Fox, Austin


Ocean Engineering and Sciences

Personal Overview

Dr. Fox, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ocean Engineering and Sciences. He attended Arizona State University and received a degree in Bio- and medicinal- chemistry. Dr. Fox obtained his Ph.D. from Florida Institute of Technology in 2015 with a dissertation titled: "Mercury in the Northeastern Chukchi Sea: Distribution Patterns in Seawater and Sediments and Biomagnification in Pelagic and Benthic Food Webs.” His major advisor was Dr. John Trefry, professor of Chemical Oceanography.
Dr. Fox’s Research activities focus on the concentrations and cycling of trace metals and nutrients in the oceans, estuaries and rivers. These studies are carried out in a variety of geographical settings focused in the Alaskan Arctic and Indian River Lagoon, Florida. Trace metals are studied at Florida Tech for their value as tracers of natural and anthropogenic processes and as potential pollutants. Dr. Fox’s research of mercury has identified regional differences in mercury concentrations in predatory biota, due to processes at the base of the food web. These studies have provided insight into how concentrations of mercury may vary as arctic ecosystems continue to change. Predicting trends for mercury in sustenance species is important to human health and determining risk factors for heavy metal poisoning.
Nutrients are studied at Florida Tech to investigate eutrophication, one of the leading environmental issues in coastal oceans around the globe. Excess nutrients contribute to algal blooms and reduced water quality that can lead to losses of seagrass, reduced biodiversity, hypoxia and fish kills. Dr. Fox’s research investigates the sources, sinks, cycling and speciation of nutrients in coastal estuaries. Research conducted at Florida Tech has identified fine-grained, organic-rich sediments, locally known as “muck” as a major source of nutrients to the Indian River Lagoon, Florida, contributing > 40% of the total nutrient loads to this system. These data have contributed to rethinking the relative importance of different sources of nutrients to this system and inspired changes in lagoon management. Dr. Fox is also studying inputs of nutrients and “muck” components through creeks and rivers and the efficacy of “muck” remediation efforts including dredging and aeration.
Dr. Fox’s work has been presented in peer reviewed journals and at regional and national scientific meetings. Citations below:
PUBLICATIONS AND PRESENTATIONS (1ST AUTHOR / PRESENTER)

Fox, A.L., Hughes, E.A., Trocine, R.P., Trefry, J.H., Schonberg, S.V., McTigue, N.D., Lasorsa, B.K., Cooper, L.W. Mercury in the Northeastern Chukchi Sea: Distribution Patterns in Seawater and Sediments and Biomagnification in the Benthic Food Web. Deep Sea Research Part II. 102: 56-67. 2014.
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Fox, A.L., Trefry, J.H., Trocine, R.P., Dunton, K.H., Lasorsa, B.K., Konar, B. Ashjian, C.J., Cooper, L.W. Mercury Biomagnification in Food Webs of the Northeastern Chukchi Sea, Alaskan Arctic. Deep Sea Research Part II. In-press.
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Fox, A.L., Hughes, E.A., Trocine, R.P., Trefry, J.H., McTigue, N.D., Dunton, K.H., Lasorsa, B.K. Heavy Metals in the Benthic Food Chain of the Eastern Chukchi Sea. Technical presentation at the Coastal and Estuaries Research Federation (CERF) annual meeting, Daytona Beach, Florida. November 2011.
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Fox, A.L., Hughes, E.A., Trocine, R.P., Trefry, J.H., McTigue, N.D., Lasorsa, B.K., Konar, B. Biomagnification of Mercury and Arsenic in the Eastern Chukchi Sea. Poster session conducted at the 2012 Ocean Sciences Meeting, Salt Lake City, Utah. February 2012.
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Fox, A.L., Trefry, J.H, Trocine, R.P., Dunton K.H., Schonberg, S., McTigue, N.D., Konar, B., Lasorsa, B., Ashjian, C., Cooper, L. Patterns of Mercury Biomagnification at Lower Trophic Levels in The Northeastern Chukchi Sea. Poster session at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium (AMSS), Anchorage, Alaska. January 2014.
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Fox, A.L., Trefry, J.H., Trocine, R.P., Yan, Y., Fox, S.L. Fine-Grained, Organic-Rich Sediments (a.k.a. Muck): A Major Source of Dissolved Nitrogen and Phosphorus to the Northern Indian River Lagoon.
Technical presentation at the Indian River Lagoon Symposium, Fort Pierce, Florida. February 2015.
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Fox, A.L., Trefry, J.H., Trocine, R.P., Fox, S.L. Identifying Controls on Fluxes of Dissolved Nitrogen from Sediments in the Northern Indian River Lagoon. Technical presentation at the Indian River Lagoon Symposium 2016. Fort Pierce, Florida. February 2016.
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Fox, A.L., Trefry, J.H., Trocine, R.P., Fox, S.L., Yan, Y. Physical, Chemical and Biological Controls of Nutrient Fluxes from Fine-Grained, Organic-Rich Sediments in the Indian River Lagoon, Florida. Technical presentation at the 2016 Ocean Sciences Meeting. New Orleans, Louisiana. February 2016.
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Fox. A.L., Trefry, J.H., Trocine, R.P., Fox, S.L. Applying Differences in Biogeochemically-Controlled Fluxes of Nitrogen and Phosphorus from Indian River Lagoon Sediments to Management Decisions about Dredging. Technical presentation at the American Water Resources Association (AWRA) annual conference. Orlando, Florida. November 2016.
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PUBLICATIONS AND PRESENTATIONS (CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR)

