidating these processes can not only help us to better understand global carbon cycle, but also provide valuable information for paleoceanography and paleoclimate studies. We are also interested in geochemical behaviors of petroleum hydrocarbons in marine environments.

750 Channel View Dr
Port Aransas, TX 78373

  • Geochemistry of Wetland Sediments
    • Contaminants (PAHs)
    • Drying impacts
    • Degradation and bacteria
  • Oil Spill (Dropps Consortium)
    • Toxicity
    • Oil degradation
    • Bacteria interaction
  • Biogeochemistry of Small Peptides
    • Decomposition and hydrolysis
    • Interaction of microbes
    • Developing analytical techniques


-Our NSF RAPID proposal got funded (10-15-2017)!

-Our DROPPS III got funded by GoMRI (10-6-2017)!

-Our Lab and offices have been temporarily relocated to Texas A&M Univ Corpus Christi due to the extensive damage by Hurricane Harvey (10-6-2017). 

-Congratulations to Shuting Liu, who successfully defended her dissertation! Way to go, the new Dr. Liu! (4-19-2016)

-Congratulations to Meredith and Nick, who won the first and second places in oral presentations in the TBEM meeting, respectively! (4-14-2016) 

-Congratulations to Meredith, who won the 2016 James D. Watkins Student Award for Excellence in Research during the 2016 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference (Tampa, FL, Feb 2-4, 2016)! 

-Congratulations to Meredith and Jason, who won the first place in oral presentations and the second place in poster presentations in the TBEM meeting, respectively! (4-10-2015) 

-Our DROPPS II got funded by GoMRI! 

-Congratulations to Meredith Evans, who won the 2nd place of student oral presentations in the 2014 Gulf Estuarine Research Society Meeting! 

-Our lab received a new Frontier Pyrolysis system soon (Many thanks to Dr. Bob Dickey for his generous support!)!
- Congratulations to Nick for receiving the UT Diversity Mentoring Fellowship, and to Shuting for receiving the UT Bruton Fellowship!

- Welcome Nick Reyna and Jason Jenkins! Both of them will join our lab to pursue their MS degrees. They will start this coming summer! 

- Our project of "Chemical analysis on liquid fertilizer" was just funded by Agricen Sciences.  

- Our paper about peptide decomposition in the northern Gulf of Mexico was accepted by Marine Chemistry!  
- Hernando participated in the CARTHE Benthic Sampling Cruise from June 24-29, led by Dr. Brad Rosenheim of Tulane Univ.  He will conduct petroleum hydrocarbon analysis and the relevant microbial community and funtional genes in the deep sea sediment.  
- Welcome Alyssa Riesen who just joined us to work in our lab during this summer! Thanks for the NSF-REU program.   
- The GOM cruise (R/V Pelican) was very successful (pictures later)! We are processing the samples now.
- We are busily preparing our GOM cruise (R/V Pelican) from May 19-26. It will be a lot of fun!  
- The paper about sedimentary organic matter along the Texas coast was just accepted by Organic Geochemistry.
- Dr. Hernando Bacosa joined us in April 2013! His expertise is oil degradation and its interaction with bacteria.