photo by Carin Ashjian, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Lee W. Cooper

Ph.D., Oceanography, 1987
University of Alaska, Fairbanks 

M.S., Botany, 1980
University of Washington 

B.A., Biology, 1978
University of California, 
Santa Cruz

Web Portal For Arctic Research at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Website for University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES)

Website for Chesapeake Biological Lab (CBL) of UMCES

Biogeochemistry Group at CBL

Analytical Facilities at CBL


Stable and radioisotope composition of organic materials and natural waters; aquatic plant physiology; high latitude oceanography and hydrology

Links to PUBLICATIONS: These networking links below provide information and links to my publications. In some cases, the publications can be directly downloaded, but in other cases, due to copyright restrictions, I cannot freely post my publications for download. For anything that is unavailable that is of interest, please send an email to cooper "at" and I'll respond with .pdf files that I have available.



A little bit about me: I grew up in a southern California beach community and was always interested in the local marine environment. Marine plants, particularly seagrasses were my first professional interest, and led to studies of stable carbon isotopes, which vary in ways in seagrasses that are still being explored. Some of the same seagrasses that grow on sunny beaches in California also grow in Alaska, so to me it was completely understandable to move north to Santa Cruz, to Seattle, and to Fairbanks, with fieldwork in Sitka and Cold Bay. I was at UCLA for a two-year postdoc, studying carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen isotope variation in terrestrial, marine, and freshwater plants. Returning to California reminded me of why I might have left Los Angeles, and I went from there to Tennessee for 20 years, where I worked for both Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. During that period, I developed active, sea-going research programs, primarily in the Arctic with professional collaborators that include my spouse, Jacqueline Grebmeier, and we both had the opportunity to move to the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) in 2008. I teach graduate level courses for the Marine- Estuarine-Environmental Science Program of the University of Maryland. In the summer I am often doing field-based research with students and professional staff on how arctic marine ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles are responding to environmental changes at high latitudes.

Selected Synergistic and Public Service Activities

Chief Scientist and Co-Chief Scientist, eleven research cruises of the USCGC Healy, 2002-2013; four research cruises of the USCGC Polar Star and Polar Sea; multi-team shipboard experience aboard RV Alpha Helix (ten cruises), Sir Wilfrid Laurier (ten cruises), N.B. Palmer and Russian vessels Rift, Hydrobiologist and Okean

Facilitated shipboard research immersion experiences for K-12 educators via National Science Foundation funded TEA, TREC, PolarTREC  and Project Armada programs.

Member and Chair, Arctic Icebreaker Coordinating Committee, 2008-2014; efforts include promoting better relations between scientists and local Alaskan communities that rely on subsistence harvests (e.g.

Independent Contractor to the Ecosystems Center, Marine Biological Laboratory (Woods Hole), Pan-Arctic River Transport of Nutrients, Organic Matter, and Suspended Sediments (PARTNERS) project, 2003-2007. Continued analytical efforts supporting succeeding projects through 2013.

Public out-reach concerning arctic research through interviews and interactions with media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, The News-Hour with Jim Lehrer, CBS Radio, CBS Evening News, ABC News, the Nome Nugget, Associated Press, U.S. News and World Report, BBC Radio, Los Angeles Times, The New Scientist, Scholastic Magazine, Discovery Channel, Audubon Magazine, National Public Radio, Alaska Public Radio, as well as local radio stations in Nome, Barrow, and Dutch Harbor/Unalaska

Director, Project Office, Russian-American Arctic Land-Shelf Systems Initiative/Land-shelf Interactions, Arctic System Sciences Program, National Science Foundation, 2002-2006, Member of Steering Committee, 1996-2002.

Member, National Academy Study Committee, Design of an Arctic Observing System, 2004-2005.

Lead editor, Land-Shelf Interactions Science Plan, supported by the National Science Foundation, Arctic System Program, 2000-2003

U.S. Delegate, International Arctic Science Advisory Committee, International Science Initiative in the Russian Arctic, 2001.

Contributor, Office of Technology Assessment report on Arctic Nuclear Contamination, 1995

Consultant for stable isotope mass spectrometry lab, Korea Ocean Research & Development Institute, Ansan, 1991

Manager, (under subcontract to Univ. Tennessee) stable isotope laboratory facilities, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge Nat'l Lab, 1988-1991

Coordination of docent programs for elementary education, Univ. of Alaska Museum, 1984-1986.

Mailing Address:

Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

PO Box 38 (for US Postal Service)

146 Williams St. (for UPS/Fedex/courier)

Solomons, MD 20688, USA

Telephone: +1 410.326.7359