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Patrick Louchouarn

Executive Associate VP for Academic Affairs
Department of Marine Sciences

"I used to have an open mind, but my brains kept falling out!"

- Anonymous


You'll find that the only thing you can do easily is be wrong, and that's hardly worth the effort."

- Norton Juster
(The Phantom Tollbooth)

Get To Know Patrick Louchouarn

What in your life drew you to your current field of study?

A series of accidents...

Throughout my career, I have had the great fortune to have many incredible mentors, both men and women, who have opened doors and shown me the way to a world of discovery. The first such accidental guidance came from a high school teacher in Mexico, who disrupted (without knowing) my intentional path to art school by sharing his passion for science. As I set to follow this newfound path, I initially thought I wanted to be biologist until I met the man who would eventually become my graduate advisor and who lead me through the discovery of environmental geochemistry research. In a side-conversation after class, early in my senior year, he invited me to participate in an oceanographic research cruise on the St. Lawrence Estuary (Canada). Following the collection of a large number of water and sediment sampled, he invited to work in the lab as an undergraduate research scholar for the rest of the year. With a published peer-reviewed publication by the time I graduated, I was hooked. What then followed was years of fieldwork in remote locations (Canadian Tundra/Taiga, Greenland, North Atlantic, boreal and tropical lakes, the Arctic) and in the lab developing the necessary expertise to unveil untold stories of human impact and global change in multiple environments.

I find it particularly amazing that from a few millionth of a gram of a substance you detected in deep sediments, you could reconstruct the history of contaminant transport or natural vegetation shifts in an aquatic system, or the health history of inhabitants in surrounding metropolis. Finding the right tool, and looking through the right magnifying glass, is what really drives a lot of what I do. I think that there are still so many conundrums in trying to explain the natural world around us that we don't run a risk of getting bored any time soon.

Being able to communicate the mysteries of nature to future scientists, educators, policy makers, and the general public gives this activity even more relevance. However, as I evolved through my career and particularly my leadership experience, I have recognized the need for building interconnections across all fields of research and education, to create deeply meaningful knowledge and better-prepared global citizens. Decades later, I find ways to reunite my initial attraction for art and humanities with my long-standing love for science and technology. The beauty of academia is that is it a place where knowledge is constantly created, accepted norms tested and challenged, and creativity valued at the highest level. I couldn’t have “stumbled” in a better place and wish to share my love of learning with generations of students.

What do you hope your students gain from studying or working with you?

Because of my administrative role, I do not formally teach classes presently. However, I still enjoy working 1:1 with graduate students (when working as advisees in a graduate program) or with student workers as professional mentees. No matter the relationship, I will always encourage students to reflect on their experience in a larger context, identify the leadership skill they are developing while at the university, and integrate diverse mode of thinking in their problem solving. Because I have benefited for years from the generosity of my mentors, I am always happy to commit time and shared experience with students.

What are you passionate about in your personal life?

Intellectual and physical challenge. Since I can remember, I have been active in sports and exploring the outdoors. My fieldwork has been a source of “adventure” for years, and it combined the physical and intellectual challenge I so love. Since I have switched to an administrative role, I have had to redirect my need for physical challenge and found an outlet in triathlon and road race competitions. What I also discovered as a result was a community of like-minded people who support each other, their surrounding community, and engage in larger conversations of health in our society. My life is richer today because of my wonderful teammates and friends with whom I share extraordinary achievements. In addition, I find that the physical challenges I face help me focus on my goals in a more intentional way.
Post-Doc (NSERC): Chemical Oceanography, University of Texas at Austin, 1998-1999

Environmental Sciences (Geochemistry), University of Québec in Montréal (UQAM), 1997

M.S. Environmental Sciences (Geochemistry), University of Québec in Montréal (UQAM), 1992

B.S. Marine Biology, McGill University, 1989
Courses Taught
CHEM 316-318: Quantitative and Analytical Chemistry
MARS 281: Sophomore Seminar
MARS 450: Marine Instrumental Analysis
OCNG 251: Introductory Oceanography
P. Louchouarn, S. Seward, G. Cornelissen, H.P. Arp, K.M. Yeager, R. Brinkmeyer, and P.H. Santschi, (2018 – In Press). Limited mobility of dioxins near San Jacinto Super Fund site (waste pit) in the Houston Ship Channel, Texas due to strong sediment sorption. Environmental Pollution.

Myers-Pigg, A.N., P. Louchouarn, and R. Teisserenc. (2017). Flux of Dissolved and Particulate Low-Temperature Pyrogenic Carbon from Two High-Latitude Rivers across the Spring Freshet Hydrograph. Frontiers in Marine Science (section Marine Biogeochemistry). DOI 10.3389/fmars.2017.00038

Myers-Pigg, A.N., R.J. Griffin, P. Louchouarn, M. Norwood, A. Sterne, and B. Karakurt Cevik (2016). Signatures of biomass burning aerosols in the plume of a saltmarsh wildfire in South Texas. Environmental Science & Technology. Vol. 50(17), 9308–9314.

