University of South Carolina College of Arts & Sciences Marine Science Program School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment



Marine Science Program University of South Carolina 712 Main Street, PSC 108, Columbia, SC 29208

Send Mail to: 701 Sumter Street, EWS 617 Columbia, SC 29208, USA

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Benitez-Nelson, Claudia, Director


College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Professor

Marine Science Program and Earth and Ocean Sciences

Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1999.

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My research focuses on ocean biogeochemistry, global climate change, and marine toxins. I am specifically interested in understanding the oceanic uptake of carbon dioxide and the transformation of that carbon into particles that sink to the deep ocean. Related to those studies is elucidating the composition and bioavailability of the nutrient phosphorus and its role in controlling plankton growth. More recently, my laboratory has delved into understanding the persistence and fate of domoic acid, a neurotoxin produced by increasingly common marine algae that has been implicated in marine mammal strandings. My research is conducted all over the world, and includes the Cariaco Basin (Venezuela), the Sargasso Sea (near Bermuda), Hawaii, and the coasts of California and South Carolina.

Recent Publications:

*Denotes students or postdocs

White, A., Foster; R.A., Benitez-Nelson, C. R., Masque, P, Verdeny, E., Popp, Arthur, K.E., B. N., Prahl, F. G. (2012) Nitrogen Fixation in the Gulf of California and the Eastern Tropical North Pacific. Progress in Oceanography,

Maiti, K., Buesseler, K.O., Pike, S.M, Benitez-Nelson, C.R., Cai, P, Chen, W., Cochran, K., Dai, M., Dehairs, F., Gasser, B., Kelly, R.P., Masque, P., Miller, L., Miquel, J.C., Moran, S.B., Morris, P.J., Peine, F., Planchon, F, Renfro, A.A., Rutgers van der Loeff, M., Santschi, P., Turnewitsch, R., Waples, J.T., Xu, C. (2012) Intercalibration studies of short lived Thorium-234 in the water column and marine particles. Limnology and Oceanography Methods, 10, 631-644, DOI: 10.4319/lom.2012.10.631.

Kanakidou, M., Duce, R., Prospero, J., Baker, A.R., Benitez-Nelson, C.R., Dentener, F.J., Hunter, K.A., Kubilay, N., Liss, P.S., Mahowald, N., Okin, G., Sarin, M. Surapipith, V., Tegen, I., Tsigaridis, K., Uematsu, M., van Aardenne, J., Zamora,L.M., Zhu, Y. (2012) Atmospheric Organic Material and the Nutrients Nitrogen and Phosphorus it Carries to the Ocean, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 26, GB3026, doi:10.1029/2011GB004277.

Arrigo, KR, and 31 authors (including C. R. Benitez-Nelson) (2012) Massive phytoplankton blooms under Arctic sea ice. Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1215065

Dyhrman, S.T.,  B.D. Jenkins, T.A. Rynearson, M.A. Saito, M. L. Mercier, H. Alexander, L. P. Whitney, A. Drzewianowski, V. V. Bulygin, E. M. Bertrand, Z. Wu, C.R. Benitez-Nelson, A. Heithoff (2012)  The transcriptome and proteome of the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana reveal a diverse phosphorus stress response, PLoS ONE, 7(3), e33768.

Diaz, J.M., E.D. Ingall, S.D. Snow, C.R. Benitez-Nelson, M. Taillefert, J.A. Brandes (2012) Inorganic polyphosphate cycling as a mechanism for the enhanced regeneration of phosphorus in the hypoxic water column of Effingham Inlet, British Columbia, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 26, GB2040, doi:10.1029/2011GB004226.

Lorenzoni, L., Benitez-Nelson, C.R., Thunell, R.C, Hollander, D., Varela, R., Astor, Y., Audemard, F., Muller-Karger, F.M. (2012) Potential role of event-driven sediment transport on sediment accumulation in the Cariaco Basin, Venezuela. Marine Geology, 307-310, 105–110

Stukel, M., M. Landry, M.D. Ohman, R. Goericke, T. Samo, C.R. Benitez-Nelson, (2012) Do inverse ecosystem models accurately reconstruct plankton food web flows?  A comparison of two solution methods using field data from the California Current Ecosystem.  Journal of Marine Systems, 91, 20-33. 

*Izquierdo, Benítez-Nelson, C.R., Masqué,, P., R., Castillo, S., Alastuey, A., Avila, A. (2012) Atmospheric phosphorus deposition to the northwest Mediterranean: Wet and dry deposition modes and the potential role of African events in marine biological production. Atmospheric Environment, 49, 361-370.

Bargu, S., M. W. Silver, M. D. Ohman, C.R. Benitez-Nelson, D.L. Garrison (2012) The mystery behind Hitchcock’s film “The Birds”.  Nature Geoscience, 5, 2-3. 


Courses Taught:

MSCI 101: The Ocean Environment (Both General and Honors Sections)

MSCI 524/GEOL 524: Environmental Radioisotope Geochemistry

MSCI 782/GEOL 782: Chemical Oceanography

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