Dr. Joaquim Goes was born in Nairobi, Kenya, to parents who formed part of a large diasporic community from a Portuguese colony in India named Goa. Political turmoil forced them to return to Goa where he and his siblings completed their education. After finishing his Master’s degree in 1992 at the University of Bombay in India, Joaquim was offered a Doctoral fellowship by the Japanese Ministry of Education and he moved to Nagoya University, Japan. Clueless in a pre-internet age, he dived headlong into a new culture and language, and oved every bit of it from the sashimi and onsen to kanji.
After Japan lost its ocean color satellite, Joaquim changed the course of his research. Molina and Rowland had just won the Nobel Prize for their work on the formation of the Ozone Hole. Little was then known on how ocean biology would respond to excess solar UV radiation. Working with the late and world renowned geochemist, Prof. Nobuhiko Handa, Joaquim showed how enhanced exposure to UV radiation could profoundly impact phytoplankton photosynthesis and the metabolic compounds they produce.
Later, he pursued his Postdoctoral studies under the late Prof. Toshiro Saino developing a novel algorithm to estimate seawater nitrate from remote sensing. Fortuitously, during his stint as a postdoctoral fellow in Japan, Joaquim met Dr. Barney Balch at a Japan-USA workshop on ocean color in Hawaii in 2000 who invited him to Bigelow Laboratory, Maine after his stint in Japan ended. Once again he embarked on a new journey, this time in a land of lobsters and vast expanses of untouched land often covered in a foot of snow. A year into his Postdoc, Joaquim was appointed as a Senior Research Scientist.
In 2010, he felt the need for another adventure so he moved to the big city of New York. Joaquim is currently a Lamont Research Professor at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in the Palisades and his research focuses on understanding how ocean ecosystems and plankton are responding to climate change. He uses his background in biochemistry to study organisms at the cellular level and combines this with his expertise in ocean color remote sensing and coupled physical biological modeling to address large-scale climatic questions.
The projects that Joaquim works with are very diverse covering the physiology and productivity of marine phytoplankton, carbon cycling in the sea, climate impacts on marine ecosystems and socio-economic implications, microplastics in aquatic ecosystem etc. Funding for his work comes from NASA, NOAA, NSF, Gordon Betty Moore Foundation, Sultan Qaboos Cultural Centre, Hudson River Foundation.
Joaquim mentors undergraduates, graduates and postdoctoral students both in his laboratory at Columbia University and at sea, but he especially enjoys working the High School students some of whom have won National and International recognition for their work in his laboratory.
Joaquim has published over 120 peer reviewed papers. Some of his work has been featured in highly acclaimed newspapers, magazines and on Public Broadcasting Service. Joaquim hold a Doctor of Science degree in Ocean Biogeochemistry from Nagoya University, Japan and a Master’s degree in Microbiology, Bombay University, India. He loves music and played the bass in a rock band as a teenager.