Penny Vlahos

Our group’s research interests are in the geochemistry of carbon and nitrogen, particularly in understanding and identifying the processes that control the global cycling of carbon (with an emphasis on organic carbon). The cycling of carbon on our planet is of critical importance to the biosphere, our climate and is directly related to the cycling of other elements.An important subset of this pool is anthropogenic organic compounds that may persist in the environment.

Research:

  • Understanding and identifying the processes that control the global cycling of carbon (with an emphasis on organic carbon).
  • Measuring the distributions and transport of organic contaminants
  • Development of chemical samplers for the monitoring of organic contaminants
  • Understanding the distribution and bioavailability of nitrogen pools
Current projects:
  • Air-Sea transfer models for the air-sea exchange of organic compounds
  • Per-fluorinated organic compounds along the Thames River Estuary
  • Structure of naturally occurring organic matter in marine systems
  • Chemical sensor development and calibration
  • Carbon transport along frontal zones
  • fate and transport of TNT, RDX and derivatives in coastal systems

Research Projects

Gas Transfer in Sea Spray (PIs: Vlahos and Monahan) – National Science Foundation

Cracking the Microbial Sulfur Cycle (PIs: Vlahos and FIke) – Moore Foundation

Spatial and Temporal Detection of Munitions (PIs: Vlahos and Tobias) – SERDP

Translocation and Fate of Munitions (PIs: TObias and Vlahos) – SERDP

Oceanography Students

Thivanka Ariyarathna – Ph.D. Student

Allison Staniec – Ph.D. Student

Joseph Warren – M.Sc. Student

Oceanography Alumni

Joanne Elmoznino – Ph.D. 2016

Cervinia V. (Ivy) Manalo – M.Sc. 2007

Kristin Raub – M.Sc. 2013

Tiffany St. George – M.Sc. 2014

Postdoctoral Fellows

Richard Smith

Courses Taught

MARN4030W/5030 –  Chemical Oceanography (offered every fall semester)

Three credits. Composition, origin and solution chemistry of seawater and the marine biogeochemical cycles of salts, elements and gases. Distributions and transfer in the marine environment through chemical equilibria, rates, redox, partitioning, ocean circulation, biological cycles and crustal exchanges.

MARN5898- Environmental Organic Chemistry (offered as needed)

Three credits. Fundamental thermodynamic principles are used to understand the fate and transport of compounds in the environment. The structure of a compound and the physical condidtions which it is released will be control its ulitmate fate and the tools to predict this fate are reviewed. The course involves a significant amount of problem solving based on real-world scenarios.

MARN 3000 -The Hydrosphere and Global Climate (offered every spring … note I am on sabbatical spring of 2015 and will not be teaching)

Three credits. This course highlights the interactions of the hydrological, chemical and biological components of the hydrosphere via transport, reservoirs and dynamics of water in environmental systems

Honors Received

AWARDS & HONORS

Fulbright Specialist Roster (Apr., 2014) Council for International Exchange of Scholars

Research Excellence Award (Apr., 2012)University of Connecticut Avery Point

Inducted member (Mar., 2011) Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences

Research Excellence Award (Apr., 2010)University of Connecticut Avery Point

NASA Group Achievement Award (2009) National Aeronautic and Space Agency

Chancellor’s Distinguished Dissertation Award (Oct, 2001) Univ. of Mass.

Environmental, Coastal and Ocean Sciences Book Award (May, 2001) Univ. of Mass.

