Deborah Bronk, PhD

President and CEO
Senior Research Scientist
Phone: +1 (207) 315-2567, ext. 115
Fax: +1 (207) 315-2329

For media inquiries, please contact

Deborah Bronk joined Bigelow Laboratory in February 2018 as its president and CEO.

She earned a Ph.D. in marine-estuarine and environmental sciences from the University of Maryland, and she has more than two decades of experience as a professor and an oceanographer. During that time, she has conducted more than 50 research cruises and field studies in freshwater and marine environments that stretch from pole to pole.

Most recently, Deborah was the Moses D. Nunnally Distinguished Professor of Marine Sciences and department chair at Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences. She previously served as division director for the National Science Foundation’s Division of Ocean Science and as president of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography.


Ph.D., Marine Estuarine and Environmental Sciences, Horn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, June 1992.

B.S., Biology and Marine Science, University of Miami, Miami, FL, May 1986.

Research Interests

My research is all about NITROGEN! I am interested in ways that nitrogen controls the growth of the microscopic organisms at the base of the food web in open-ocean, coastal, and estuarine environments. My early work involved extensive method development with the goal of finding ways to measure how quickly phytoplankton and bacteria take up and release nitrogen, particularly the dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) fraction (compounds like urea or amino acids). I now use these techniques to address a host of questions relating to the release of DON from phytoplankton and zooplankton and subsequent reincorporation of DON as a nitrogen source for phytoplankton and bacteria. More recently I have started working on DON in effluent - its surprising how cool waste water treatment plants can be!


  • Baer SE, Sipler RE, Roberts QN, Yager PL, Frischer ME, Bronk DA. Seasonal nitrogen uptake and regeneration in the western coastal Arctic. Limnology & Oceanography.
  • Wawrik B, Bronk DA , Baer SE, Chi L, Sun M, Cooper JT, Yang Z. Bacterial utilization of creatine in seawater. Aquatic Microbial Ecology.
  • Sipler RE*, Kellogg C, Connelly TL, Roberts QN, Yager PL, Bronk DA. Microbial Community Response to Terrestrially Derived Dissolved Organic Matter in the Coastal Arctic, Frontiers in Microbiology.
  • Sipler RE, Gong D, Baer SE, Sanderson MP, Mulholland M, Bronk DA. Preliminary estimates of the contribution of Arctic nitrogen fixation to the global nitrogen budget. Limnology and Oceanography Letters.
  • Sipler RE, Bronk DA, Dynamics of Dissolved Organic Nitrogen. Biogeochemistry of Marine Dissolved Organic Matter.
  • Sipler RE, Baer SE, Connelly TL, Frischer ME, Roberts QN, Yager PL, Bronk DA. Chemical and photophysiological impact of terrestrially-derived dissolved organic matter on nitrate uptake in the coastal western Arctic. Limnology & Oceanography.