Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Ralph Mead, Professor


  • B.S., Florida State University
  • Ph.D., Florida International University

Professional Activities

2015 to present     Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of North Carolina Wilmington 

2012 to 2015         Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of North Carolina Wilmington 

2007 to 2011         Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Research Area: Marine Organic Geochemistry

Group Research Page

Vita and Publications

My research interests broadly encompass the field of Organic Geochemistry with emphasis on tracing naturally derived organic carbon in the marine environment. Specifically, my research can be broken down into four areas which include:

  • Carbon cycling within river dominated margins and smaller estuarine systems
  • The use of bulk and compound specific stable carbon isotopic analysis to elucidate the source and cycling of organic matter within the marine environment
  • Development of new analytical techniques for organic geochemical analysis
  • Reconstruction of past ecosystem dynamics through combined molecular and isotopic techniques
  • Organic-mineral interactions in the marine environment

Some areas where I have worked on these interests include Everglades National Park, Northern Gulf of Mexico near the Atchafalaya River and the Mackenzie River.

Representative Publications

submitted: Kieber, R. J., Powell, J. P., Foley, L., Mead, R. N., Willey, J. D., and Avery, G. B. Diurnal Variability of Gas Phase and Surface Water Ethanol in Southeastern North Carolina, USA. Atmospheric Environment

Accepted-in press: Skrabal, S.A., Wetterauer*, A.M., Larson*, L.A., Avery, G.B., Kieber, R.J. and Mead, R.N.  Photodissolution of Dissolved Copper from Resuspended Coastal Marine Sediments. Limnology and Oceanography

Mead, R.N., Cala*, J., Felix*, D., Avery, G.B., Kieber, R.J., and Willey, J.D. A Novel Headspace GC/MS Method for the Determination of Nanomolar Concentrations of Ethanol, iso Butanol and n-Butanol in Aqueous Environmental samples in revision Limnology and Oceanography: Methods 

in-revsion for publication: Mead, R.N., Luquire*, C., Southwell, M., Avery G.B., Felix*, J.D., Kieber, R.J., Skrabal, S.A. Photochemical alteration of sedimentary molecular markers during resuspension events in a shallow estuary.  Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science

Published: Kieber, R.J., Hartrey*, L.M., David Felix*, Coleman Corzine*, G. Brooks Avery Jr., Ralph N. Mead,  Stephen A. Skrabal Photorelease of Microcystin – LR from Resuspended Sediments. Harmful Algae 63, 1-6

Avery, G.B., Mickler* W., Mead, R.N., Skrabal S.A., Kieber, R.J., Felix*, D.J. (2017) Photochemical Release of Sediment Bound Brevetoxin (PbTx-2) From Resuspended Sediments. Marine Chemistry 189, 25-31

Roebuck*, J.A., Avery,G.B., Felix*,J.D., Kieber, R.J., Mead, R.N., Skrabal, S.A., (2017) Biogeochemistry of Ethanol and Acetaldehyde in Freshwater Sediments. Aquatic Geochemistry 22, 177-195

Avery, G.B., Carrol*, A., Roebuck*, J. Foley*, L., Guy*, A., Mead, R. N., Kieber, R.J., Willey, . D., Skrabal, S., Felix*, J. D., Mullaugh, K.M., Helms, J. R., (2016).  Surface waters as a sink for atmospheric gas phase ethanol. Chemosphere 144, 360-365

Felix*, J.D., Willey, J.D., Thomas*, R.K., Mullaugh*, K.M., Avery, G.B., Kieber, R.J., Mead, R.N. and Helms*, J.  (2016) Removal of Atmospheric Ethanol by Wet Deposition. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 31, 348-356

Felix*, J.D., Avery, G.B., Mead, R.N., Kieber, R.J., and Willey, J.D. Nitrogen Content and Isotopic Composition of Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides L.): Reactive Nitrogen Variations and Source Implications Across an Urban Air Shed. (2016) Environmental Process 3, 711-722

Willey, JD, Kieber, RJ, Humphreys*, JJ, Rice*, BC; Hopwood*, MJ, Avery, GB, Mead, RN., (2015). The role of fossil fuel combustion on the stability of dissolved iron in rainwater. Atmospheric Environment 107, 187-193.

Felix*, JD, Elliott, EM, Avery, GB, Kieber, RJ, Mead, RN, Willey, JD, Mullaugh*, KM., (2015). Isotopic composition of nitrate in sequential Hurricane Irene precipitation samples: Implications for changing NOx sources. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 14, 10509-10516.

Mullaugh*, K. M., Hamilton*, J. M., Avery, G. B., Felix*, J. D., Mead, R. N., Willey, J. D., Kieber, R. J., (2015). Temporal and spatial variability of trace volatile organic compounds in rainwater. Chemosphere, 134: 203-209

Mead, R.N., Felix*, J.D., Avery, G.B., Kieber, R.J., Willey, J.D., Podgorski, D.C., (2015). Characterization of CHOS compounds in rainwater from continental and coastal storms by ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry.  Atmospheric Environment 105, 162-168

Mead, R.N., Probst*, E.M., Helms*, J.R., Avery, G.B., Kieber, R.J., Skrabal, S.A., (2014). Enhanced Detection of the Algal Toxin, PbTx-2, in Marine Waters by Atmospheric Pressure Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometry.  Rapid Communication in Mass Spectrometry 28, 2455-2460.

Mead, R.N., Barefoot*, S., Helms*, J., Morgan, J. and Kieber, R.J., (2014). Photodegradation of the Antihistamine Cetirizine in Natural Waters. Environmental Toxicological Chemistry 33, 2240-2245.

Representative Grants, Fellowships and Awards

NIEHS Pilot Project Award $5,000

Florida State University Presidential Scholarship

Current courses

  • CHM 211
  • CHM 312
  • CHM 512
  • CHML 312
  • CHML 512