Dorothee Bakker

Dr Dorothee C.E. Bakker

Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia

Norwich Research Park
Norwich NR4 7TJ
United Kingdom
Tel. +44 (0)1603 592648
+44 (0)1603 591327


Research Interests

Processes driving the carbon sink in the oceans and shelf seas. Seasonal, year-to-year and decadal variation in the ocean carbon sink. The marine carbon cycle and its feedbacks with other biogeochemical cycles and climate. Air-sea interactions of long-lived greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide). The role of seasonal sea ice in air-sea transfer of carbon dioxide (CO2). The key role of iron in the Southern Ocean carbon cycle. The effects of climate change and ocean acidification on marine biota. Remote sensing. Maintaining time series. Safe data storage. Access to marine biogeochemical data. These topics are the focus of my research and my publications. I coordinate research on Interactions of Marine Biogeochemical Cycles and Ocean Physics.

Extensive measurements of surface water CO2 are an important means for quantifying the oceanic uptake of CO2. As important is safe storage of and access to these surface water CO2 data. The Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (SOCAT) has created a synthesis product of quality controlled surface water CO2 values for the global oceans and coastal seas (Pfeil et al., 2013). The data are also available as gridded products (Sabine et al., 2013). Version 2 of SOCAT has been made public at the 9th International Carbon Dioxide Conference in Beijing, China (Bakker et al., 2013). It has 10.1 million CO2 values spanning the period from 1968 to 2011. SOCAT is a powerful tool for quantification of the spatial, year-to-year, and longer-term variation of the ocean carbon sink.  SOCAT is also used for the initialisation and validation of ocean carbon models.


The size of the Southern Ocean CO2 sink and the role of iron supply in Southern Ocean carbon cycling are important themes in my research. I was part of international teams of scientists, which tested whether low iron concentrations limit phytoplankton growth in parts of the Southern Ocean. Iron additions promoted algal growth in the SOIREE and the EISENEX experiments, thus confirming iron limitation of algal growth in these waters. Natural iron fertilisation occurs downstream of islands and in frontal systems in the Southern Ocean. Large changes in carbonate chemistry of surface waters occur during and upon seasonal ice melt. I (co-)supervise three PhD students which investigate topics, ranging from the quantification of the global ocean carbon sink, air-sea transfer of nitrous oxide, methane and carbon dioxide and uptake of anthropogenic carbon by the Southern Ocean.


Ongoing research projects include: SOCAT, CarboChange, Antarctic Deep Water Rates of Export (ANDREX) and the UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme themes 1 and 2. I have participated in 20 multidisciplinary, mostly seagoing research projects and am a (co-)author of 45 peer-reviewed scientific articles and 5 book chapters.


PhD studentships: The Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences (COAS) at the University of East Anglia offers a vibrant research community with specialists in biological, chemical and physical, marine and atmospheric sciences. Highly motivated PhD candidates with strong scientific interests are encouraged to contact me.


Academic background

·         Research Officer (since 2006)  and Senior Research Associate (1998-2005) at the School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK

·         Research Associate in the Laboratoire d’Océanographie Dynamique et de Climatologie (LODYC), now  LOCEAN, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France (1996-1998).

·         PhD at the Faculty of Mathematics and Science, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, The Netherlands (1998).

·         PhD student at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) at Texel (1991-1996).

·         MSc in Soil Science at the Agricultural University of Wageningen, The Netherlands (1991).

·         Student at Merlewood Research Station, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, formerly Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria, UK (1989).



Related sites at UEA:

Interactions between Marine Biogeochemical Cycles and Ocean Physics

School of Environmental Sciences

University of East Anglia