Dr Katsiaryna Pabortsava

Ocean Biogeochemistry and Ecosystems
+44 (0)23 8059 6429

I am a marine biogeochemist at NOCS OBE department. I joined NOCS in 2010 and completed my PhD in 2014 on the downward particle export and sequestration fluxes in the oligotrophic Atlantic Ocean. Since 2015 I am a post-doc investigating distribution and downward fluxes of microplastics in the Atlantic Ocean for the H2020 AtlantOS programme. I also run microplastics analytical facility at NOCS which recently acquired a state-of-the-art Fourier-Transform Infrared imaging system. 

My research focusses on quantifying and characterising the amount and type of microplastics in the open ocean, and determining the factors that control their distribution, behaviour and fate therein. I use vibrational spectroscopy and imaging technique to trace and characterise microplastics in the water column particles samples that I collected along the passage of Atlantic Meridional Transect research cruise AMT 26 from the UK to South Georgia and the Falklands in 2016. I also assess changes in microplastic fluxes down to the abyss (3000 m) and their accumulation in the deep-sea sediment (4000 – 5000 m) over the past 30 years and in response to different biogeochemical drivers such as primary production and downward particle flux. For this, I examine the sediment trap material and the deep-sea sediment samples collected at Porcupine Abyssal Plain in the northeast Atlantic and in centres of the North and South Atlantic oligotrophic gyres, where microplastics tend to accumulate.

My other research interests concern observations of biogeochemical cycling of major (C, N, Si) and minor/trace (Al, Fe, Mn, etc.) elements in the ocean, and specifically their transport from the ocean surface to its interior depth. My approaches to quantify and characterise particle fluxes of major and trace elements include both direct sampling of sinking material with sediment traps, and indirect estimations using naturally occurring 234Th isotope as a tracer. 





Pabortsava, Katsiaryna; Lampitt, Richard; Benson, Jeff; Crowe, Chris; McLachlan, Robert; Le Moigne, Frederic A.C.; Moore, C. Mark; Pebody, Corinne; Provost, Paul; Rees, Andrew; Tilstone, Gavin; Woodword, E. Malcolm. 2017 Carbon sequestration in the deep Atlantic enhanced by Saharan dust. Nature Geoscience, 10 (3). 189-194.10.1038/ngeo2899
Le Moigne, Frederic A.C.; Henson, Stephanie A.; Cavan, Emma; Georges, Clément; Pabortsava, Katsiaryna; Achterberg, Eric P.; Ceballos-Romero, Elena; Zubkov, Mike; Sanders, Richard J.. 2016 What causes the inverse relationship between primary production and export efficiency in the Southern Ocean? Geophysical Research Letters, 43 (9). 4457-4466.10.1002/2016GL068480
Marsay, Chris M.; Sanders, Richard J.; Henson, Stephanie A.; Pabortsava, Katsiaryna; Achterberg, Eric P.; Lampitt, Richard S.. 2015 Attenuation of sinking particulate organic carbon flux through the mesopelagic. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 112 (4). 1089-1094.https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1415311112
Le Moigne, Frederic A.C.; Pabortsava, Katsiaryna; Marcinko, Charlotte L.J.; Martin, Patrick; Sanders, Richard J.. 2014 Where is mineral ballast important for surface export of particulate organic carbon in the ocean? Geophysical Research Letters, 41 (23). 8460-8468.https://doi.org/10.1002/2014GL061678
Decelle, Johan; Martin, Patrick; Pabortsava, Katsiaryna; Pond, David W.; Tarling, Geraint; Mahé, Frédéric; de Vargas, Colomban; Lampitt, Richard; Not, Fabrice. 2013 Diversity, ecology and biogeochemistry of cyst-forming Acantharia (Radiolaria) in the oceans. PLoS One, 8 (1). e53598.https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0053598
Le Moigne, Frédéric A.C.; Sanders, Richard J.; Villa-Alfageme, María; Martin, Adrian P.; Pabortsava, Katsiaryna; Planquette, Hélène; Morris, Paul J.; Thomalla, Sandy J.. 2012 On the proportion of ballast versus non-ballast associated carbon export in the surface ocean. Geophysical Research Letters, 39 (15). L15610.https://doi.org/10.1029/2012GL052980
Pabortsava, Katsiaryna; Purser, Autun; Wagner, Hannes; Thomsen, Laurenz. 2011 The influence of drill cuttings on physical characteristics of phytodetritus. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 62 (10). 2170-2180.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2011.07.002