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Dr Frances E. Hopkins

Dr Frances E. Hopkins

Marine biogeochemist

fhop12/6/2022 6:57:02    |     +44 (0)1752 633100 (switchboard)
"Although invisible to the eye and detectable by us as only a slight odour on the sea breeze, DMS influences vital cloud formation processes, helping to naturally regulate Earth’s climate. After 15 years researching the production of DMS by tiny microbes in the surface ocean, I’m still amazed and inspired by this!"

Frances began her career at PML in 2009, following completion of her PhD under the supervision of Prof Peter Liss at the University of East Anglia. Her research focuses on the production of key marine trace gases in the surface ocean, primarily dimethyl sulfide (DMS) and halocarbons. Understanding the processes that lead to the production of these gases is critical to accurately predicting their flux to the atmosphere, and ultimately modelling the impact they have on Earth’s climate. Her research has tackled diverse angles of this topic, including the influence of ocean acidification on marine trace gas production, the production of DMS by corals during air exposure, the influence of DMS on the palatability of microplastics to copepods, as well as studies directly focusing on the marine biogeochemical production and cycling of DMS.

During her first 5 years at PML, Frances’ research involved regular sea-going and land-based expeditions (Norway, Svalbard, the Mauritania upwelling system, the NW European shelf, Arctic Ocean, Southern Ocean). Having now had two children, her focus has shifted to staying closer to home and working on lab-based studies that make use of PML’s world-leading Western Channel Observatory, including the long-term marine time series station L4 and the Penlee Point Atmospheric Observatory.

Her recent and ongoing research includes three NERC funded projects: “Microbial degradation of DMSO in seawater”, “ A multidisciplinary study of DMSP production and lysis – from enzymes to organisms to process modelling”, and “Is bacterial DMS consumption dependent on methylamines in marine waters?”, all of which tackle individual parts of the complex web of biogeochemical DMS production and cycling in seawater.

Frances is co-chair of the Athena SWAN working group, a committee driving forward gender equality initiatives at PML. She led PML’s successful application for Bronze accreditation in 2017 and is currently co-leading the development of PML’s application for a Silver award. She is committed to supporting all staff and students to reach their full potential, and particularly those that face additional challenges relating to gender or other protected characteristics.

Frances also co-leads PML’s Biodiversity Action Group, a sub-group of the Environmental Management Committee, working to produce a Biodiversity Action Plan for PML to boost the wildlife of the grounds and gardens, improving the environment for staff and beasties alike!

FE Hopkins, SM Turner, PD Nightingale, M Steinke, D Bakker, PS Liss (2009) Ocean acidification and marine trace gas emissions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), 107, 760. doi:10.1073/pnas.0907163107

SD Archer, SA Kimmance, JA Stephens, FE Hopkins, R Bellerby, K Schulz (2013) Contrasting responses to ocean acidification of DMS and its precursor DMSP in Arctic waters. Biogeosciences, 10, 1893–1908. doi:10.5194/bg-10-1893-2013

FE Hopkins, TG Bell, M Yang, DJ Suggett, M Steinke (2016). Air exposure of coral is a significant source of dimethylsulfide (DMS) to the atmosphere. Scientific Reports, doi:10.1038/srep36031.

J Procter, FE Hopkins, E Fileman, P Lindeque (2019) Smells Good Enough To Eat: Dimethylsulfide (DMS) Enhances Copepod Ingestion Rate of Microplastics. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 138, 1–6. doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2018.11.014

Recent publications

View more publications on our repository