About me

Hi, my name is Mengli Chen, and my Chinese name is 陈梦立.

I am a research fellow at Tropical Marine Science Institute, National University of Singapore. I work in the area of chemical oceanography. I am particularly interested in the marine environment changes through time. The ongoing global warming is expected to alter the marine environment in the tropical surface ocean, hence affecting many marine species that human depend for daily subsistence. Massive corals are some of the few archives that could infer the past environment when observation is unvailable.

I use natural archives like corals; investigating their chemical compositions and isotopes; and reconstructing the environment in which they lived in. I'm also interested in the chemical cycling of anthropogenic Pb in oceanic and coastal environments.

I'm currently working on these few projects:

Nitrogen isotopes in corals

The nitrogen isotopes provide insightful information on the efficiency of nutrient utilization, change in nutrient source; and therefore a powerful tool understanding marine nutrient cycling. I am investigating the change in trophic state in the western South China Sea from Little Ice Age to present using a 500+ year coral. I'm also working on the environmental implications of chemical fertilizer usage tocoral reefs using a few corals from Bali.

Pb isotope exchange

Lead(Pb) isotope is an efficient tool used in environmental sciences. In an oceanic environment, aerosols have been considered as theprimary source of Pb (95%) in the ocean. However, recent on coastal and estuary waters show some mismatch between Pb isotope in water and Pb isotope aerosolsand these environments do not have much local Pb source. We propose that this results from isotope exchange between dissolved Pb from anthropogenic aerosoldeposition and adsorbed particulate natural crustal Pb on particles deliveredto the ocean by coastal rivers. I'm investigating the mechanism of isotope exchange througha series of designed experiments using Malacca Straits waters. My collaborator, Dr. Reshmi Das is investigating the isotope exchange in the River Brahmaputra.

East China Sea and Pacific GEOTRACES

In the East China Sea and Pacific GEOTRACES program, I work on the dissolved Pb and Pb isotopes and their distributions across the transect. This would expand ourunderstanding of the distribution of anthropogenic Pb in the ocean along the Kuroshiotransects, particularly in the vicinity to the world largest Pb producer.

P in coral skeleton

The phosphorus (P) in coral is of great potential as it may directly link to thenutrient budget in seawater. Long-term monitoring of seawater nutrient isextremely sparse and therefore the coral proxy could fill in the gap. To date,the P in corals has shown encouraging correlation with seawater phosphate.However, due do the complicated biological roles of P, especially the roles ofinorganic and organic P in corals, the incorporation mechanism is still largelyunknown. To fill in the gap, I am trying to separate the inorganic and organicphosphorus in the coral and calibrate them with seawater phosphate. I hope topropose P in corals as a nutrient proxy so that we can better access thenutrient budget in the seawater through coral reconstructions.

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