Dean’s Award for Distinguished Service (May 1998) Univ. of Massachusetts

Dissertation Proposal Award (May 1997) – University of Massachusetts

Publications

  1. C. E. Bakker, B. Pfeil, K. Smith, S. Hankin, A. Olsen, S. R. Alin, C. Cosca, S. Harasawa, A. Kozyr, Y. Nojiri, K. O’Brien, U. Schuster, M. Telszewski, B. Tilbrook, C. Wada, J. Akl, L. Barbero, N. Bates, J. Boutin, W.-J. Cai, R. D. Castle, F. P. Chavez, L. Chen, M. Chierici, K. Currie, H. J. W. de Baar, W. Evans, R. A. Feely, A. Fransson, Z. Gao, B. Hales, N. Hardman-Mountford, M. Hoppema, W.-J. Huang, C. W. Hunt, B. Huss, T. Ichikawa, T. Johannessen, E. M. Jones, S. D. Jones, S. Jutterstrøm, V. Kitidis, A. Kôrtzinger, P. Landschϋtzer, S. K. Lauvset, N. Lefèvre, A. B. Manke, J. T. Mathis, L. Merlivat, N. Metzl, A. Murata, T. Newberger, T. Ono, G.-H. Park, K. Paterson, D. Pierrot, A. F. Ríos, C. L. Sabine, S. Saito, J. Salisbury, V. V. S. S Sarma, R. Schlitzer, R. Sieger, I. Skjelvan, T. Steinhoff, K. Sullivan, A. J. Sutton, T. Suzuki, C. Sweeney, T. Takahashi, J. Tjiputra, N. Tsurushima, S. M. A. C van Heuven, D. Vandemark, P. Vlahos, D. W. R. Wallace, R. Wanninkhof, and A. J. Watson (2013) An update to the Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (SOCAT version 2) submitted to Earth System Science Data MS No.: essd-2013-16
  2. Smith, R.W., Vlahos, P., Tobias, C., Ballentine, M., Ariyarathna, T., Cooper, C. (2013) Removal rates of TNT and RDX in simulated marine systems: The role of sediments.   Chemosphere http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2013.02.049
  3. Vlahos, P., M. Friedrichs (2012) Exchange at the Ocean Boundary in. Najjar, R.G., Friedrichs, M.A.M., Cai, W.-J. (Editors), 2012. Report of The U.S. East Coast Carbon Cycle Synthesis Workshop, January 19-20, 2012, Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry Program and North American Carbon Program, 34 pp.
  4. St. George, T., P. Vlahos, T. Harner, P. Helm, B. Wilford (2011) Characterization and Field Testing of a novel Thin-Film, Rapid Equilibrating Passive Water Sampler for Organic Contaminants. Environmental Pollution, Vol. 159, No. 1. pp. 116-124.
  5. Vlahos, P., Monahan, E.C., Huebert, B.J., Edson, J.B., Blomquist, B.W. (2010) Wind-Dependence of DMS Transfer Velocity: Comparison of Model with Recent Southern Ocean Observations. GTWS-6 (in press)
  6. Shoeib, M., Vlahos, P., Harner, T., Peters, A., Graustein, M., Narayan, J. (2010) Survey of Polyfluorinated Chemicals (PFCS) In The Atmosphere Over The Northeast Atlantic Ocean. Atmospheric Environment. AEA9659.
  7. Najjar, R., Butman,   D.E., Cai, W., Friedrichs, M.A.M., Kroeger, K.D., Mannino, A., Raymond, P.A., Salisbury, J., Vandemark, D.C. Vlahos, P. (2010) Carbon Budget for the Continental Shelf of the Eastern United States: A Preliminary Synthesis. OCB 3(1) pp. 1-4
  8. Vlahos,, P., Monahan, E.C. (2009) A generalized model for the air-sea transfer of dimethyl sulfide that explicates the anomalous DMS piston velocities observed at high winds GRL 36, (21) pp. np. doi:10.1029/2009GL040695
  9. Borges, S.R. Alin, F.P. Chavez, P. Vlahos, K.S. Johnson, J.T. Holt, W.M. Blach, N. Bates, R. Brainard, W.-J. Cai, C.T.A. Chen, K. Currie, M. Dai, M. Degrandpre, B. Delille, A. Dickson, W. Evans, R.A. Feely, G.E. Friedrich, G.-C. Gong, B. Hales, N. Hardman-Mountford, J. Hendee, J.M. Hernandez-Ayon, M. Hood, E. Huertas, D. Hydes, D. Ianson, E. Krasakopoulou, E. Litt, A. Luchetta, J. Mathis, W.R. McGillis, A. Murata, J. Newton, J. Olafsson, A. Omar, F.F. Perez, C. Sabine, J.E. Salisbury, R. Salm, V.V.S.S. Sarma, B. Schneider, M. Sigler, H. Thomas, D. Turk, D. Vandemark, R. Wanninkhof, and B. Ward. (2009)A Global Sea Surface Carbon Observing System: Inorganic and Organic carbon Dynamics in Coastal Oceans.OceanObs’09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society (Vol. 2), Venice, Italy, 21-25. Hall, J., Harrison, D.E. & Stammer, D., Eds., ESA Publication WPP-306.(peer reviewed)
  10. Skoog A., Vlahos P., Rogers K.L., Amend J.P., (2007) Concentrations, distributions, and energy yields of dissolved neutral aldoses in a shallow hydrothermal vent system of Vulcano, Italy. Organic Geochemistry, 38(8): pp. 1416-1430.
  11. Shoeib, M., Harner T., Vlahos, P., (2006) Perfluorinated chemicals in the Arctic atmosphere. Env. Sci. & Tech., 40, pp. 7577-7583.
  12. Vlahos, P., Chen, R. F., Repeta, D., (2002) Fluxes of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in the Mid-Atlantic Bight. Deep Sea Research II, (42,). pp. 4369-4385.
  13. Chen, R. F., Zhang, Y., Vlahos, P., Rudnick, S.M., (2002) The fluorescence of dissolved organic matter in the Mid-Atlantic Bight. Deep Sea Research, 42, pp. 4439-4459.
  14. Mackay, D., Sang, S., Vlahos, P., Diamond, M., Gobas, F., Dolan, D., (1994) A Rate Constant Model of Chemical Dynamics in a Lake Ecosystem: PCBs in Lake Ontario, Journal of Great Lakes Research, 20(4) pp. 625-642.

