Dr. Anna PM Michel

Associate Scientist
Department of Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering

Contact Information:
Work: 508-289-3078
Building: Blake 217

Mailing Address:
266 Woods Hole Road, MS #07
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Woods Hole, MA 02543

Research Interests

My overall research goal is to advance our understanding of ocean chemistry and its role in the current age where human activity is significantly impacting climate, environment, and ocean health. My research focuses on the development of in situ optical sensors to achieve this goal. Developing in situ sensors creates the possibility to sample continuously, enabling greater spatial and temporal resolution than discrete measurements. Shifting from a discrete sampling approach, which provides only a temporal snapshot of the ocean, to an in situ sensing approach will allow measurements to be made at the same time and spatial scales as biogeochemical processes. I develop new classes of sensors and sensing platforms for chemical measurements in oceanography and atmospheric science. Through an understanding of ocean science, I conceptualize, design, and lead the engineering aspects of sensor development. My research crosses the boundaries of engineering, physics, and chemistry and results in collaborations with diverse groups of ocean scientists. Much of my research focuses on the measurement of methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2).


Selected Publications

Michel, A.P., Kapit, J., Blanchard, R., and Witinski, M. Open-Path Spectroscopic Methane Detection Using a Broadband Monolithic Distributed Feedback Quantum Cascade Laser (DFB-QCL) Array, Applied Optics, 56, E23-E29, (https://doi.org/10.1364/AO.56.000E23.

Michel A.P., and Sonnichsen, F. Laser induced breakdown spectroscopy for heavy metal detection in a sand matrix. Spectrochimica Acta Part B: Atomic Spectroscopy. 125:177-83.(http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sab.2016.10.001).

Michel A.P., Miller, D.J., Sun, K., Tao, L., Stanton, L., and Zondlo, M.A. Long-Path Quantum Cascade Laser–Based Sensor for Methane Measurements. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology. 33(11):2373-84 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JTECH-D-16-0024.1).


  • NSF CAREER Grant Awardee
  • NAS Gulf Research Program Early Career Fellow
  • Moore Foundation Inventors Semi-Finalist
  • Arnold B. Arons Award for Excellence in Teaching, Advising, and Mentoring


  • Beckett Colson
  • Victoria Preston
  • Andrew Johnson


Ph.D.: Mechanical and Oceanographic Engineering 2007. MIT - WHOI Joint Program in Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering

S.M.: Ocean Engineering 2002. MIT 

S.B.: Chemical Engineering; Biology 1998. MIT