John Helms, assistant professor of chemistry, was the lead author of a paper that recently was named one of the top contributions in its field.
John Helms, assistant professor of chemistry at Morningside College, was the lead author of a paper that recently was named one of the top contributions in its field.
The paper was included in Limnology and Oceanography’s 60th anniversary special edition, “The Top 60 Papers from the First 60 Years of L&O.” Limnology is the study of inland waters, and oceanography is the study of the ocean.
Helms expanded on his master’s thesis to publish the peer-reviewed study in 2008 when he was completing a doctorate in chemistry at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. It is titled “Absorption Spectral Slopes and Slope Ratios as Indicators of Molecular Weight, Source, and Photobleaching of Chromophoric Dissolved Organic Matter.”
Chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) is the main component of natural waters that gives the water its color. The paper was an early attempt to understand what the color of natural waters says about the size, structure, source and history of CDOM on a molecular level.
The findings of this study have since been applied to research as wide-ranging as satellite imaging of the oceans, the transport of carbon and nitrogen from terrestrial to aquatic environments, the fate of organic carbon in the oceans, and the climate impacts of the thawing landscape in the arctic.
Helms joined the Morningside College faculty in 2014 after completing a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.