 

Conference Proceedings

  1. Smith, R.W, Ariyarathna, T. Ballantine, M. Cooper, C. , Tobias, C. Vlahos, P., (2014) Tracing the cycling and fate of the explosive 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene in a simulated sandy coastal habitat with a stable isotopic tracer, 15N – [TNT]. SETAC Basel, Switzerland, May 11-15.
  2. Ballentine, M., Smith, R., Ariyarathna, T., Vlahos, P., Tobias, C., (2014) Tracking Munitions in Two Coastal Marine Ecosystems Using Stable Nitrogen Isotopes. SETAC Basel, Switzerland, May 11-15.
  3. Tobias, C., Smith, R., Ballentine, M., Ariyarathna, T., Vlahos, P., (2014) Using stable nitrogen isotope tracer to investigate ecosystem distribution and fate of munitions compounds in marine environments. SETAC Basel, Switzerland, May 11-15.
  4. Elmoznino, J., Vlahos, P., Whitney, M., (2014) Perfluorinated Organic Compounds in the Housatonic River Estuary and Long Island Sound. SETAC Basel, Switzerland, May 11-15.
  5. Ariyarathna, T.S., Vlahos, P., Tobias, C., Smith, R., Ballentine, M., Cooper, C., (2014) Tracking the uptake and metabolism of munitions compounds in coastal marine ecosystems using stable isotopic tracers: Role of sediment. SETAC Basel, Switzerland, May 11-15.
  6. Ariyarathna, Vlahos, P., Tobias, C., Ballentine, M. (2013) Sorption and Anaerobic Degradation of Explosives in Coastal Sediments Using Isotopically Labeled Compounds. SETAC North America, Nashville, USA. November 17-21.
  7. Ballentine, M., Smith, R., Ariyarathna, T.S., Vlahos, P., Tobias, C. (2013) Tracking the uptake and assimilation of TNT and RDX in coastal marine organisms using stable isotopic tracers. SETAC North America, Nashville, USA. November 17-21.
  8. Raub, K., Vlahos, P. (2013) Laboratory and field evaluation of three organic pollutant sampling methods: passive samplers, water extractions, and live oyster deployment. SETAC North America, Nashville, USA. November 17-21.
  9. Vlahos, P., Liang, J., Monahan, E.C. (2013) Parameterizing the bubble-mediated air-sea flux of a non-ideal gas, DMS. Air-Sea Gas Flux Climatology: Progress and Future Prospects Workshop, IFREMER, Brest, France Sep 24-27.
  10. Elmoznino, J., Vlahos, P. (2012) Endocrine disrupting compounds in wastewater effluents. Gordon Conference – Oceans & Human Health, New Hampshire Jun 4-9.
  11. Vlahos, P. (2012) Carbon dynamics at frontal zones, AGU Ocean Sciences Salt Lake City, Feb 18-22.
  12. Monahan, E.C., Vlahos, P. (2012) Testing Air-Sea Exchange Parameterizations that Incorporate Chemical and Physical Processes Operating on Small Spatial and Temporal Scales. AGU Ocean Sciences Salt Lake City, Feb 18-22.
  13. Tobias, C., Vlahos, P., Smith, R., Ballantine, M., Ariyarathna, T. (2011) Tracking the Uptake, Translocation, Cycling, and Metabolism of Munitions Compounds in Coastal Marine Ecosystems Using Stable Isotopic Tracers. DOD-SERDP Nov 31 – Dec 2.
  14. Vlahos, P. Eglinton, T., Montluco, D., Fast, K., (2011) Dissolved Organic Carbon along the frontal zone of the NW Atlantic. ASLO, Puerto Rico Feb 14-18.
  15. Elmoznino, J. Vlahos P. (2010) Comparison of solid phases for the detection of phthalate esters. Long Island Sound Conference (Oct. 22-26, 2010).
