Chloe Stanton
Chloe Stanton
Chloe Stanton

Broad research interests:
-Development and sustenance of habitability on Earth and other planets
-Evolution of marine and atmospheric redox chemistry throughout Earth’s history
-Biogeochemical cycling of nitrogen species
-Marine nitrous oxide production, in modern and ancient environments

Chloe Stanton

Abiotic Nitrous Oxide Production in the Ferruginous Proterozoic Ocean

Most of my recent work focuses on abiotic nitrous oxide production as it applies to the ferruginous and largely anoxic Proterozoic ocean. I have focused my attention on one reaction, the reduction of nitric oxide by iron (II), and the resultant rate of nitrous oxide production. I have utilized microsensor electrochemistry, gas chromatography, and spectrophotometry to track each involved species throughout the reaction progress.

With this information about the rates of this reaction, along with a basic understanding of Proterozoic ocean chemistry, an overall upward flux of nitrous oxide during this time period was calculated. Using a 1D atmospheric photochemistry model, written by Dr. James Kasting, this upward flux was used to define the sustained nitrous oxide mixing ratio in the Proterozoic atmosphere. Further climate modeling could then by used to understand the temperature increase associated with these concentration levels.

Greenhouse gases like nitrous oxide are important to study throughout Earth's history for multiple reasons. These gases are integral to sustain and evolve life on Earth, and can be used to make inferences about the temperatures and habitability of other planets. Furthermore, anthropogenic release of greenhouse gases has greatly influenced our modern climate. We can use Earth's greenhouse history to better understand consequences of increased greenhouse warming in the present. It is likely that nitrous oxide could have been a key player in the early atmosphere; helping to warm early environments, partially alleviating the Faint Young Sun Paradox, and upholding comfortable temperatures for early life forms.

Expect a publication in the next few months describing these results and ideas! Please feel free to contact me with questions or comments.

May 2017: GT CoS 2017 Graduate Profiles
April 2017: GT CoS Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award
April 2017: 2nd Place SBS Oral Presentation
May 2016: Unlocking the Mysteries of the Microbes
March 2016: GT EAS Undergraduate of the Month
July 2014: Sapelo Island Field Research