After an MSc in Soil Science with a focus on biogeochemical cycles (1991), I moved into oceanography for PhD research on CO2 air-sea exchange in the Atlantic and Southern Oceans. The oceans cover two-thirds of our Blue Planet and major findings are still being made. The multidisciplinary, seagoing fieldwork is a fun aspect of oceanography. Central in my research are processes affecting the air-sea transfer of natural long-lived greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide) and the marine carbon cycle in a changing climate, notably the role of marine biota, ocean circulation, stratification, iron supply, sea ice and ocean acidification.

Data quality and access to marine biogeochemical data are important, especially for studies of longterm variation and change. I contribute to these aims as chair of the Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (SOCAT), a high-profile activity by the international marine carbon research community. Version 2021 of SOCAT is available. Automation of SOCAT data upload now enables annual, public releases of SOCAT. SOCAT has made a Voluntary Commitment to the 2017 UN Conference for Annual, public releases of the Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (#OceanAction20464) and contributes to UN Sustainable Development Goal 14.3.1 (Ocean Acidification). Recent SOCAT-based estimates indicate that the ocean carbon sink is more variable on year-to-year and decadal time scales than ocean biogeochemical models indicate.

Currently I am investigating carbon cycling in UK shelf seas and the Southern and Arctic Oceans. I am part of the CUSTARD, PICCOLO, MOSAiC and COMFORT research projects. Past research projects include CarboChange, and Ocean Acidification Research. I have participated in 21 multidisciplinary, mostly seagoing research projects, am an author of 91 peer-reviewed articles and 5 book chapters and supervise 1 researcher and 5 PhD students. 

Read here about Elise Droste's participation in MOSAiC.




  • 2018 to date:  University of East Anglia, Reader (Associate Professor)
  • 2016-2018:    University of East Anglia, Senior Lecturer
  • 2006-2016:    University of East Anglia, Research Officer
  • 1998-2005:    University of East Anglia, Senior Research Associate
  • 1998:             PhD awarded by the University of Groningen
  • 1996-1998:    Universite Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France, Research Associate
  • 1991-1996:    Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, PhD research
  • 1985-1991:    Wageningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands, MSc Soil Science 


Special Award


PhD Opportunities

Email me (d.bakker at to discuss PhD projects on the ocean carbon cycle and sources of funding.

Click here for other PhD opportunities in the School of Environmental Sciences.


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