Armitage, A.R., W.E. Highfield, S.D. Brody, and P. Louchouarn (2015). The contribution of mangrove expansion to salt marsh loss in the western Gulf of Mexico. PLoS ONE 10(5): e0125404. doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0125404.

Myers-Pigg, A.N., P. Louchouarn, R.M.W. Amon, A. Prokushkin, K. Pierce, and A. Rubtsov (2015). Labile pyrogenic dissolved organic carbon in major Siberian Arctic rivers: Implications for wildfire-stream metabolic linkages. Geophysical Research Letters. Vol. 42, 377–385.

Kuo, L-J, C-L. Lee, C-A. Huh, J.T. Liu, J-C. Chen, and P. Louchouarn (2014). A centennial record of anthropogenic impacts and extreme weather events in southwestern Taiwan: Evidence from sedimentary molecular markers in coastal margin. Marine Pollution Bulletin. Vol. 86(1-2), 244–253.

Masiello, C.A. and P. Louchouarn. (2013). Fire in the Ocean. Science. Vol. 340(6130), 287-288.

Louchouarn, P., L-J. Kuo, J. Brandenberger, F. Marcantonio, C. Garland, G. Gill, and V. Cullinan. (2012). Pyrogenic inputs of anthropogenic Pb and Hg to sediments of the Hood Canal, Washington, in the 20th century: Source evidence from elemental ratios, stable Pb isotopes, and PAH signatures. Environmental Science & Technology. Vol. 46(11), 5772−5781.

Louchouarn, P., L-J. Kuo, T.L. Wade, and M. Schantz. (2009). Determination of levoglucosan and its isomers in size fractions of aerosol standard reference materials. Atmospheric Environment. Vol. 43, 5630-5636.

Louchouarn P., S. Chillrud, S. Houel, B. Yan, D. Chaky, C. Rumpel, C. Largeau, G. Bardoux, D. Walsh, and R.F. Bopp (2007). Elemental and isotopic evidence of soot- and char-derived black carbon inputs to New York City’s atmosphere during the 20th Century. Environmental Science & Technology. Vol. 41(1), 82-87.
2018: Untargeted characterization of halogenated contaminants and their degradation products in Puget Sound sediments using Fourier Transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FTICR MS). Liu, Y., L.-J. Kuo, N. Tolić, L. Paša-Tolić, T. Wade, A. Knap, J. Brandenberger, and P. Louchouarn (2017), Poster Presentation (ME14A-0921), Ocean Science Meeting, Portland, OR.

February 26-March 3, 2017: Pyrogenic carbon dynamics across land-to-sea gradients. Myers-Pigg, A.N., and P. Louchouarn (2017). ASLO Ocean Sciences Meeting: Mountains to the sea. Honolulu, HI.

December 14-18, 2015: From Ecosystem-Scale to Litter Biochemistry: Controls on Carbon Sequestration in Coastal Wetlands of the Western Gulf of Mexico. Louchouarn, P., K. Kaiser, M. Norwood, S.A. Sterne, A.R. Armitage, W. Highfield, S. Brody. (2015). AGU Fall Meeting 2015, San Francisco, California.

December 14-18, 2015: High-resolution analysis of the terrestrial influence on DOC and POC export in a Siberian Arctic River during the spring freshet. Myers-Pigg, A.N., R. Teisserenc, N. Tananaev, P. Louchouarn (2015). AGU Fall Meeting 2015, San Francisco, California.

December 14-18, 2015: Degradation State and Sequestration Potential of Carbon in Coastal Wetlands of Texas: Mangrove Vs. Saltmarsh Ecosystems. Sterne, S.A., K. Kaiser, P. Louchouarn, M. Norwood. (2015). AGU Fall Meeting 2015, San Francisco, California.

December 14-18: 2015: Late Holocene stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic variation of bulk organic matter deposited in Blackwood Sinkhole, Abaco, The Bahamas. Tamalavage, A., P.J. van Hengstum, P. Louchouarn, P. Fall, J.P. Donnelly. (2015). AGU Fall Meeting 2015, San Francisco, California.

April 19-24, 2015: Quantifying Ecological Shift and the Fate of Blue Carbon in Coastal Wetlands of the Western Gulf of Mexico. Louchouarn, P., A. Armitage, W. Highfield, M. Norwood, S. Brody, K. Kaiser, and A. Sterne (2015). NASA - 2015 Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Joint Science Workshop (CC&E JSW4), College Park, Maryland.

