In addition to the main focuses of my research, there are a few other exciting projects I’ve either worked on in the past, or are still working on.
Th and Pa as tracers of ocean physics
There are a wide variety of physical processes shaping the oceanic distributions of 230Th and 231Pa, which these isotopes can in turn be used to study. I’m currently studying how the confluence of bottom-intensified diapycnal mixing and sediment resuspension (e.g. benthic nepheloid layers) drive anomalous mid-depth 230Th and 231Pa depletions in the SE Pacific. I’m also examining what drives geographic differences in the intensity of boundary scavenging – the lateral redistribution of 230Th and 231Pa along isopycnals by eddy diffusion from regions of low to high particle flux – between the subtropical South Pacific and the Ross Sea (Pavia et al, in review, GBC).
Nodes of Interdisciplinary Research
I’ve been working with English Literature scholar Jason Bell (Harvard) to study mechanisms of interdisciplinary research (e.g. sciences+humanities) and how they might contribute new ways to understanding large-scale phenomena like anthropogenic climate change. More broadly, we’re interested in the mutual compatibility (or lack thereof) in the types of knowledge produced in the sciences and in the humanities. We recently wrote a book chapter (Bell and Pavia, 2021) outlining an experimental method for interdisciplinary studies of climate change, epistemic pessimism. We use surf punk music and bomb radiocarbon as potentially-compatible tools for cross-disciplinary study to outline the bounds of our method.
Seawater noble gases
Noble gases are chemically inert, making them fantastic tracers of physical processes of air-sea gas exchange at the sea surface and diapycnal mixing in the ocean interior. I collaborated with Alan Seltzer to develop Ar, Kr, and Xe stable isotopes as sensitive tools to study the dominant processes for gas exchange preceding deepwater formation (Seltzer, Pavia et al. 2019). I’m also using new measurements of dissolved δ3He as a tracer of recirculation and inflow to the semi-enclosed Peru and Bauer Basins to better understand anomalous scavenging signatures we’ve observed in dissolved 230Th and 231Pa.