Kathryn Burns

Adjunct Principal Research Fellow - Catchment to Reef Processes
PhD, Biological Oceanography from Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program, USA (1975), B.S.,(Cum Laude), Biochemistry, Michigan State University, USA (1970)

Kathyrn’s research interests include the biogeochemistry of lipid-soluble pollutants and biomarkers with particular reference to mechanisms of transport, transfer and transformation of hydrocarbons in the atmosphere and the marine ecosystem, ocean flux studies using organic contaminants as biomarker compounds to compute mass balances and to study transformation processes at the air/sea and sea/sediment interfaces and the use of organic biomarkers in estimating paleo sea surface temperatures.

Google Scholar Publications

Research Interests

  • Biogeochemistry of lipid-soluble pollutants and biomarkers with particular reference to mechanisms of transport, transfer and transformation of hydrocarbons in the atmosphere and the marine ecosystem.
  • Ocean flux studies using organic contaminants as biomarker compounds to compute mass balances and to study transformation processes at the air/sea and sea/sediment interfaces.
  • The use of organic biomarkers in estimating paleo sea surface temperatures.

Recent Research Projects

  • Study of the natural oil seeps in the Timor Sea. Australian Biodiversity Research Study, CSIRO Flagship on Petroleum Seeps, National Facility Research Vessel. Australian Institute of Marine Science
  • Impact of the Montara Oil Spill on offshore shoals and reefs in the Timor Sea. PTTEP Australasia oil company, Australian Institute of Marine Science
  • Impact of the Deep Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico British Petroleum Corporation, Australian Institute of Marine Science
  • Carbon flow in the central Great Barrier Reef including unravelling the mechanism for particulate pollutant transport from coal ports to reefs

Selected Publications:

Books

Bayne, B., Brown, D.A., Burns, K.A., Dixon, D.R.,  Ivanovici, A., Livingston, D.R., Lowe, D.M., Moore, M.N., Stebbing,  A.R.D. and Widdows, J. 1985. The Effects of Stress and Pollution on Marine Animals. Praeger Scientific, N.Y., 384 Pg.

Ehrhardt, M.G. and Burns, K.A. 1999.  “Preparation of lipophilic organic seawater concentrates”, “Adsorption chromatography of organic seawater concentrates” and “Fluorometric determination of dissolved petroleum residues” Three Chapters in Methods of Seawater Analysis 3rd Edition. Ed. By K. Grasshoff, K. Kremling and M. Ehrhardt. VCH Publishers. Weinheim, Germany.

e-books

Burns, K.A. 2015. Science and Sails: (Memoir of first female oceanographer in a changing world).  Published on Amazon.com and Smashwords.com 

Selected Journal Articles

Poulsen, A, Burns, K A, Lough, J, Brinkman, D, Delean, S.  2006. Trace Analysis of Hydrocarbons in Coral Cores from Saudi Arabia.  Organic Geochemistry  37 (12), 1913-1930.

Negri, A, Burns, K, Boyle, S, Brinkman, D, Webster, N. 2006.  Contamination in sediments, bivalves and sponges of McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Environmental Pollution 143, 456-467.

Burns, K A, Brinkman, D, Brunskill, G. 2008. Organic carbon and nutrient fluxes to the coastal zone from the Sepik River outflow. Continental Shelf Research 26(2), 283-301.

Burns, K A, Hernes, P,J, Brinkman, D, Poulsen A, Benner, R. 2008. Dispersion and cycling of organic matter from Sepik River outflow onto the Papua New Guinea coast as determined by biomarkers.  Organic Geochemistry 39(12), 1748-1764.

Wasmund, K, Abell, G., Kurtboke, D I, Burns, K A, Bodrossy, L, Bourne, D G.2009 Microbial Diversity sediments associated with a shallow hydrocarbon seep in the tropical Timor Sea, Australia reveals novel aerobic methanotroph diversity. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 68:142-151.

Guenther, J, Wright, A D, Burns, K A, de Nys, R. 2009. Chemical antifouling defences of sea stars: Effects of the natural products hexadecanoic acid, cholesterol, lathosterol and sitosterol. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 365, 137-149.

Wasmund, K, Burns, K A, Kurtböke, D I, Bourne, D G, 2000. Novel alkane hydroxylase (alkB) gene diversity in sediments associated with hydrocarbon seeps in the Timor Sea, Australia. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 75 (23), 7391-7398.

Burns, K A, Brinkman, D L, Brunskill, G J, Logan, G A, Volk, H, Wasmund, K, Zagorskis, I. 2010. Fluxes and fate of petroleum hydrocarbons in the Timor Sea ecosystem with special reference to active natural hydrocarbon seepage. Marine Chemistry 118 (3-4), 140-155.

Hasbi G, Dunlap W, Whalan S, Burns K, 2010, Tems U, de Nys R. 2010 Coenzyme Q10 redox balance in fish as a method to determine environmental  Contamination in aquatic biotopes. Biology Letters. August 2010 doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2010.0600

Burns, K A, Brinkman, D L. 2011. Organic biomarkers to describe the major carbon inputs and cycling of organic matter in the central Great Barrier Reef region Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 93 (2). 132-141.

Brunskill, G R, Burns, K A, Zagorskis, I, Pfitzner, J, Logan, G. 2010. Natural flux of greenhouse methane from the Timor Sea to the atmosphere. Journal of Geophysical Research 116, G02024, 12 PP., 2011.  doi:10.1029/2010JG001444.

Heyward, A, Jones, R, Burns, K A, Meeuwig, J, Cappo, M,.Meekan, M,  Oliver, J, Wright, R. 2012 Montara: Scientific Monitoring of Shallow Reefs and Submerged Shoals.  16 pg. APPEA Journal (in press).

Burns, K A, Opdyke, B N, Bostock, H, Lea, D, Spero, H, Gagan, M, Fifield, K. 2012. Dual paleotemperature proxies (Mg/Ca, TEX86) reveal changes in the surface structure of the eastern Tropical Indian Ocean during the Late Quaternary. To be submitted to Paleoceanography soon.

Burns, K A, 2014 PAHs in the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon reach potentially toxic levels from coal port activities, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, Volume 144, 39-45. doi: 10.1016/j.ecss.2014.04.001

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