December 15-19, 2014: Signatures of Biomass Burning Aerosols During a Smoke Plume Event from a Saltmarsh Wildfire in South Texas. Louchouarn, P., R.J. Griffin, M. Norwood, A. Sterne, B. Karakurt Cevik. (2014). AGU Fall Meeting 2014, San Francisco, California.
Grants and Fellowships
2017-2020: NSF REU – OCE: TAMUG-REU – Ocean and Coastal ResEArch ExperieNces for UndergraduateS (REU-OCEANUS). (PI).

2015-2017: NSF (Chemical Oceanography): “Development and application of a high sensitivity, ultra low volume method to measure biomarkers of terrigenous dissolved organic matter (tDOM) in the open ocean”. (Co-PI).

2014-2015: Cameron Corp: “Locating a CDX Pilot Plant on the TAMUG Campus, Site Preparation, Installation, and Operation”. (PI).

2011-2014: NASA-USDA (Carbon Cycle Science Program): “Examining the relationships between land use change, wetland alteration, and carbon sequestration in the Gulf of Mexico”. (PI).

2010-2015: The Welch Foundation: Departmental grant to enhance undergraduate research in chemistry at Texas A&M University-Galveston. (PI).

2010-2011: NOAA-Northern Gulf of Mexico Institute: “Responses of Benthic Communities and Sedimentary Dynamics to Hydrocarbon Exposure in Neritic and Bathyal Ecosystems”. (Co-PI).

2011-2012: Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland: “Anthropogenic air pollution and environmental history of Copenhagen” (Co-PI).

2011: Texas Commission of Environmental Quality: Pilot study for in situ remediation of legacy Dioxin and PCB concentrations in Texas aquatic systems using geosorbent amendment – Phase I”. (Co-PI).

2010-2011: Northern Gulf of Mexico Institute: “Responses of Benthic Communities and Sedimentary Dynamics to Hydrocarbon Exposure in Neritic and Bathyal Ecosystems. Phase I & II”. (Sub-contract).

2008-2011: R&K Research: “Analysis of Sediment Cores from the Penobscot River Estuary”. (Co-PI).

2009-2010: NSF: “MRI: Acquisition of a GC/MS triple quadrupole for the characterization of lignin and other terrestrial plant biomarkers in complex environmental media at TAMUG”. (PI).

2009: Texas Commission of Environmental Quality: “Fate of Dioxin in the Houston Ship Channel and Evaluation of Natural Remediation Processes”. (Co-PI).

2009-2010: Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ): “Role of black carbon in the partitioning and mobility of dioxins in contaminated sediments of the Houston Ship Channel”. (PI).

2008-2010: Dept. of Ecology-State of Washington: “Study of Atmospheric Deposition of Air Toxics to the Waters of Puget Sound, Washington”. (Co-PI).

2008-2010: Texas A&M University-Pathways to Doctorate: Fellowship support for a Ph.D. student.

2005-2008: NOAA – Coastal Hypoxia Research Program: “Historical evaluations of increased hypoxia in three basins of the Puget Sound” (Co-PI).
Awards & Recognition
2010: Distinguished Achievement Award. Texas A&M University - Association of Former Students.

1998-2000: Post-Doctoral - NSERC

1994-1996: Eco-Research, Canadian Ministry of the Environment (Ph.D.)

1992-1994: NSERC (Ph.D.)

1993-1994: Scientific Council of Québec (Ph.D.)

1991-1992: Fondation Université du Québec (M.Sc.)

1989: Penhallow Price in Biology (McGill University).

1987-1989: University Scholar Fellowships (McGill University).
Professional Appointments
2010-2017: Permanent Jury Member (Co-Chair in 2012): International Partner University Fund - Grant Foundation. U.S. member of a team of 8 jury (4 from U.S. and 4 from France) that recommend funding of international projects (10-12/year) in humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences collaboratively undertaken by French and American institutions (supported by the Institute for International Education and the Mellon Foundation).

2005: Invited Professor (Sabbatical), École de Sciences Politiques (Sciences Po)/American Center - Paris. Participated in a joint project with a consortium of French universities towards the development of a professional Master program in sustainable development.

2005: Invited Professor (Sabbatical), Institut National de Recherche Agricole (INRA) - Versailles-Grignon. Biogeochemistry of soils and sediments.
Current Graduate Students
Annie Tamalavage, Ph.D. Candidate, Oceanography (Co-advised with Dr. Pete Van Hengstum (Marine Sciences))

Contact Info

Patrick Louchouarn
Executive Associate VP for Academic Affairs
Department of Marine Sciences
Phone: +1 (409) 741-4409
Fax: +1 (409) 740-4407

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