People > Dr Joanna L Dixon

Dr Joanna L Dixon

Marine Biogeochemist

Contact Details

+44 (0)1752 633100 (switchboard)


Dr Joanna Dixon is a Senior Biogeochemist at PML. Her research is based around the microbial cycling of organic compounds; specifically DMSO and oxygenated volatile organic compounds like methanol, acetaldehyde and acetone in marine waters as part of the PML science area ‘Cycling in the Sunlit Ocean’. She has previously worked on nutrient and trace metal limitation of microbial carbon transformations from estuaries to remote ocean environments (Oceans 2025, FeeP, NERC M&FMB programme, LOIS) and aspects of carbon flow in deep-ocean bacteria (NERC BENBO programme).

Jo has a BSc (First) in Marine Chemistry from the School of Ocean Sciences, University College of North Wales (Bangor) and a PhD from the School of Environmental Science at the University of Plymouth and has worked at PML since 1998. She has published 15 ISI listed papers and a further 4 non-ISI listed but peer-reviewed papers. She has extensive experience in the analysis of carbon transformations using radio-tracers and has participated in over 15 field experiments, from the North Sea to the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. More recently she has focused her investigations within time series programmes; namely the Western Channel Observatory and Atlantic Meridional Transect. She has collaborated closely with colleagues from several universities in the UK, particularly UEA, Warwick, Plymouth and Sheffield.

Jo regularly reviews manuscripts for a range of high impact journals, is a current member of the NERC Peer Review College, and has been invited to sit on the marine moderating grant panel. She is currently supervising 2 PhD students.


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...

Microbial degradation of Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) in the sunlit ocean
Microbial degradation of Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) in the sunlit ocean

Contact: Dr Joanna L Dixon

Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) is an organic sulphur compound found everywhere in our oceans, and is produced by a number of natural biological and...

Other key projects

Atlantic Meridional Transect (AMT)

Western Channel Observatory (WCO)

Oceans 2025



Selected key publications

Dixon JL, Beale R, Nightingale PD (in press). Production of methanol, acetaldehyde and acetone in the Atlantic Ocean. Geophysical Research Letters.

Beale R, Dixon JL, Arnold SR, Liss PS, Nightingale PD (in press) Methanol, acetaldehyde and acetone in the surface waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research Oceans. DOI 10.1002/jgrc.20322

Dixon JL, Sargeant S, Nightingale PD, Murrell JC (2012). Gradients in microbial methanol uptake: from productive coastal upwelling waters to oligotrophic oceanic gyres in the Atlantic Ocean. The International Society for Microbial Ecology journal doi:10.1038/ismej.2012.130.

Dixon JL, Nightingale PD (2012). Fine-scale variability in methanol uptake and oxidation: from the microlayer to 1000 m. Biogeosciences, 9, 2961–2972, 2012, doi:10.5194/bg-9-2961-2012.

Beale R, Liss PS, Dixon JL, Nightingale PD (2011) Quantification of oxygenated volatile organic compounds in seawater by membrane inlet-proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry. Analytica Chimica Acta, 706, 128-134 doi:10.1016/j.aca.2011.08.023

Dixon JL, Beale R, Nightingale PD (2011). Rapid biological oxidation of methanol in the tropical Atlantic: significance as a microbial carbon source. Biogeosciences, 8, 2707-2716 doi:10.5194/bg-8-2707-2011.

Dixon JL, Beale R, Nightingale PD (2011). Microbial methanol uptake in northeast Atlantic waters. The International Society for Microbial Ecology journal, 5, 704-716 doi:10.1038/ismej.2010.169.

Rees AP, Hope SB, Widdicombe CE, Dixon JL, Woodward EMSW, Fitzsimons MF (2009). Alkaline phosphatase activity in the western English Channel: Elevations induced by high summertime rainfall. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 81, 569-574.

Dixon JL (2008). Macro and micro co-limitation of microbial productivity in nutrient deplete subtropical Atlantic waters. Environmental Chemistry, 5, 135-142. spring diatom bloom in the Northeast Atlantic. Journal of Plankton Research, 30, 261-273.

Dixon JL, Statham PJ, Widdicombe CE, Jones RM, Barquero-Molina S, Dickie B, Nimmo M, Turley CM (2006). Cadmium uptake by marine micro-organisms in the English Channel and Celtic Sea.  Aquatic Microbial Ecology, 44, 31-43.

Turley CM, Dixon JL (2002).  Bacterial numbers and growth in surficial deep-sea sediments and phytodetritus in the NE Atlantic: Relationships between particulate organic carbon and total.  Deep Sea Research I, 49, 815-826.

Dixon JL, Turley CM (2001). Measuring bacterial production in deep-sea sediments using 3H-thymidine incorporation: Ecological significance.  Microbial Ecology, 42, 549-561

Dixon JL, Turley CM (2000). The effect of water depth on bacterial numbers, thymidine incorporation rates, and C:N ratios in northeast Atlantic surficial sediments.  Hydrobiologia, 440, 217-225.

Other activities

NERC Peer Review College