Skip to content

Overarching Research Focus

Research in the Charette lab centers on the transport of materials from the land to the ocean and their impact on ocean biogeochemical cycles. More specifically, we seek a better understanding of the role that submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) plays in local, regional, and global budgets for trace metals and nutrients. We use radium isotopes in the study of shelf-slope trace element exchange processes and as isotopic tracers of glacier hydrology. Our most recent projects have been focused on these processes in the Arctic Ocean due to the fact that this region is experiencing unprecedented warming, and the expected increase in material fluxes from groundwater, rivers, and continental shelf sediments.


Current Projects

ARION – The Arctic Radium Isotope Observing Network

MoRIS - Moored Radium In-situ Sampler
ARION - The Arctic Radium Isotope Observing Network Quantifying Seasonal and Interannual Changes in Shelf-Derived Material Inputs to the Arctic Ocean Within the Arctic Circle,...

Permeable Reactive Barriers for Treatment of Groundwater Nitrate Contamination

Permeable Reactive Barriers for Groundwater Remediation Excessive nitrogen loading from septic systems has negatively impacted the water quality and ecology of Southeast New England watersheds....

GEOTRACES: Pacific Meridional Transect

GP15 Route and sampling stations
GEOTRACES: Pacific Meridional Transect GEOTRACES is a global effort to understand the world's ocean chemistry. The goal is to figure out the distribution of various...

GEOTRACES: Southern Ocean

GEOTRACES: South Pacific Ocean GP17 OCE-ANT The goal of the GEOTRACES program is to "identify processes and quantify fluxes that control the distribution of trace...

Low-Temp Hydrothermal Vent Fluxes Traced by Ra Isotopes

Kipp vents
Low Temperature Hydrothermal Vent Fluxes as Traced by Radium Isotopes This project proposes to quantify key rates of iron (Fe) transport above a major ocean...

Biogeochemical Cycling of Nitrogen in Permeable Sediments

Biogeochemical Cycling of Nitrogen in Permeable Sediments In coastal watersheds with soils of high hydraulic conductivity and permeable marine sediments, a major source of coastal...

Dynamics of Groundwater Flow in Arctic Lagoon Ecosystems

Groundwater study area along the shoreline of Kaktovik Lagoon. Photo courtesy of James McClelland
Groundwater in Arctic Lagoon Ecosystems The physical and chemical dynamics of groundwater flow across the land-sea interface in Arctic lagoon ecosystems   Coastal areas in...

Concluded Projects

Subterranean Estuary Geochemistry

Radium Isotopes as Tracers of Groundwater Discharge

Matt Charette and Matt Allen working at Pamet Harbor, Truro. Photo by Tom Kleindinst © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Multi-scale approach to Submarine Groundwater Discharge: imagery, tracers and sampling

Meltwater Tracing in the Greenland Ice Sheet

Field Camp

Melt generation and transport during basalt petrogenesis

The Role of Ocean Mixing in Southern Ocean Iron-fueled Phytoplankton Blooms: Insight from Radium Isotopes

Couple sitting on boat

GEOTRACES: North Atlantic Zonal Transect


Lauren Kipp, a graduate student in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography, led efforts to measure radium-228 in the Arctic Ocean. The naturally occurring isotope is used to track the flow of material from land and sediments into the open ocean. Here, she removes a cartridge from a sampling instrument that pumps seawater through the cartridges to collect chemical isotopes. (Cory Mendenhall, U.S. Coast Guard)