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William Miller

Blurred image of the arch used as background for stylistic purposes.
Undergraduate Coordinator
  • Ph.D. 1990, Chemical Oceanography, University of Rhode Island
  • M.S.   1985, Marine Science, University of South Florida
  • B.A.    1979, Biology, Wake Forest University
Research Interests:

Generally, I am a chemical oceanographer with an early marine biology background. My research path has been from clams to metal chemistry to ocean optics to satellites; the result of following interesting interdisciplinary problems. Specific interests include:

Aquatic Photochemistry: It significance to redox chemistry and reactive oxygen species, carbon cycles, trace gases, alteration of dissolved organic substances, and relations of these to optics and biological processes

Trace element & trace metal redox chemistry: Processes controlling chemical distributions and biological productivity

Ocean Optics and Remote Sensing: Algorithm development for study of photochemical and photobiological processes over regional and global scales

Analytical method development: Evaluation of photochemical and redox reactions at very low environmental concentrations

Arlinghaus, K., A. Frossard, and W. L. Miller (2023) Examining superoxide dynamics in irradiated natural waters. Limnology and Oceanography, 9999, 1–13. doi:10.1002/lno.12316 

Zhu, Y., L. C. Powers, D. J. Kieber, and W. L. Miller (2022) Depth-resolved photochemical production of hydrogen peroxide in the global ocean using remotely sensed ocean color. Frontiers in Remote Sensing, 3:1009398. doi: 10.3389/frsen.2022.1009398

Koehler, B., L. C. Powers, R. M. Cory, A. V. Vähätalo, K. Einarsdóttir, Y.Gu, C. P. Ward, L. J. Tranvik, and W. L. Miller(2022) Inter-laboratory differences in the apparent quantum yield for photochemical oxidation of dissolved organic carbon, and implications for photochemical rate modeling. Limnology & Oceanography: Methods; doi: 10.1002/lom3.10489

Zhu, X., W. L. Miller, C.G., Fichot (2020) Simple method to determine the Apparent Quantum Yield Matrix of CDOM photobleaching in natural waters. Environ. Sci. Technol., 54(21), 14096-14106. doi:org/10.1021/acs.est.0c03605

Cao, F., Zhu, Y., Kieber, D. J., and W. L. Miller (2020) Distribution and photo-reactivity of chromophoric and fluorescent dissolved organic matter in the Northeastern North Pacific Ocean. Deep–Sea Research I155:103168.  doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2019.103168

Cao, F., D. R. Mishra, J. F. Schalles and W. L. Miller (2018) Evaluating ultraviolet (UV) based photochemistry in optically complex coastal waters using the Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HICO). Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science215:199-206. doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2018.10.013

Powers, Leanne C., Jay A. Brandes, Aron Stubbins, and William L. Miller (2017) MoDIE: Moderate Dissolved Inorganic Carbon (DI13C) Isotope Enrichment for improved evaluation of DIC photochemical production in seawater. Marine Chemistry194:1-9. doi:1016/j.marchem.2017.03.007

Tolar, B.B., Powers, L.C., Miller, W.L., Wallsgrove, N., Popp, B.N., Hollibaugh, J.T. (2016). Ammonia oxidation in the ocean can be inhibited by nanomolar concentrations of hydrogen peroxide. Frontiers in Marine Science, 3:237. doi:10.3389/fmars.2016.00237

Cao, F., Medeiros, P. M., and W. L. Miller (2016) Optical characterization of dissolved organic matter in the Amazon River plume and the adjacent ocean. Marine Chemistry, 186: 178-188. doi:10.1016/j.marchem.2016.09.007.

Medeiros, Patricia M., Michael Seidel, Jutta Niggemann, Robert G. M. Spencer, Peter J. Hernes, Patricia L. Yager, William L. Miller, Thorsten Dittmar, and Dennis A. Hansell (2016). A Novel molecular approach for tracing terrigenous dissolved organic matter into the deep ocean. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 30, 689–699, doi:10.1002/2015GB005320

Powers, Leanne C., and W. L. Miller (2015) Hydrogen peroxide and superoxide photoproduction in diverse marine waters: A simple proxy for estimating direct CO2 photochemical fluxes. Geophys. Res. Lett., 42: 7696-7704. doi:10.1002/2015GL065669

Powers, Leanne C., L. C. Babcock-Adams, J. K. Enright and W. L. Miller (2015) Probing the photochemical reactivity of deep ocean refractory carbon (DORC): lessons from hydrogen peroxide and superoxide kinetics, Marine Chemistry,177(2): 306-317. doi:10.1016/j.marchem.2015.06.005

Medeiros, P. M., M. Seidel, L. C. Powers, T. Dittmar, D. A. Hansell, and W. L. Miller (2015), Dissolved organic matter composition and photochemical transformations in the northern North Pacific Ocean, Geophysical Research Letters,42:863–870. doi:10.1002/2014GL062663

Reader, H. E., and W. L. Miller (2014) The efficiency and spectral photon dose dependence of photochemically induced changes to the microbial lability of dissolved organic carbon. Limnology and Oceanography, 59(1):182-194

Reader, H. E., and W. L. Miller (2012) Variability of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide apparent quantum yield spectra in three coastal estuaries of the South Atlantic Bight, Biogeosciences9:4279-4294, doi:10.5194/bg-9-4279-2012.

