Johan Schijf

Photo of John Schijf Associate Professor
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Chesapeake Biological Laboratory
146 Williams Street (P.O. Box 38)
Bernie Fowler Laboratory
Solomons, MD, Maryland 20688
Phone: 410-326-7387

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Research Disciplines: Research Interests:

metal-particle interactions, metal-biota interactions, fate of technology-critical metals, metal speciation in seawater, physical chemistry of seawater, geochemical analysis, advanced titration and mass spectrometry, alkaline earth elements

View Johan's CV

Biographical Sketch

My scientific career has gone through a few unusual twists and turns. In my native country of The Netherlands, I did my M.Sc. degree in nuclear physics and then made a major change by continuing with a Ph.D. in marine geochemistry, under the supervision of Hein de Baar. This is where I was first introduced to the rare earth elements (REEs). After post-doctoral projects at WHOI, sampling seasonally anoxic lakes, and at Harvard, developing novel mass spectrometric techniques for the analysis of Zr, Hf, Pa, and Th in seawater, I worked for a year with Bill Landing at FSU on the atmospheric distribution of Hg. In 1995, I became a research associate at the University of South Florida, where I spent the next 11 years with Bob Byrne, systematically investigating REE complexation with inorganic ligands and their sorption on mineral surfaces, while managing his new ICP-MS laboratory and clean room. During this period I also consulted about 4 years for Agilent Technologies, as an ICP-MS instructor for their US east coast customers. In 2006, I started as an assistant professor at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory and got tenure in 2012. I am still mainly focused on the REEs, but my interests have shifted to their complexation with strong natural (e.g., metallophores) and synthetic organic ligands, as well as their sorption on organic surfaces (e.g., macroalgae). The current funding climate has compelled me to pursue some more applied studies, involving the behavior of the REEs and other technology-critical metals as emerging environmental contaminants. In addition, I have an ongoing fascination with the aqueous geochemistry of the alkaline earth elements (Mg, Ca, Sr, Ba). Since 2019 I have been an Associate Editor for Frontiers in Marine Science.


  • M.Sc. 1987 University of Groningen (NL) experimental nuclear physics
  • Ph.D. 1992 University of Utrecht (NL) marine geochemistry
  • Post-Doc 1992-1994 WHOI and Harvard University
  • Research Assistant 1994-1995 Florida State University
  • Research Associate 1995-2005 University of South Florida
  • Customer Training Consultant 2000-2004 Agilent Technologies
  • Assistant Professor 2006-2012 UMCES/Chesapeake Biological Laboratory
  • Associate Professor 2012-present UMCES/Chesapeake Biological Laboratory

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