Page path:

Dr. Mary Zeller


Organic Geochemistry


+49 421 218-00000


+49 421 218-00000



MARUM I, 2710

Mary Zeller

Ocean Floor Cluster

"Biogeochemical cycling of carbonate-associated organic matter"

Particulate inorganic carbon (PIC, or calcium carbonate) buried in marine sediments has been a major regulator of atmospheric CO2 over geologic time scales, as its dissolution consumes CO2. Additionally, it is estimated that up to 80% of the particulate organic carbon (POC) flux to the open ocean floor is done through association with calcium carbonate as mineral ballast. As POC is a defined term based on the ability of a particle to be collected on a filter, POC directly associated with carbonates could include relatively small molecules and represent a “dissolvable” organic carbon pool. This postdoctoral position will explore the biogeochemical implications of this interaction, in particular in the study of carbonate-associated organic matter, with a focus on its molecular characterization and reactivity. I am interested in 1) Characterizing what organic matter associates with carbonates formed in different ways, as, for example, potential differences may exist between foraminifera- or seep carbonate- associated organic matter, 2) Its potential for either alteration or shielding during early diagenesis and ultimately 3) As buried PIC dissolves in a future with increased atmospheric CO2, what are the potential consequences of PIC dissolution for carbonate-associated organic matter?

Research Interests

  • Benthic Biogeochemistry
  • Organic Geochemistry
  • Inorganic Geochemistry
  • Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry

Education and Work Experience

2023 - Present

Postdoc - MARUM, University of Bremen - Ocean Floor Cluster

Biogeochemistry of carbonate-associated organic matter

2020 - 2022

Postdoc - Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research (IOW) - Marine Geology

Impact of bottom contact fishing on benthic biogeochemistry

2018 - 2019

Postdoc - Florida International University - Department of Biology

Dissolved organic matter cycling in the Everglades and Florida Bay

2017 - 2018

Researcher - University of North Carolina - Marine Science

Internal nutrient cycling into a eutrophic reservoir under different redox conditions

2011 - 2016

PhD - University of North Carolina - Department of Chemistry

Synthetic organic chemistry and photoredox catalysis


Rooze, J., Zeller, M. A., Gogina, M., Roeser, P., Kallmeyer, J., Schónke, M., Radtke, H., Böttcher, M. E. (2023), Bottom-trawling signals lost in sediment: A combined biogeochemical and modeling approach to early diagenesis in a perturbed coastal area of the southern Baltic Sea. Science of the Total Environment. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.167551

Van Dam, B. R., Lehmann, N., Zeller, M. A., Neumann, A., Pröfrock, D., Lipka, M., Thomas, H., Böttcher, M. (2022), Benthic Alkalinity fluxes from coastal sediments of the Baltic and North Seas: Comparing approaches and identifying knowledge gaps. Biogeosciences. DOI: 10.5194/bg-19-3775-2022

Van Dam, B. R., Zeller, M. A., Lopes, C., Smyth, A., Böttcher, M., Osburn, C., Zimmerman, T., Pröfrock, D., Fourqurean, J., Thomas, H. (2021), Calcification-driven CO2 emissions exceed “Blue Carbon” sequestration in a carbonate seagrass meadow. Science Advances. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abj1372

Van Dam, B. R., Lopes, C., Zeller, M. A., Ribas-Ribas, M., Wang, H., Thomas, H. (2021), Overstated Potential for Seagrass Meadows to Mitigate Coastal Ocean Acidification. Frontiers in Marine Science. DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2021.729992
Von Ahn, C. M. E., Scholten, J. C., Malik, C., Feldens, P., Liu, B., Dellwig, O., Jenner, A-K., Papenmeier, S., Schmiedinger, I., Zeller, M. A., Böttcher, M. E. (2021), A Multi-Tracer Study of Fresh Water Sources for a Temparate Urbanized Coastal Bay (Southern Baltic Sea). Frontiers in Environmental Science. DOI: 10.3389/fenvs.2021.642346

Zeller, M. A., Alperin, M. J. (2021), The efficacy of Phoslock® in reducing internal phosphate loading varies with bottom water oxygenation. Water Research X. DOI: 10.1016/j.wroa.2021.100095

Zeller, M. A., Van Dam, B. R., Lopes, C., Kominoski, J. S. (2020), Carbonate-associated organic matter is a putative FDOM source in a subtropical seagrass meadow. Frontiers in Marine Science. DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2020.580284
Griffin, J. D., Zeller, M. A., Nicewicz, D. A. (2015), Hydrodecarboxylation of Carboxylic and Malonic Acid Derivatives via Organic Photoredox Catalysis: Substrate Scope and Mechanistic Insight. Journal of the American Chemical Society. DOI:10.1021/jacs.5b07770
Zeller, M. A., Riener, M., Nicewicz, D. A. (2014), Butyrolactone Synthesis via Polar Radical Crossover Cycloaddition Reactions: Diastereoselective Synthesis of Methylenolactocin and Protolichesterinic Acid. Organic Letters. DOI:10.1021/ol5022993
Anderson, C. A., Taylor, P. G., Zeller, M. A., Zimmerman, S. C. (2010), Room Temperature, Copper-Catalyzed Amination of Bromonaphthyridines with Aqueous Ammonia. Journal of Organic Chemistry. DOI:10.1021/jo.100476x