Fichot C. G., and W. L. Miller (2010) An approach to quantify depth-resolved marine photochemical fluxes using remote sensing: Application to carbon monoxide (CO) photoproduction. Remote Sensing of Environment114:1363–1377.

Tedetti, M., R. Sempéré, A. Vasilkov, B. Charrière, D. Nérini, W. Miller, K. Kawamura, and P. Raimbault, (2007) High penetration of ultraviolet radiation in South Pacific waters, Geophysical Research Letters, 34:L12610, doi:10.1029/2007GL029823

Moran, M.A., and W.L. Miller (2007) Microbial carbon biogeochemistry in the coastal ocean: resourceful heterotrophs make the most of light, Nature Rev. Microbiology, 5:792-800.

Ziolkowski, L.A., and W.L. Miller (2007) Variability of the quantum efficiency of CO photoproduction in the Gulf of Maine. Marine Chemistry, 105:258-270.

Bouillon, R-C., W.L. Miller, M. Levasseur, M. Scarratt, A. Merzouk, S. Michaud, L. Ziolkowski (2006) The effect of mesoscale iron enrichment on the marine photochemistry of dimethylsulfide in the NE subarctic Pacific. Deep Sea Research II (Special SERIES Issue), 53:2384-2397.

Bouillon, Rene, and William L. Miller (2004) Determination of apparent quantum yield spectra of DMS photo-degradation in an in situ iron-induced Northeast Pacific Ocean bloom, Geophysical Research Letters. 31(6):6310-6310.

Johannessen, S.C., W.L Miller, and J.J. Cullen. (2003) Calculation of CDOM absorbance spectra and UV attenuation from satellite ocean colour data. Journal of Geophysical Research108(C9):3301.

Miller, W.L., and R.G. Zepp.  (1995) Photochemical production of dissolved inorganic carbon from terrestrial input:  Significance to the oceanic organic carbon cycle.  Geophysical Research Letters22(4):417-420.

Miller, W.L., D.W. King, J. Lin, and D.R. Kester.  (1995) Photochemical redox cycling of iron in coastal seawater.  Marine Chemistry, 50(1-4):63-77.

Events Featuring...

261 Marine Science Bldg.

The oceanic DOC pool is comparable to the carbon inventory in both atmospheric CO2 and in the total biomass on earth. It’s reactivity, defined by its timescale of oxidation, reflects the complexity of this massive carbon pool and forms a continuum from labile, semi-labile, to refractory carbon constituents. Our studies using HOOH and O2- proxies, as well as novel direct measurements of CO2 photoproduction demonstrate that the capacity for DOM photooxidation to CO2 is not linear with photon dose, showing a strong loss of CO2 production efficiency within minutes to hours as irradiation proceeds. This argues that previous estimates of CO2 photoproduction based on extended irradiations do not capture the initial rates critical for photochemical models and consequently suggests that the photochemical sink for DOM in the surface ocean may have been significantly underestimated. The most refractory DOC compounds, thought to be ~4000-6000 yrs old on average, could represent over 90% of the inventory of oceanic DOC and are only rarely exposed to sunlight. Shipboard and laboratory irradiations of samples collected from 0 to 5000m as part of a Gulf of Alaska survey allowed photochemical comparison of the proposed DOC reactivity continuum using CO, superoxide, and HOOH production. Unlike surface irradiations, results suggest that photochemistry has been overestimated as a sink for this deep refractory DOC pool and plays only a minor role (<10%) in its direct removal.  Here we bring these elements together to provide a reevaluation of the role of photochemical oxidation in oceanic DOC budgets, providing new estimates based on new insight regarding reactivity and initial rates.


239 Marine Sciences Bldg.
Marine Sciences Building

Dr. Bill Miller is a professor in Marine Science and Oceanography. He began his academic career at Dalhousie University in Halifax, moved to the University of Georgia as Director of its Marine Institute, serving there for almost 10 years, after which he served a 2.5 yr. rotation with NSF’s ChemOCE Program. His research is in biogeochemistry and marine photochemistry. His favorite color is UV. Dr. Miller gives a brief description of his seminar below.

“Photochemical Methods: From Lab to Shining Sea.”  

The presentation will look at common assumptions and problems inherent in the process of extrapolating laboratory experiments to regional and global estimates of photochemical rates in the surface ocean, along with considerations needed to increase model accuracy.


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