Wang Zheng

Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Toronto

My research primarily focuses on the biogeochemical cycles of trace elements and the application of their isotope systems in Earth and environmental sciences. I apply high precision elemental and isotopic analysis, a combination of laboratory experiments and fielding sampling and multi-disciplinary approaches to study the source, transformation and fate of trace elements from molecular to global scales. One of the major elements that I have been studying is mercury (Hg), a global pollutant that has received increasing attention. Stable isotope fractionation of Hg is a powerful tool in tracing Hg cycle in the environment.

MAGNET program has offered me valuable opportunities in research, mentoring, collaboration, internship and academic networking. As a MAGNET postdoctoral fellow in University of Toronto, I studied Hg isotope compositions in biological deposits in the Antarctic, and found that the isotope compositions of Hg can be a valuable tracer for Hg methylation and bioaccumulation in the marine ecosystem. I also completed two large-scale studies on Hg isotope signatures in forest and soils across United States and Hawaii Island. These studies have important implications in understanding the source-receptor relationship between the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems and in modeling the global biogeochemical cycle of Hg. I mentored several students for their research projects on Hg isotope fractionation during photochemical reactions in seawater and the variation of Hg isotope compositions in plankton as a function of solar irradiation. I also had an excellent internship and collaborated with Dr. Barbara Sherwood Lollar on compound specific carbon isotope fractionation during biodegradation of chloroform. Now I have finished the two-year MAGNET postdoctoral fellowship and am going to start a research associate position in Arizona State University.