Leah May Ver


EOS-South 163
(604) 822-3087

My research focus is on gaining a better understanding of the behaviour of the global oceans (including the coastal oceans) under perturbation from environmental and climate change, particularly that of its biogeochemical processes, its role in regulating climate change, and the resulting feedback mechanisms, via the study of the coupled biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, and other micronutrients.
Further, my goal is to understand the human dimensions of environmental change, specifically in the coastal margin where the land and oceans interact, in collaboration with research scientists in fields of earth and ocean science, soil science, economics, terrestrial ecology, climate science, and sociology.
Some major results from my previous research include: (1) quantification of how the human-induced N and P fertilization of terrestrial ecosystems ("greening of the Earth") translate into effects downstream on the productivity and burial of organic carbon in the coastal zone, leading to a sink of anthropogenic CO2 [Mackenzie et al., 1998a; Mackenzie et al., 1995; Mackenzie et al., 1998b; Mackenzie et al., 1993; Ver et al., 1994b]; (2) reconstruction of the history of atmospheric CO2 growth and the fate of anthropogenic CO2 during the past 300 years demonstrating that there is no "missing CO2" [Mackenzie et al., 1998b; Ver et al., 1999]; (3) first global assessment of the quantitative role of the coastal zone as a source or sink of atmospheric CO2 during the past 300 years [Mackenzie et al., 1998a; Mackenzie et al., 1998b; Ver et al., 1999]; (4) assessment of how changes in the thermohaline circulation of the ocean owing to global warming can affect the air-sea exchange of CO2 in the coastal zone [Mackenzie et al., 2000], and (5) development of preliminary models of the interactions between the coupled biogeochemical cycles of C-N-P and micronutrient trace metals [Ver et al., 1994a].


  • Lecturer, Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, University of British Columbia, 2003 to now
  • Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1999-2001


  • Ph.D. Chemical Oceanography, Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1998
    Thesis: Global Kinetic Models of the Coupled C, N, P and S Biogeochemical Cycles: Implications for Global Environmental Change
    Adviser: Dr. Fred T. Mackenzie, Professor of Oceanography
  • M.S. Agricultural Engineering, Department of Agricultural Engineering, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1989
    Thesis: Design and Development of a Fluidized Bed Nursery for Oysters
    Adviser: Dr. Jaw Kai Wang, Professor of Biosystems Engineering
  • B.S. Chemical Engineering, University of the Philippines, 1979
    Senior Plant Design: Design of a Power Plant Utilizing Recycled Automotive Tires as a Source of Energy


  • Lerman, A., F.T. Mackenzie, and L.M. Ver, Coupling of the Perturbed C-N-P-S Cycles in Industrial Time, Aquatic Geochemistry, 10, 3-32, 2004.
  • Andersson, A.J., F.T. Mackenzie, and L.M. Ver, Solution of shallow-water carbonates: An insignificant buffer against rising atmospheric CO2, Geology, 31, 513-516, 2003.
  • Mackenzie, F.T., L.M. Ver, and A. Lerman, Century-scale nitrogen and phosphorus controls of the carbon cycle, Chemical Geology, 190, 13-32, 2002.
  • Rabouille, C., F.T. Mackenzie, and L.M. Ver, Influence of the human perturbation on carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen biogeochemical cycles in the global coastal ocean, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 65, 3615-3639, 2001.
  • Mackenzie, F.T., L.M. Ver, and A. Lerman, Coastal-zone biogeochemical dynamics under global warming, International Geology Review, 42, 193-206, 2000.
  • Ver, L.M., F.T. Mackenzie, and A. Lerman, Biogeochemical responses of the carbon cycle to natural and human perturbations: Past, present, and future, American Journal of Science, 299, 762-801, 1999a.
  • Ver, L.M., F.T. Mackenzie, and A. Lerman, Carbon cycle in the coastal zone: Effects of global perturbations and change in the past three centuries, Chemical Geology, 159, 283-304, 1999b.
  • Mackenzie, F.T., A. Lerman, and L.M. Ver, Role of the continental margin in the global carbon balance during the past three centuries, Geology, 26, 423-426, 1998a.
  • Ver, L.M., F.T. Mackenzie, and A. Lerman, Partitioning of anthropogenic CO2 by C-N-P-S cycle coupling on land and in coastal oceanic environment, Mineralogical Magazine, 62A, 1589-1590, 1998.
  • Ver, L.M., F.T. Mackenzie, and A. Lerman, Modeling pre-industrial C-N-P-S biogeochemical cycling in the land-coastal margin system, Chemosphere, 29, 855-887, 1994.
  • Lerman, A., F.T. Mackenzie, and L.M. Ver, Global nitrogen cycle within the coastal C-N-P system, Chemical Geology, 107, 389-392, 1993.