Rick Keil ~ Citizens' Scientist

Rick Keil

Reading the Record in Marine Sediments

Community connections
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Rick's community connections
Dr. Richard (Rick) Keil is a chemical oceanographer whose research focuses on the preservation and degradation of organic compounds. He is Professor of Chemical Oceanography in the Aquatic Organic Geochemistry (AOG) group, School of Oceanography, University of Washington, Seattle.

The University of Washington AOG unit is composed of three labs, of which Rick's lab is one. Broadly defined, the goal of Rick's lab is to understand the factors that control organic matter preservation in marine and freshwater systems, with a focus on mechanisms that control the extent to which bacteria degrade different forms of organic matter.

"If we can understand the past, that will help us to understand and maybe even fix what's gotten broken since then."
Rick's lab studies many types of compounds, with a focus on amino acids, proteins and lignins. The lab also has the capability to investigate other compound types including simple sugars, organic acids, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and alkanes. Rick's lab is currently conducting research in the areas of oxygen exposure time, protein geochemistry, sediment trapping and terrestrial tracers.

As a full professor, Rick teaches both undergraduate and graduate level courses. In addition, he teaches Oceanography 443, also known as the Capstone Course, which is the undergraduate senior oceanography thesis.

Rick's Research
  • Keil Lab, including a guided tour of the equipment used in the lab
  • Funded Research, the areas that the Keil Lab is currently working on
  • Capstone Course, the senior oceanography thesis course, taught by Rick