Trefry, J.H., Trocine, R.P., Fox, A.L., Cooper, L.W. Present-Day Distribution Patterns and Sources of Metals in Sediments and Seawater from the Eastern Chukchi Sea. Technical presentation conducted at the 2012 Ocean Sciences Meeting, Salt Lake City, Utah. February 2012.
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Trefry, J.H., Trocine, R.P., Fox, A.L. Spatial and Temporal Patterns for Trace Metals in the Sediment, Seawater and Biota of Hanna Shoal and Adjacent Areas of the Northeastern Chukchi Sea. Poster session at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium (AMSS), Anchorage, Alaska. January 2013.
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Trefry, J.H., Trocine, R.P., Fox, A.L., Fox, S.L., Durell, G., Kasper, J. Discriminating Between Natural and Anthropogenic Features of the Sedimentary Record in the Coastal Beaufort Sea. Technical presentation at the 2016 Ocean Sciences Meeting. New Orleans, Louisiana. February 2016.
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Kasper, J., Trefry, J.H., Fox, A.L., Savoie, M., Fox, S.L., Lawley, G., Trocine, R.P., Shipton, P. The 2015 Spring Freshet and its Effects on the Alaskan Beaufort Sea. Poster session at the 2016 Ocean Sciences Meeting. New Orleans, Louisiana. February 2016.
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Trefry, J.H., Fox, A.L., Trocine, R.P., Fox, S.L., Voelker, J.E., Beckett, K.M. Environmental Muck Dredging in Turkey Creek. Technical presentation at the Technical Conference on Coastal Water Quality (TechCon). Melbourne, Florida. September 2016.
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Beckett, K.M., Trefry, J.H., Trocine, R.P., Fox, A.L., Fox, S.L., Voelker, J.E. Classifying 'Muck' in the Indian River Lagoon, Florida, Based on Biological, Chemical and Physical Characteristics. Poster session conducted at the American Water Resources Association (AWRA) annual conference. Orlando, Florida. November 2016.
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Voelker, J.E., Fox, A.L., Fox, S.L., Beckett, K.M., Trocine, R.P., Trefry, J.H. Chemical Forms of Nitrogen in Varied Florida Watersheds. Poster session conducted at the American Water Resources Association (AWRA) annual conference. Orlando, Florida. November 2016.

The Chemical Oceanography lab at Florida Tech is a state of the art scientific laboratory. Dr. Fox is skilled in: UV/Vis spectroscopy (Hach DR2800, Spectronic 20 Genesys), Fluorescence spectroscopy (Turner Designs model 10-AU), Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass spectroscopy (ICPMS; Varian model 800), Flame atomic absorption spectroscopy (Perkin Elmer model 4000, model 800), Graphite furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy (Perkin Elmer model 800), Cold vapor atomic absorbance spectroscopy (Laboratory Data Control model 1235), Nutrient auto analyzer (Seal AA3), CNS analyzer (Leco Trumac), numerous wet chemistry techniques, method development and refinement.
Dr. Fox is also an accomplished SCUBA diver and holds certifications with PADI and the American Association of Underwater Sciences (AAUS). He has training in boating safety and offshore and cold-water survival, first-aid and CPR. The various certifications allow Dr. Fox to perform research using SCUBA and to operate vessels and equipment necessary for his research activities. Dr. Fox has participated in five offshore research cruises in the Alaskan Arctic aboard the research vessels: R/V Moana Wave, USCGC Healy and the R/V Norseman II. In addition to offshore activities, Dr. Fox frequently utilizes boats to conduct research in a coastal estuary, the Indian River Lagoon, Florida.
Dr. Fox is currently teaching: Marine/Enviro Chemistry (OCN 3201), Marine/Enviro Chem Labs (OCN 3211), Marine & Environ Pollution (OCN 4204), and Marine Pollution (OCN 5204).