People > Professor Philip Nightingale

Professor Philip Nightingale

PML Fellow

Contact Details

+44 (0)1752 633100 (switchboard)


Professor Philip Nightingale is a Marine Chemist whose research is based around the cycling of trace gases in seawater and their transfer across the air-sea interface. He has worked extensively on the use of deliberate tracers (SF6, Helium-3, rhodamines and spores) to determine air-sea gas exchange rates, in pioneering in-situ iron fertilisation experiments and as Lagrangian tracers for studies of trace gas cycling and biogeochemistry. He is currently the PML lead for the Locate, ACSIS and ICOS projects.

Phil has a 1st class BSc from the School of Chemical Sciences and a PhD from the School of Environmental Sciences both at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and has worked at PML since 1995. He was Head of Science for the biogeochemistry science area, from 2010 - 2013. He has published over 67 ISI listed papers (H index 25, total citations ~4600) and a further 12 non-ISI listed but peer-reviewed papers. He has participated in about 35 field experiments, including 2 as Chief Scientist. He has collaborated closely with colleagues from the USA (University of Hawaii, University of Miami, University of Washington, LDEO, Moss Landing), New Zealand and Europe (LODYC, KNMI, Kiel, Mainz, AWI, Bergen) as well as several universities and institutes in the UK, particularly UEA, Newcastle, Warwick, Leeds, York and the National Oceanography Centre.

He has lectured at the SOLAS Summer Schools in Corsica in 2007/09/11 and BIOCAT in Kiel (2008). He has given invited talks in the UK, Germany, Italy, China, Korea and the USA. He reviews manuscripts for a range of journals and proposals for agencies in the UK, USA, Canada, Norway, S. Africa and Belgium. He has supervised or co-supervised 16 PhD students and has acted as an External PhD Examiner for the Universities of Leeds, York, Southampton, Newcastle, UEA and Bretagne. He is a Chartered Chemist and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Chemistry. He is an honorary professor at the School of Environmental Sciences, UEA.


North Atlantic climate system integrated study (ACSIS)

North Atlantic climate system integrated study (ACSIS)

Contact: Dr Ming-Xi Yang

Major changes are occurring across the North Atlantic climate system: in ocean and atmosphere temperatures and circulation, in sea ice thickness...

Ocean Regulation of Climate through Heat and Carbon Sequestration and Transports (ORCHESTRA)

Ocean Regulation of Climate through Heat and Carbon Sequestration and Transports (ORCHESTRA)

Contact: Dr Tim Smyth

Climate change is one of the most urgent issues facing humanity and life on Earth. Better predictions of future climate change are needed, so that...

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Other key projects

  • ICOS: The Integrated Carbon Observation System is a European Research Infrastructure (ERIC) consisting of a network of European observing systems operated at member state level and is underpinned by thematic centres (ocean, atmosphere and ecosystem. PML operates the L4 ICOS station off Plymouth and contributes to the Ocean Thematic Centre.
  • Locate: The Land Ocean Carbon Transfer programme will establish how much organic carbon from soils is getting into our rivers and estuaries, determine what happens to it, and so answer questions about the long-term fate of the organic carbon held in the soil over the next 50 to 100 years. It funded by NERC for 5 years.
  • ACSIS: The North Atlantic Climate System: Integrated Study will improve the UK's capability to detect, explain and predict changes in the North Atlantic Climate System. It funded by NERC for 5 years.

Recent publications

  • Instrument and Data Technician 

    £23,630 per annum 

    Full Time - 3 year Fixed Term Appointment 

    Do you have a background in building/developing scientific instrument systems and providing specialist technical support? Do you want to further your career in one of the UK’s leading marine research laboratories, making crucial steps to understanding how the oceans and marine atmosphere influence air pollution and climate?

    Plymouth Marine Laboratory has a strong track record in world leading Air-Sea Exchange (ASE) research. In recent years, the ASE group has had considerable success establishing a coastal atmospheric research station at Penlee Point ( and developing the capability to make autonomous direct measurements of air/sea CO2 exchange from ships (e.g. We require a Junior Technologist to help us to build upon these successes.

    As a key member of the ASE team your role will be to maintain and improve remote instrumentation at Penlee and on ships fitted with air/sea flux systems. You will drive forward the automation of remote instrumentation and develop novel methods of data acquisition and delivery using embedded PC technologies (e.g. Raspberry PI) and Python scripting. You will be responsible for data processing and quality control and will contribute to scientific interpretation and research outputs. You will be jointly responsible for the day-to-day running of the ASE laboratory and Penlee facility.

    This post is available immediately and for a fixed term of three years. To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact the air/sea exchange group lead (Dr Tom Bell) via 

    For this role we are open to discuss the possibility of reduced hours, flexible working or possible job share.

    Please see the link for our  Employee Benefits

    Closing date: 5pm on Tuesday 10th December 2019

    Interviews will take place on Tuesday 4th February 2020

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Selected key publications


Hopkins, F.E., Turner, S.M., Nightingale, P.D., Steinke, M., Bakker, D., Liss, P.S. 2010. Ocean acidification and marine trace gas production. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107 760-765. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0907163107


Nightingale, P.D., Malin, G., Law, C.S., Watson, A.J., Liss, P.S., Liddicoat, M.I., Boutin, J., Upstill-Goddard. 2000. In-situ evaluation of air- sea gas exchange parameterization using novel conservative and volatile tracers. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 14, 373-387, 2000. doi: 10.1029/1999gb900091


Coale, K.H., Johnson, K.S., Fitzwater, S.E., Gordon, R.M., Tanner, S., Chavez, F.P., Ferioli, L., Sakamoto, C., Rogers, P., Millero, F., Steinberg, P., Nightingale, P., Cooper, D., Cochlan, W.P., Landry, M.R., Constantinou, J., Rollwagen, G., Trasvina, A., Kudela, R. 1996.  A massive phytoplankton bloom induced by an ecosystem-scale iron fertilization experiment in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, Nature, 383, 495-501, doi: 10.1038/383495a0.


J. H. Martin, K. H. Coale, K. S. Johnson, S. E. Fitzwater, R. M. Gordon, S. J. Tanner, C. N. Hunter, V. A. Elrod, J. L. Nowicki, T. L. Coley, R. T. Barber, S. Lindley, A. J. Watson, K. Van Scoy, C. S. Law, M. I. Liddicoat, R. Ling, T. Stanton, J. Stockel, C. Collins, A. Anderson, R. Bidigare, M. Ondrusek, M. Latasa, F. J. Millero, K. Lee, W. Yao, J. Z. Zhang, G. Friederich, C. Sakamoto, F. Chavez, K. Buck, Z. Kolber, R. Greene, P. Falkowski, S. W. Chisholm, F. Hoge, R. Swift, J. Yungel, S. Turner, P. Nightingale, A. Hatton, P. Liss, N. W. Tindale, Martin, J.H. 1994. Testing the iron hypothesis in ecosystems of the equatorial Pacific Ocean, Nature, 371, 123-129, doi: 10.1038/371123a0