For Florida State University Assistant Professor Jeremy Owens, the chemical fingerprints left behind by oxygen in the ancient ocean are the key to better understanding our current and future climate.
A fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation will give him the opportunity to further investigate the connections between chemical and climatic changes in the ocean and extinction events from millions of years ago.
Owens, an assistant professor of marine geology in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science, was named a 2020 Sloan Research Fellow, for which he will receive a two-year, $75,000 fellowship.
“I am truly honored to receive a Sloan Research Fellowship,” Owens said. “It is humbling to be individually recognized for all the research, but I have been fortunate to be surrounded by several great mentors, colleagues, graduate researchers and family throughout my career.”
Sloan Research Fellowships are awarded each year to researchers in eight scientific and technical fields — chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences and physics. Candidates are nominated by a mentor with support from fellow scientists, and winners are selected based on their scientific accomplishments, creativity and potential for future innovative research.
Owens’ work has been especially important in developing wide-ranging approaches to understanding the history of oxygen in seawater, said Timothy W. Lyons, a biogeochemistry professor at the University of California, Riverside. Lyons was Owens’ doctoral degree adviser and nominated him for the fellowship.
“No one has done more in this regard or done it more cleverly,” Lyons said. “His research has given us a very different view of ocean deoxygenation in Earth’s past, and from this platform we can begin to predict what might be possible for the chemistry and biology of our warming future.”
The award will help Owens build a record of oxygen in the ocean across the globe from millions of years ago, which will provide a framework to compare modern and ancient disruptions in the climate.
“This fellowship is an opportunity to investigate novel and potentially riskier questions and techniques for which it is generally more difficult to obtain funding,” Owens said.
To read more about Owens and his work, visit the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.