Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Marine Science

Major Professor

Robert H. Byrne, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Pamela Hallock-Muller, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Edward S. Van Vleet, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Richard A. Feely, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lori R. Adornato, Ph.D.


carbonate ion, internal consistency, meta cresol purple, pH, saturation state, spectrophotometry


This work provides improved procedures for spectrophotometric carbon system measurements. Indicator dyes used for routine spectrophotometric pH measurements in seawater suffer from impurity issues, which introduce vendor-specific systematic errors in pH determinations. The magnitude of these errors for several vendors was investigated for meta Cresol Purple (mCP) and Cresol Red (CR). Flash chromatography procedures were developed to obtain purified mCP and CR on a bulk scale in order to supply the oceanographic research community with the indicators. Easy access to the purified indicators ensures global intercomparability of spectrophotometric pH determinations.

Internal consistency of marine inorganic carbon system measurements was studied using datasets obtained on two large coastal ocean acidification research cruises. In both cases, purified mCP was used to obtain the pH measurements, thereby improving accuracy relative to previous studies in which measurements were obtained with unrefined mCP. Based on this internal consistency study, recommendations are made for selecting the parameter pairs used for saturation state calculations.

Direct spectrophotometric methods for measuring carbonate ion concentrations in seawater were improved by (a) using a higher concentration of lead as the carbonate indicator and (b) altering the carbonate computational algorithm based on high quality field data. Measurements of DIC and pH (using purified mCP) were used to calculate carbonate ion concentrations for comparison with spectrophotometrically measured carbonate ion concentrations (i.e., via spectrophotometric measurements of Pb(II) spectra in the ultraviolet). Minor changes in the computational algorithm substantially improved agreement between measured and calculated carbonate ion concentrations.