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School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment

Faculty and Staff Directory

Eric Tappa

Title: Research Associate
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-7473
Office: EWS 515
Resources: cv
Eric Tappa

My work primarily centers on staging and maintaining our offshore field programs (Santa Barbara Basin, Gulf of California, Gulf of Mexico and Cariaco Basin), generation and archival of data (geochemical, sedimentological, trace metal and stable isotopes), operation, training and maintenance on our Isoprime stable isotope ratio mass spec, JY Ultima-C ICP-AES, and our elemental analyzers, and the supervision of graduate and undergraduate students in the Marine Sediments Research Laboratory (MSRL) of the SEOE.


The faculty, staff and students in the MSRL are presently involved with projects in the Cariaco Basin, the California Borderlands, the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf of California, the eastern Equatorial Pacific and the Indonesian archipelago. One of the primary objectives of our research is the reconstruction of paleoceanographic and paleoclimatic conditions during the Neogene using deep sea sediments. Another area of research that we are involved in is quantifying the production and flux of sediments in the ocean through the use of sediment traps. In addition to measuring the production and flux of sediments, our sediment trapping projects also present us with the unique opportunity to contribute to the development and calibration of various climate proxies. 

The MSRL contains the necessary equipment for processing sediments and carrying out routine geochemical analyses. Specific pieces of equipment include: JY Horiba Ultima-C ICP-AES used primarily for Mg/Ca/Sr ratio determinations along with numerous other single or multiple element concentrations; an Isoprime stable isotope ratio mass spectrometer for analyzing the oxygen and carbon isotopic composition of carbonate and the nitrogen and carbon isotopic composition of organic matter, a UIC  Coulometer for inorganic carbon measurements, a Perkin Elmer 2400 Elemental Analyzer for measuring total carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen concentrations in sediments; 7 automated sediment traps deployed to collect a time series of particulate fluxes in the open ocean; a Seabird SEACAT CTD capable of measuring temperature, conductivity, pressure, oxygen concentration and transmissivity in the water column; numerous computers used for data processing and remote sensing; and equipment for maintaining deep-sea moorings including Argos transmitters, acoustic releases and flotation spheres. We have a core storage facility which includes core racks, fume hood, freezers and a walk-in cooler for sample storage.


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