People > Dr Frances Hopkins

Dr Frances Hopkins

Marine Biogeochemist

Contact Details

+44 (0)1752 633100 (switchboard)


Dr Frances E Hopkins is a marine biogeochemist at PML working on the production and cycling of climatically- and atmospherically-important marine trace gases. After obtaining a First Class degree in marine biology and oceanography from Bangor University, she carried out her PhD research under the supervision of Prof. Peter Liss at the University of East Anglia. Her PhD project investigated the effects of ocean acidification (OA) on a range of key trace gases, including halocarbons and dimethyl sulfide (DMS). Frances joined PML in 2009, enabling her to continue this research through involvement in both the European Project on Ocean Acidification (EPOCA) and the UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme (UKOA).

Her research has involved regular sea-going and land-based expeditions, in locations including Norway, Italy, the eastern Atlantic, Svalbard, the NW European shelf, the Arctic Ocean and the Southern Ocean. Frances has a wide range of experience in analytical techniques for marine trace gas analysis, including gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and flame photometric detection (GC-FPD), proton transfer reaction - mass spectrometry (PTR MS), atmospheric pressure ionization - chemical ionization mass spectrometry (API CIMS).

Her recent and ongoing research includes two NERC funded projects (“Microbial degradation of DMSO in seawater” and “A multidisciplinary study of DMSP production and lysis - from enzymes to organisms to process modelling”), and two PML Research Programme projects, one investigating the role of ozone in the production of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at the sea surface, and the other examining the controls on DMS production by tropical corals.

Frances has been actively involved in the establishment of the Penlee Point Atmospheric Observatory, a project which represents an expansion of the Western Channel Observatory. A range of meteorological and analytical instruments have been installed and continuously monitor a range of important compounds in the marine atmosphere.



Atmospheric Composition and Radiative forcing changes due to UN International Ship Emissions regulations (ACRUISE)

Contact: Dr Ming-Xi Yang

Ship emissions are significant sources of polluting aerosols in coastal regions, causing hundreds of thousands of premature deaths per year...

Bacterial DMS

Is bacterial DMS consumption dependent on methylamines in marine waters?

Contact: Dr Joanna L Dixon

Dimethylsulfide (DMS) is a key ingredient in the cocktail of gases that makes up the 'smell of the sea'. Around 300 million tons of DMS are...

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Other key projects

ACSIS: The North Atlantic Climate System Integrated Study

PML Research Programme: Speciation of volatile organic carbon (VOC) in surface waters and products from reactions with atmospheric ozone.

PML Research Programme: Do coral reef organisms respond to short-term sub-lethal stress events by increasing the production of antioxidant reduced sulphur compounds?

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

    View publication

View more publications

Selected key publications

FE Hopkins, SD Archer (2014) Consistent increase in dimethyl sulphide (DMS) in response to high CO2 in five shipboard bioassays from contrasting NW European shelf waters. Biogeosciences 11, 4925 – 4940, doi: 10.5194/bg-11-4925-2014.

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.

FE Hopkins, SA Kimmance, JA Stephens, C Brussaard, R Bellerby, J Czerny, K Schulz, S Klavsen, S Archer (2013) Response of halocarbons to ocean acidification in the Arctic. Biogeosciences, 10, 2331 – 2345.

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.

Other activities

Chair of PML’s Athena Swan committee

Member of PML’s Environmental Sustainability committee.