Laura Lapham

Photo of Laura Lapham Associate Professor
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Chesapeake Biological Laboratory
146 Williams Street
Solomons, Maryland 20688
Phone: 410-326-7291

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Research Disciplines: Research Interests:

Sediment biogeochemistry, carbon cycling, methane, gas hydrates, stable isotope geochemistry, chromatography, methane in Arctic systems,

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Biographical Sketch

The goal of my research group is to enhance our understanding of methane emissions from aquatic environments. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, and there is considerable variability in emissions from the natural environment. The causes for this variabity could be physical, chemical, or biological. My group uses unique time-series sampling strategies to quantify the spatial and temporal variability in methane fluxes. We use stable- and radio-carbon isotopes to tease apart sources of methane, with an ultimate goal of understanding the processes that could be affecting this flux. We work in many environments like the Chesapeake Bay estuary, Arctic Freshwater lakes, and the Gulf of Mexico hydrocarbon seeps.


  • 1999-2007 – Marine Sciences (PhD), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC.  Dissertation title: “In situ measurements of methane cycling in cold seep sediments containing gas hydrates and brines”.
  • 1997- Chemistry with honors (BSc), Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL.  Honors thesis title “Using respiration rates and stable carbon isotopes to monitor the biodegradation of Orimulsion by marine benthic bacteria”.

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