Helga do Rosario Gomes (Maria Fatima Helga do Rosario Gomes) is from the state of Goa in India, famous for its beautiful beaches so it’s inevitable that she was drawn to oceanography from a young age. She graduated with a Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from Bombay University and after research positions in Japan and in Maine, she has been a Research Scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia Climate School from 2010 onwards.
Her research interests in climate impacts on marine ecosystems and ocean biogeochemistry have led her to study the impact of UV radiation on phytoplankton photosynthesis in the Antarctic waters, the influence of the Amazon River continuum in biological sequestration of carbon dioxide and the rise of mixotrophy in the Arabian Sea. She uses her diverse expertise in biochemistry, microbiology and remote sensing to develop methods to assess primary productivity both at the cellular level and from space. Dr. Gomes is interested in large-scale climatic questions such as the impacts of the new and unusual planktonic blooms in the Arabian Sea, the effect of Arctic warming and ice melt on the American lobster, the impact of urbanization on wetland systems especially around the Long Island Sound and ocean acidification and deoxygenation of waters from harmful algal blooms.
With her colleagues she has been developing ocean monitoring and decision support systems tailored to meet needs for sustainable management of coastal resources in tropical countries experiencing climate change. Currently she is a co-PI of a recent Colombia University President Global Fund Award to develop a prototype Kenya Ocean Monitoring and Decision Support System for sustainable coastal resource management under climate change. She is a member of SCOR Working Group SCOR Working Group 165 “Mixotrophy in the Oceans – Novel Experimental designs and Tools for a new trophic paradigm (MixONET)”.
She mentors postdoctoral, graduate and undergraduate students but passion lies in providing guidance and support to high school students some of who have won national and international awards.
Dr. Gomes is a trustee and Science Advisor for Goa Chitra, Goa, India, an anthropological museum that preserves and showcases the culture and lifestyle of the people of the west coast of India. She advises them on research programs for overseas students and has held a series of classes on Climate change and rising sea level for coastal communities of Goa.