Honors & Awards

  • Certificate of Achievement in Mentoring, Stanford School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences (2021)
  • Special Service Award for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Stanford School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences (2021)
  • Centennial TA Award, Stanford School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences (2020)
  • Community Impact Award, Stanford Alumni Association (2020)
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation (2018)
  • Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE) fellow, Stanford University (2017-present)
  • Henry Sharp Prize for Outstanding Senior in Environmental Science, Barnard College of Columbia University (2017)
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Barnard College of Columbia University (2016)

Professional Affiliations and Activities

  • Member, American Geophysical Union (2016 - Present)

Education & Certifications

  • AB, Barnard College of Columbia University, Environmental Science (2017)
  • AB, Barnard College of Columbia University, Dance (2017)

Stanford Advisors

Service, Volunteer and Community Work

  • Co-Chair, Stanford Earth Graduate Student Advisory Council (July 2019 - July 2020)

    Representative to the School of Earth Graduate Advisory Council for the department of Earth System Science.


    Stanford, CA

  • Producer, The Ocean Trilogy Project and Stanford Art-SCI, Stanford University (October 2017 - Present)

    Production of workshops and performances communicating earth science through dance, in partnership with professional dance companies. https://art-sci.weebly.com/


    Palo Alto, California

  • Teacher, Stanford GeoKids, Stanford Geokids (2017 - Present)

    Volunteer teacher at outreach geology education for area 2nd-graders.


    Stanford, CA

  • Teacher, Stanford Splash

    Teacher for biannual program that brings students in grades 8-12 to Stanford's campus for a two days of workshops.


    Stanford, CA

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

Humanity is performing a vast, global-scale experiment with the earth, with significant effects on the oceans. Biogeochemistry is a multifaceted tool kit to provide useful contributions to the collective understanding of these changes. As a PhD student in the Stanford Department of Earth System Science, I study biogeochemical nitrogen cycling, with a focus on nitrous oxide cycling in oxygen minimum zones. My research uses a combination of fieldwork, analytical techniques, and computational methods such as vertical modeling to delve into nitrous oxide cycling in places of disproportionally high production — notably, the oxygen minimum zone in the eastern tropical North Pacific Ocean (ETNP). As oxygen minimum zones expand, I will explore how these changes affect nitrogen cycling, and the production and fluxes of nitrous oxide.

2019-20 Courses

Work Experience

  • Graduate Research Assistant, Stanford University (June 2017 - Present)


    Stanford, CA

  • Summer Student Fellow, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (June 2016 - August 2016)


    Woods Hole, MA

  • Undergraduate Research Fellow, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (9/2014 - 5/2015)


    Palisades, NY

  • Teaching Assistant, Barnard College (1/2014 - 5/2017)


    NYC, NY

All Publications

  • Quantifying Nitrous Oxide Cycling Regimes in the Eastern Tropical North Pacific Ocean With Isotopomer Analysis Global Biogeochemical Cycles Kelly, C. L., Travis, N. M., Baya, P. A., Casciotti, K. L. 2021; 35 (2): e2020GB006637

    View details for DOI 10.1029/2020GB006637

  • Microbial N2O consumption in and above marine N2O production hotspots. The ISME journal Sun, X., Jayakumar, A., Tracey, J. C., Wallace, E., Kelly, C. L., Casciotti, K. L., Ward, B. B. 2020


    The ocean is a net source of N2O, a potent greenhouse gas and ozone-depleting agent. However, the removal of N2O via microbial N2O consumption is poorly constrained and rate measurements have been restricted to anoxic waters. Here we expand N2O consumption measurements from anoxic zones to the sharp oxygen gradient above them, and experimentally determine kinetic parameters in both oxic and anoxic seawater for the first time. We find that the substrate affinity, O2 tolerance, and community composition of N2O-consuming microbes in oxic waters differ from those in the underlying anoxic layers. Kinetic parameters determined here are used to model in situ N2O production and consumption rates. Estimated in situ rates differ from measured rates, confirming the necessity to consider kinetics when predicting N2O cycling. Microbes from the oxic layer consume N2O under anoxic conditions at a much faster rate than microbes from anoxic zones. These experimental results are in keeping with model results which indicate that N2O consumption likely takes place above the oxygen deficient zone (ODZ). Thus, the dynamic layer with steep O2 and N2O gradients right above the ODZ is a previously ignored potential gatekeeper of N2O and should be accounted for in the marine N2O budget.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41396-020-00861-2

    View details for PubMedID 33349653

  • Amperometric sensor for nanomolar nitrous oxide analysis. Analytica chimica acta Damgaard, L. R., Kelly, C. n., Casciotti, K. n., Ward, B. B., Revsbech, N. P. 2020; 1101: 135–40


    Nitrous oxide is an important greenhouse gas and there is a need for sensitive techniques to study its distribution in the environment at concentrations near equilibrium with the atmosphere (9.6 nM in water at 20 °C). Here we present an electrochemical sensor that can quantify N2O in the nanomolar range. The sensor principle relies on a front guard cathode placed in front of the measuring cathode. This cathode is used to periodically block the flux of N2O towards the measuring cathode, thereby creating an amplitude in the signal. This signal amplitude is unaffected by drift in the baseline current and can be read at very high resolution, resulting in a sensitivity of 2 nM N2O for newly constructed sensors. Interference from oxygen is prevented by placing the front guard cathode in oxygen-consuming electrolyte. The sensor was field tested by measuring an N2O profile to a depth of 120 m in the oxygen minimum zone of the Eastern Tropical North Pacific Ocean (ETNP) off the coast of Mexico.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.aca.2019.12.019

    View details for PubMedID 32029104

  • Quantitative drinking water arsenic concentrations in field environments using mobile phone photometry of field kits SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT Haque, E., Mailloux, B. J., de Wolff, D., Gilioli, S., Kelly, C., Ahmed, E., Small, C., Ahmed, K., van Geen, A., Bostick, B. C. 2018; 618: 579–85


    Arsenic (As) groundwater contamination is common yet spatially heterogeneous within most environments. It is therefore necessary to measure As concentrations to determine whether a water source is safe to drink. Measurement of As in the field involves using a test strip that changes color in the presence of As. These tests are relatively inexpensive, but results are subjective and provide binned categorical data rather than exact determinations of As concentration. The goal of this work was to determine if photos of field kit test strips taken on mobile phone cameras could be used to extract more precise, continuous As concentrations. As concentrations for 376 wells sampled from Araihazar, Bangladesh were analyzed using ICP-MS, field kit and the new mobile phone photo method. Results from the field and lab indicate that normalized RGB color data extracted from images were able to accurately predict As concentrations as measured by ICP-MS, achieving detection limits of 9.2μg/L, and 21.9μg/L for the lab and field respectively. Data analysis is most consistent in the laboratory, but can successfully be carried out offline following image analysis, or on the mobile phone using basic image analysis software. The accuracy of the field method was limited by variability in image saturation, and variation in the illumination spectrum (lighting) and camera response. This work indicates that mobile phone cameras can be used as an analytical tool for quantitative measures of As and could change how water samples are analyzed in the field more widely, and that modest improvements in the consistency of photographic image collection and processing could yield measurements that are both accurate and precise.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.12.123

    View details for Web of Science ID 000424130500059

    View details for PubMedID 29102200

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5773362

  • Dancing up the glass escalator: Institutional advantages for men in ballet choreography Columbia Undergraduate Research Journal Kelly, C. L. 2017; 1 (2)

    View details for DOI 10.7916/D8R78MJX