InFORM Principal Investigator
School of Earth and Ocean Sciences
University of Victoria
Victoria, British Columbia
Dr. Cullen was motivated to start the InFORM network as a result of seeing an abundance of information about the perils of Fukushima radiation that were largely based on speculation in the absence of scientific data. After sensing the public demand for additional monitoring efforts, and discussions with Dr. Ken Buesseler, who had previously started the Our Radioactive Ocean monitoring in the US, Dr. Cullen assembled the InFORM team to help fill the information void. As a chemical oceanographer, he felt it was his duty to help the public understand the real vs. perceived health risks and environmental effects caused by the Fukushima disaster.
In addition to the InFORM project, Dr. Cullen investigates trace elements in the ocean that are both essential (e.g. copper, iron, and zinc) and potentially toxic (e.g. copper, silver and cadmium) to marine productivity, ecosystem structure, and therefore the air-sea exchange of gases that influence global climate. Understanding the concentration of these trace metals in their various forms, or chemical species, and how they change through time and space in the marine environment allows us to predict how communities of marine flora and fauna may react to changes in climate.