Adina Paytan

It is my great pleasure to announce that Dr. Adina Paytan is the recipient of the 2015 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Dansgaard Award for an outstanding midcareer scientist. Dr. Paytan is a biogeochemist in the broadest sense. Her work encompasses both marine and terrestrial ecosystems and has wide breadth ranging from groundwater discharge into coastal systems, nutrient cycling, ocean acidification, and, in particular, paleoclimatology/paleoceanography. Highlights of her work include key advances on (1) present and past phosphate cycling in the ocean and coastal environments, (2) the use of marine barite in paleoproxy records of various oceanic processes, (3) isotopes as indicators of the interaction between weathering and ocean chemistry, and (4) the first continuous record of sulfur isotopes of seawater sulfate for the last 130 million years. Dr. Paytan has over 160 scientific publications in prestigious journals such as Science, Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Paleoceanography, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, and Geophysical Research Letters. She is the lead author in only 20% of her publications in order to promote her students and postdocs as first authors. Dr. Paytan devotes time to mentor students and early-career scientists. She has supervised over 20 advisees receiving graduate degrees and 12 postdocs between 2001 and 2015, and she currently advises 10 graduate students, 3 postdocs, and several undergraduate students.  She has initiated innovative interdisciplinary collaborations and contributed to projects with scientists from a number of institutes throughout the world. In addition to being a leading scientific figure in our discipline, Dr. Paytan also finds time to contribute to substantial outreach, education, and professional service. She has served as editor or associate editor for several scientific journals, as well as on organizing committees for several scientific meetings. All in all, Dr. Paytan is a well-respected, prolific scientist and mentor who tirelessly promotes the professional growth and success of her students and colleagues and contributes to the leadership in paleoceanography and paleoclimatology.

—Figen Mekik, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Mich.


I would like to thank Bob Thunell, Tim Bralower, and Miriam Kastner for the nomination and support letters and Figen Mekik, Bill Anderson, and the AGU Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology focus group award committee for selecting me for this prestigious award. I also want to thank my many students and collaborators over the years, who through their hard work, enthusiasm, and sharing of ideas and knowledge were instrumental to my productivity and scientific accomplishments. They contributed greatly to my work and, most important, made it a fun and rewarding journey. Paleoceanography is a fascinating field of research; it is a humbling endeavor to try and read the pages of Earth’s history from indirect clues preserved in rocks, mud, and fossils. The “print” is not always clear and at times requires creative imagination and bold assumptions to be made. However, keeping true to the data and realizing the limitations of the records are key for moving forward toward gaining a better understanding of one of the most fascinating questions of all times: How does our planet work? This is a formidable task, and hence, it is a great honor to be a participant, along with the broader paleoceanographic community, in this grand challenge of understanding the processes and feedbacks operating in the Earth system and how they relate to global changes in climate and tectonics.

—Adina Paytan, University of California, Santa Cruz

Citation: AGU (2015), Paytan receives 2015 Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology Dansgaard Award, Eos, 96, doi:10.1029/2015EO035939. Published on 25 September 2015.

Text © 2015. The authors. CC BY-NC 3.0
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