  16. Vlahos, P, Monahan, E., Huebert, B.J., Edson, J. B. (2010) Generating Upper and Lower limits of DMS air-sea transfer. American Meteorological Society, 17th Conference on Air Sea Interaction, Annapolis MD (Sept. 26-30).
  17. Monahan, E. C., Vlahos, P. (2010) Rising Bubbles, Big and Small and their asynchronous contributions to sea-salt aerosol production and air-sea gas transfer. American Meteorological Society, 17th Conference on Air Sea Interaction, Annapolis MD (Sept. 26-30).
  18. Elmoznino, J. Vlahos P. (2010) Comparison of solid phases for the extraction of phthalate esters. I-RICH Uconn – Avery Point.
  19. Vlahos,P., E.C. Monahan, B.J.Huebert, J.B. Edson and B.W. Blomquist (2010) Wind-Dependence of DMS Transfer Velocity: Comparison of Model with Recent Southern Ocean Observations. GTWS-6 Kyoto Japan. May 17-21.
  20. Vlahos, P., and E. C. Monahan (2010) GASEX III air-sea transfer observations: A possible divergence of DMS and CO2 air-sea fluxes at high wind speeds.   Ocean Sciences. Portland Oregon Feb 22-26.
  21. Najjar, R., D. E. Butman; W. Cai; M. A. Friedrichs; K. D. Kroeger; A. Mannino; P. Raymond; J. Salisbury; D. C. Vandemark; P. Vlahos (2010) Carbon budget for the continental shelf of the Eastern United States. Ocean Sciences. Portland Oegon Feb 22-26.
  22. McGillis, W.R., J. B. Edson; C. J. Zappa; M. D. DeGrandpre; C. L. Sabine; A. Cifuentes-Lorenzen; P. Vlahos; C. W. Fairall; L. Bariteau  Air-water CO2 exchange processes in the Southern Ocean.   Ocean Sciences. Portland Oregon Feb 22-26.
  23. Vlahos, P. St. George, T., (June, 2009) Emerging Contaminants in the Southern Ocean Atmosphere. Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC Europe) Gothenburg, Sweden.
  24. St. George, T., Vlahos, P., (June, 2009) Detection of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) using Passive Samplers in the Thames River Estuary. Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC Europe) Gothenburg, Sweden.
  25. Vlahos, P. St. George, T., Harner, T., (May, 2009) Equilibrating thin film passive samplers for measuring contaminant fugacities in marine systems. International Passive Sampling Workshop, Prague, Czech. Republic.
  26. Lohrenz, S., Cai, W., Bauer, J., Benner, R., Bianchi, T.,Boyer, E., Chai, F., Cobble, P., Fennel, K., Friedrichs, M., Hopkinson, C., McKee, B., Miller, B., Najjar, R., Pilskaln, C., Raymond, P., Robbins, L., Salisbury, J., Tian, H., Vandemark, D., Vlahos, P., Wiggert J., (Feb., 2009 – plenary talk) Toward understanding of carbon fluxes in the coastal oceans: synthesis activities for the U.S. East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico, North American Carbon All-Investigators Meeting, San Diego, CA.
  27. Vlahos, P. Edson, J., Cifuentes, A., McGillis, W., Zappa, C., (Dec., 2008) Atmospheric Concentrations of Persistent Organic Pollutants in the Southern Ocean. American Geophysical Union, San Francisco CA.
  28. St. George, T., Vlahos., (Oct. 30-31, 2008) Detection of Organic Contaminants in the Thames River Estuary Using Passive Sampling Methods. Long Island Sound Research Conference New London, CT.
