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Emilio Mayorga

Senior Oceanographer






B.S. Environmental Engineering Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1992

Ph.D. Chemical Oceanography, University of Washington, 2004


GeoHackWeek: Workshop on Geospatial Data Science

APL-UW researchers teamed with University and industry partners to explore open source geospatial software development during a workshop held 14–18 November.

14 Nov 2016

BiGCZ: Cyberinfrastructure for Bio and Geoscience processes in the Critical Zone

The goal of this project is to co-develop with the "Critical Zone" science community a high-performance web-based integration and visualization environment for joint analysis of cross-scale Bio and Geoscience processes in the Critical Zone (BiGCZ), spanning experimental and observational designs.

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1 Dec 2013

The Critical Zone (CZ) is Earth's permeable near-surface layer -- from the atmosphere at the vegetation's canopy to the lower boundary of actively circulating groundwaters. The BiGCZ system will be an open-source software system leveraging the ODM2 information model and specifically designed to address the challenges of managing, sharing, analyzing and integrating diverse data from the multiple disciplines encompassing CZ science.

ODM2: Observations Data Model 2

ODM2 is a community information model aimed at extending interoperability of feature-based earth observations derived from sensors and samples and improve the capture, sharing, and archival of these data. ODM2 has been designed from a general perspective, with extensibility for achieving interoperability across multiple disciplines and systems that support publication of earth observations.

1 Aug 2012

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2000-present and while at APL-UW

Continental-scale patterns of extracellular enzyme activity in the subsoil: An overlooked reservoir of microbial activity

Dove, N.C., and 17 others including E. Mayorga, "Continental-scale patterns of extracellular enzyme activity in the subsoil: An overlooked reservoir of microbial activity," Environ. Res. Lett., 15, 104A1, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/abb0b3, 2020.

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9 Oct 2020

Chemical stabilization of microbial-derived products such as extracellular enzymes (EE) onto mineral surfaces has gained attention as a possibly important mechanism leading to the persistence of soil organic carbon (SOC). While the controls on EE activities and their stabilization in the surface soil are reasonably well-understood, how these activities change with soil depth and possibly diverge from those at the soil surface due to distinct physical, chemical, and biotic conditions remains unclear. We assessed EE activity to a depth of 1 m (10 cm increments) in 19 soil profiles across the Critical Zone Observatory Network, which represents a wide range of climates, soil orders, and vegetation types. For all EEs, activities per mass of soil correlated positively with microbial biomass (MB) and SOC, and all three of these variables decreased logarithmically with depth (p < 0.05). Across all sites, over half of the potential EE activities per mass soil consistently occurred below 20 cm for all measured EEs. Activities per unit MB or SOC were substantially higher at depth (soils below 20 cm accounted for 80% of whole-profile EE activity), suggesting an accumulation of stabilized (i.e. mineral sorbed) EEs in subsoil horizons. The pronounced enzyme stabilization in subsurface horizons was corroborated by mixed-effects models that showed a significant, positive relationship between clay concentration and MB-normalized EE activities in the subsoil. Furthermore, the negative relationships between soil C, N, and P and C-, N-, and P-acquiring EEs found in the surface soil decoupled below 20 cm, which could have also been caused by EE stabilization. This finding suggests that EEs may not reflect soil nutrient availabilities deeper in the soil profile. Taken together, our results suggest that deeper soil horizons hold a significant reservoir of EEs, and that the controls of subsoil EEs differ from their surface soil counterparts.

Better regional ocean observing through cross-national cooperation: A case study from the Northeast Pacific

Barth, J.A., and 30 others including E. Mayorga and J. Newton, "Better regional ocean observing through cross-national cooperation: A case study from the Northeast Pacific," Front. Mar. Sci., 6, doi:10.3389/fmars.2019.00093, 2019.

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28 Mar 2019

The ocean knows no political borders. Ocean processes like summertime, wind-driven upwelling stretch thousands of kilometers along the Northeast Pacific (NEP) coast. This upwelling drives marine ecosystem productivity and is modulated by weather systems and seasonal to interdecadal ocean-atmosphere variability. Major ocean currents in the NEP transport water properties like heat, fresh water, nutrients, dissolved oxygen, pCO2 and pH close to shore. The eastward North Pacific Current bifurcates offshore in the NEP, delivering open-ocean signals south into the California Current and north into the Gulf of Alaska. There are a large and growing number of NEP ocean observing elements operated by government agencies, Native American Tribes, First Nations groups, not-for-profit organizations, and private entities. Observing elements include moored and mobile platforms, shipboard repeat cruises, and land-based and estuarine stations. A wide range of multidisciplinary ocean sensors are deployed to track, for example, upwelling, downwelling, ocean productivity, harmful algal blooms, ocean acidification and hypoxia, seismic activity and tsunami wave propagation. Data delivery to shore and observatory control are done through satellite and cell phone communication, and via seafloor cables. Remote sensing from satellites and land-based coastal radar provide broader spatial coverage. Numerical circulation and biogeochemical modeling complement ocean observing efforts. Models span from the deep ocean into the inland Salish Sea and estuaries. NEP ocean observing systems are used to understand regional processes and, together with numerical models, to provide ocean forecasts. By sharing data, experiences and lessons learned, the regional ocean observatory is better than the sum of its parts.

Spatially explicit fate factors of waterborne nitrogen emissions at the global scale

Cosme, N., E. Mayorga, and M.Z. Hauschild, "Spatially explicit fate factors of waterborne nitrogen emissions at the global scale," Int. J. Life Cycle Assess., 23, 1286-1296, doi:10.1007/s11367-017-1349-0, 2017.

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1 Jun 2018


Marine eutrophication impacts due to waterborne nitrogen (N) emissions may vary significantly with their type and location. The environmental fate of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) forms is essential to understand the impacts they may trigger in receiving coastal waters. Current life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) methods apply fate factors (FFs) with limited specificity of DIN emission routes, and often lack spatial differentiation and global applicability. This paper describes a newly developed method to estimate spatially explicit FFs for marine eutrophication at a global scale and river basin resolution.


The FF modelling work includes DIN removal processes in both inland (soil and river) and marine compartments. Model input parameters are the removal coefficients extracted from the Global NEWS 2-DIN model and residence time of receiving coastal waters. The resulting FFs express the persistence of the fraction of the original DIN emission in the receiving coastal large marine ecosystems (LMEs). The method further discriminates three DIN emission routes, i.e., diffuse emission from soils, and direct point emissions to freshwater or marine water. Based on modelling of individual river basins, regionally aggregated FFs are calculated as emission-weighted averages.

Results and discussion

Among 5772 river basins of the world, the calculated FFs show 5 orders of magnitude variation for the soil-related emission route, 3 for the river-related, and 2 for emissions to marine water. Spatial aggregation of the FFs at the continental level decreases this variation to 1 order of magnitude or less for all routes. Coastal water residence time was found to show inconsistency and scarcity of literature sources. Improvement of data quality for this parameter is suggested.


With the proposed method and factors, spatial information of DIN emissions can be used to improve the environmental relevance and the discriminatory power of the assessment of marine eutrophication impacts in a geographically differentiated characterization model at a global scale.

More Publications

Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center