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My research focusses on biogeochemistry, or how nutrients such as carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and iron are moved through, and interact with the environment. This is a highly inderisciplanary field of research, with aspects of environmental science, chemistry, biology, engineering and computational modelling. In particular, I have three major interests:

1. Fermentation in coastal sands

We have recently discovered that when oxygen is not available, microbial communities in coastal sands tend to use fermentation as their major metabolism. Here we are investigation the implications of this effect, such as reducing the ability of coral reefs to withstand ocean acidifcation.

2. The balance between nitrogen removal and nitrogen recycling

In this project we are investigating what chemical, biological and physical factors control the fate of nitrogen, especially in estuaries. 

3. Response of irrigating fauna to hypoxia

Both the behaviour of burrowing animals (e.g. worms) and the chemical reactions that happen in sediments are to a large part controlled by oxygen availability, and burrowing in itself affects the transport of oxygen into the sediment. This project is investigating the interplay between these factors.



I am currently teaching in the following units in the School of Earth, Atmosphere & Environment.

  • EAE3342 Environmental cycles on our living planet
  • EAE2322 Environmental earth sciences


Research area keywords

  • Biogeochemistry
  • Environmental Geochemistry
  • Water Quality
  • Nitrogen Cycling
  • Estuaries
  • Sandy sediments

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2012 2019

7 Citations (Scopus)

Bacterial fermentation and respiration processes are uncoupled in anoxic permeable sediments

Kessler, A. J., Chen, Y-J., Waite, D. W., Hutchinson, T. F., Koh, S., Popa, M. E., Beardall, J., Hugenholtz, P., Cook, P. & Greening, C. A., 11 Mar 2019, In : Nature Microbiology. 4, 6, p. 1014–1023 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
5 Citations (Scopus)

Role of organic carbon, nitrate and ferrous iron on the partitioning between denitrification and DNRA in constructed stormwater urban wetlands

Rahman, M. M., Roberts, K. L., Grace, M. R., Kessler, A. J. & Cook, P. L. M., 20 May 2019, In : Science of the Total Environment. 666, p. 608-617 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Biogeochemical controls on the relative importance of denitrification and dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium in estuaries

Kessler, A. J., Roberts, K. L., Bissett, A. & Cook, P. L. M., 1 Jul 2018, In : Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 32, 7, p. 1045-1057 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Does denitrification occur within porous carbonate sand grains?

Cook, P. L. M., Kessler, A. J. & Eyre, B. D., 19 Sep 2017, In : Biogeosciences. 14, 18, p. 4061-4069 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
10 Citations (Scopus)

Hyporheic hot moments: Dissolved oxygen dynamics in the hyporheic zone in response to surface flow perturbations

Kaufman, M. H., Cardenas, M. B., Buttles, J., Kessler, A. J. & Cook, P. L. M., 1 Aug 2017, In : Water Resources Research. 53, 8, p. 6642-6662 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Interdisciplinary Seed Fund 2018, Faculty of Engineering-IT-Science, Monash University

Tanveer Adyel (Recipient), Adam John Kessler (Recipient) & Zahraa Said Emam Ammar Abdallah (Recipient), 2018

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)