  29. Vlahos, P., Wallace, D., (March 2-7, 2008) Dissolved-Inorganic Carbon in the Mid-Atlantic Bight – Closing the carbon balance. Ocean Sciences Meeting, Orlando, FL
  30. Dam, H.G., O’Donnell, J., Bohlen, W.F., Kremer, J., Vlahos, P., Whitney, M.M., (March 2-7, 2008) Nutrients, weather, climate and hypoxia in Long Island Sound. Ocean Sciences Meeting, Orlando, FL.
  31. Monahan, E.C., Vlahos, P., Elmoznino, J., (March 2-7, 2008) The role of breaking waves in enhancing the rate of chemical reactions in oceanic surface waters: deductions from a tipping bucket experiment. Ocean Sciences Meeting, Orlando FL,
  32. St. George, T.; Vlahos, P., (Nov. 4-8, 2007) Organic Contaminants in the Thames River Estuary: Development of a passive sampler for the sediment-water interface. Estuarine Research Foundation, Providence RI ,
  33. Vlahos, P.; Dam, H.; Kremer, J.; O’Donnell, J., (Nov. 4-8, 2007) Carbon Transport and Cycling in Western Long Island Sound. Estuarine Research Foundation, Providence RI.
  34. Manalo, C., Vlahos., (Oct., 2006) Dissolved organic carbon (DOC), C:N and nutrient distributions in Western Long Island Sound. Long Island Sound Research Conference Proceedings:
  35. Vlahos, P; Monahan, E; Skoog, A., (Sep., 2006) Chemical Transformations in a Tipping Bucket Experiment, EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union [EOS Trans. Am. Geophys. Union]. Vol. 87, no. 36, suppl., [np]. suppl.,
  36. Manalo, CV; Vlahos, P., (Sep., 2006) Dissolved Organic Carbon Fluxes in Western Long Island Sound, EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union [EOS Trans. Am. Geophys. Union]. Vol. 87, no. 36.
  37. Kujawinski, E; Vlahos, P., (Sep., 2006) Probing Molecular-Level Transformations of Dissolved Organic Matter Along the Canadian Archipelago. EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union [EOS Trans. Am. Geophys. Union]. Vol. 87, no. 36. 4-10.
  38. Chen, R F; Gardner, G B; Zhang, Y; Vlahos, P; Wang, X; Rudnick, S. M., (Jan., 2000) Chromophoric Dissolved Organic Matter (CDOM) in Four US Estuaries 2000 Ocean Sciences Meeting, San Antonio, TX (USA).
  39. Mackay, D; Sang, S; Diamond, ML; Vlahos, P; Dolan, D; Voldner, (Jun. 4-10, 1993) Virtual elimination of toxic and persistent chemicals from Lake Superior, a mass balance study E36. Conf. of the Int. Association for Great Lakes Research, De Pere, WI (USA).
  40. Mackay, D; Vlahos, P., (Jun. 4-10, 1993) Modeling vertical contaminant dynamics in air, water column and bottom sediments of lakes using multi-segmentation Conf. of the Int. Association for Great Lakes Research, De Pere, WI (USA).

 

Miscellaneous Publications

(including reviews, technical articles, and non-refereed journal articles)

  • Burg, R., Vlahos, P. (2010) Oil contamination q and a. Sound Health, Long Island Sound Study (in press)
  • Brinckerhoff, S., (2008) “UConn scientists join expedition to study how pollutants travel” UConn Advance – March 3.
  • Vlahos, P., (2007) Connecting the Connecticut Coastline to the Arctic: Pollutants Know no Boundaries. Wrack Lines 7(1) Spring/Summer pp. 15 – 18.

 

Published Reviews