My primary research interest is directed towards understanding the ocean’s role in the climate system and its response to the changing climate from a chemical point of view. My PhD and previous post-doc work has focussed on understanding the marine geochemistry of U-series radioisotopes, and their uses as chemical tracers of fundamental ocean processes that serve as driving forces of climate change, such as dynamics of deep ocean circulation, variations in the marine particle flux, and dust input to the ocean. This work is part of international GEOTRACES program, and has resulted in three published datasets of dissolved 231Pa, 230Th and 232Th in the water column in the Atlantic Ocean, as included in the GEOTRACES intermediate data product.
At Helmholtz Centre for Materials and Coastal Research (HZG), I will be shifting my research from open ocean to coastal sea and river systems. The goal is to establish isotope fingerprinting tools to investigating the coastal sea and river systems under the stress of human activities and climate change. My current and past projects include:
- Establishing Sr-Nd-Pb isotope systems as a fingerprinting tool to investigate human-activity-induced impact on river and coastal environment. (HZG, 2019)
- Developing ion exchange chromatography to purify industrial samples with high Total Dissolved Solid (TDS) for the ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry) measurement of Sr, B, and Li isotopes. (Shell-funded project, 2017)
- Understanding the behaviour of 232Th, 230Th and 234Th in the estuarine system to constrain the use of 232Th as a tool to quantify the input of dust and its supply of Fe to the ocean. (Xiamen University-Pearl River Cruise 2017)
- Testing the hypothesis of 231Pa / 230Th as a paleo-proxy for the rate of deep ocean circulation in the high latitude North Atlantic where North Atlantic Deep Water is formed. (France-GEOTRACES GA01, 2014)
- Closing the Atlantic budget of 231Pa and 230Th at 40°S. (UK-GEOTRACES section GA10, 2011)
- Assessing the use of water-column 232Th-230Th as a tool to quantify dust input, and its importance as a supply of Fe to the open ocean with coupled water and aerosol measurements in the tropical. (UK-GEOTRACES section GA06, 2011)
- Investigating the use of 230Th in the surface sediment as measurement of sediment dissolution at seafloor in the Cape Basin. (UK-GEOTRACES section GA10, 2010)
- Assessing the reliability of using 231Pa / 230Th as a paleo-proxy for the rate of deep ocean circulation in the Southwest Atlantic Ocean. (Netherlands-GEOTRACES section GA02, 2011)
My research approach is primarily through geochemical analysis of radio-nuclides and trace metals in various environmental materials, including sea/river water, marine particulates, and sediments. This includes the employment of ion exchange chromatography, isotope dilution, and MC-ICP-MS (Multi-collector Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometre).
Chemical oceanography, isotope geochemistry, climate and paleo-environment
Education and employment
- 2019 - Post-doctoral research scientist, Helmholtz Centre for Materials and Coastal Research, Germany
- 2018 - 2019 Post-doctoral researcher, Guangzhou University, China
- 2014 - 2017 Post-doctoral research assistant, University of Oxford, UK
- 2010 - 2014 PhD, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, UK
- 2006 - 2010 Bachelor of Science in Marine Chemistry, Ocean University of China, Qingdao, China
UNIQ Summer School on climate change and deep ocean circulation (UK year 11 students)
Journal reviews: Deep Sea Research, Geophysical Research Letters
- Deng, F., Henderson, G.M., Castrillejo, M., Perez, F., & Steinfeldt, R. (2018): Evolution of 231Pa and 230Th in overflow waters of the North Atlantic. Biogeosciences, 15, 7299–7313, doi:10.5194/bg-15-7299-2018
- Deng, F., Thomas, A.L., Rijkenberg, M.J.A., & Henderson, G.M. (2014): Controls on seawater 231Pa, 230Th and 232Th concentrations along the flow paths of deep waters in the Southwest Atlantic. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 390, 93-102, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2013.12.038
- Hernández-Sánchez, M., LaRowe, D., Deng, F., Homoky, W., Browning, T., Martin, P., Mills, R., & Pancost, R. (2014): Further insights into how sediment redox status controls the preservation and composition of sedimentary biomarkers. Organic Geochemistry 76, 220-234, doi:10.1016/j.orggeochem.2014.08.006
- Henderson, G., Deng, F., Scott, P., & Thomas, A.L. (2014): Controls on 232Th, 230Th, and 231Pa in the South Atlantic: Assessing paleo-circulation and dust-flux proxies. Ocean Sciences Meeting 2014, Honolulu, Hawaii.
- Deng, F., Henderson, G., Thomas, A., Homoky, W., & Mills, R. (2013): Assessing the dissolution of marine sediment with 230Th, and the impact of dissolution on sedimentary 231Pa / 230Th. Mineralogical Magazine, 77(5) 973. Goldschmidt 2013 Conference, Florence, Italy.
- Deng, F., Thomas, A., Henderson, G., & Rijkenberg, M. (2012): Controls on seawater 231Pa, 230Th and 232Th concentrations along the flow paths of major deep-water masses in the Southwest Atlantic. Mineralogical Magazine, 76(6) 1643. Goldschmidt 2012 Conference, Montreal, Canada.
- Henderson, G., Hsieh, Y-T., Bourne, M., Geibert, W., Deng, F., & Thomas, A. (2012): Keynote: Uranium series rate meters for ocean processes. Mineralogical Magazine, 76(6) 1834. Goldschmidt 2012 Conference, Montreal, Canada.