Neeraja Baburaj

Neeraja Baburaj


Following my graduation in Chemistry, I pursued my master’s in Hydrochemistry from the Department of Chemical Oceanography at Cochin University of Science and Technology. My interests lie primarily in Marine Biogeochemistry and trace metal geochemistry. My Postgraduate thesis investigated the role of atmospheric input of nutrients in modifying marine Phytoplankton diversity and Primary productivity in the northern Indian Ocean. After completing my master’s degree, I worked as a project associate at the CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography.

My love for ocean science and interest in exploring the chemistry of the Ocean budded during my master’s programme. My master’s thesis study period sparked my research interest, and I obtained some interesting results, that were published in a journal ( During my time as a project associate, I had the opportunity to learn about different aspects of marine chemistry. As an aspiring chemical oceanographer, this was a fantastic opportunity, and I spent nearly a year conducting research in trace metal and sediment geochemistry. I worked on sediment and water column geochemistry, trying to understand the distribution and dynamics of inorganic contaminants including heavy metals in sediment-water interfaces, as well as their seasonal variations along India’s west coast.

PhD title: The fate of cadmium and its isotopes during continental weathering and sediment burial.

The burial of organic matter in the ocean is a major component of the global carbon cycle, which impacts on global climate. Recent work has indicated that the isotopic composition of the trace element cadmium may be capable of recording variations in marine organic matter burial in the past. However, for these signals to be accurately interpreted we must first understand how continental weathering processes control the composition of cadmium entering the oceans. This is a major challenge and requires the study of rivers and hydrothermal fluids draining a range of host lithologies from around the globe.

This project aims to quantify  the isotopic composition of Cd as it is weathered from continental rocks, and changes to the isotopic composition of Cd as it is buried into sediments and undergoes microbial diagenesis. Both aspects are critical and under constrained components of the global Cd cycle, which are needed to successfully model how the Cd cycle can be perturbed over geological time. Since the isotopic mass balance of Cd is thought to be controlled by organic carbon burial, this is an exciting project to help quantify ancient organic carbon burial fluxes in response to episodes of global environmental change.

Awards and prizes

3rd Rank in University for Msc Hydrochemistry 2019-2021.

Aspire scholarship for Masters dissertation 2020-2021.

Other information

Worked as School teacher (Chemistry) for one year in a local school.

Volunteered clean seas campaign 2019 organised by the UN environment programme in coordination with NCCR, India.