Department Web-Page

Dr. William Cooper
Emeritus Faculty

Dr. William Cooper

Professor and Associate Chair

Ph.D. (1981) Indiana University

Contact Information
415 DLC 850.644.6875
425 DLC 850.644.1274
Programs of Research
Research Website
Research Specialities
Bioanalytical, Environment and Energy

Research Interest

My research group focuses on the application of advanced analytical techniques, including ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry, solid state 13C NMR spectroscopy and 3-D excitation-emission fluorescence spectroscopy, in studies of the organic chemistry of natural waters and sedi¬ments. We are particularly interested in the composition, structure and biogeochemical reactivity of dissolved natural organic matter (DOM), including DOM containing nitrogen and phosphorus. In 1997, in collaboration with co-workers at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, we published the first description of the use of electrospray ionization and high-field FT-ICR mass spectrometry do characterize humic and fulvic acids, and we have been developing and refining this technique since that first paper appeared. The rapid evolution of FT-ICR MS for applications in the geosciences can be appreciated by comparing the relatively small number of compounds identified in that first manuscript (10) with the over 10,000 individual molecular formulas that are typically identified in a single spectrum today. Our current efforts are directed to correlating these ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry measurements with other techniques such as 13C NMR and 3-D excitation-emission fluorescence spectroscopy to identify chemical and biochemical signatures of climate change.


D’Andrilli, J., Cooper, W.T., Foreman, C.M., Marshall, A.G. An ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry index to estimate natural organic matter lability, Rap. Comm. Mass Spectrom., 29, 2385-2401, 2015.
Tfaily, M.M., Corbett, J.E., Wilson, R., Chanton, J.P., Glaser, P.H., Cawley, K.M., Jaffe, R., Cooper, W.T. Utilization of PARAFAC-Modeled Excitation-Emission Matrix (EEM) Fluorescence Spectroscopy to Identify Biogeochemical Processing of Dissolved Organic Matter in a Northern Peatland, Photochem. Photobiol., 91, 684–695, 2015.
Tfaily, M.M., Cooper, W.T., Kostka, J., Chanton, P.R., Schadt, C.W., Hanson, P.J., Chanton, J.P. Humification and vertical stratification of organic matter transformations in the peat column at the Marcell Experimental Forest, J. Geophys. Res.-Biogeosci. 119, 661–675, 2014.
Mukherjee, A., Zimmerman1, A.R., Hamdan, R., Cooper, W.T. Physicochemical changes in pyrogenic organic matter (biochar) after 15 months of field aging, Solid Earth, 5, 693-704, 2014.
Corbett, E.J., Tfaily, M.M., Dial, A.R., Burdige, D.J., Cooper, W.T., Glaser, P.H., Chanton, J.P. Surface Production Fuels Deep Heterotrophic Respiration in Northern Peatlands, Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 27, 1–12, doi:10.1002/2013GB004677, 2013.
Tfaily, M.M., Hamdan, R., Corbett, J.E., Chanton, J.P., Glaser, P.H., Cooper, W.T. Investigating Dissolved Organic Matter Decomposition in Northern Peatlands using Complimentary Analytical Techniques, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, 112, 116–129, 2013. DOI 10.1016/j.gca.2013.03.002.
Osborne, D.M., Podgorski, D.C., Bronk, D.A., Roberts, Q., Sipler, R.E., Austin, D., Bays, J.S., Cooper, W.T. Molecular-Level Characterization of Reactive and Refractory Dissolved Organic Nitrogen Compounds in a Nutrient-Impacted River, Rap. Comm. Mass Spectrom., 27, 1-8, 2013.
Corbett, E.J., Tfaily, M.M., Burdige, D.J., Cooper, W.T., Glaser, P.H., Chanton, J.P. “Partitioning pathways of CO2 production in peatlands with stable carbon isotopes”, Biogeochemistry, 114:327-340, 2013.
Lin, X., Green, S. Tfaily, M.M., Prakash, O.M., Konstantinidis, K., Corbett, E.J., Chanton, J.P., Cooper, W.T., Kostka, J.E. “Microbial Community Structure and Activity Linked to Contrasting Biogeochemical Gradients in Bog and Fen Environments of the Glacial Lake Agassiz Peatland", Appl. Environ. Microbiol.. 78, 7023-7031, 2012.
Jaffé, R., Yamashita, Y., Maie, N., Cooper, W.T., Dittmar, T., Dodds, W., Jones, J., Myoshi, T., Ortiz-Zayas, J.R., Podgorski, D., Watanabe, A. “Dissolved Organic Matter in Headwater Streams: Compositional Variability across Climatic Regions”, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, 94, 95–108, 2012.
Tfaily, M.M., Hodgkins, S., Podgorski, D.C., Chanton, J.P., Cooper, W.T. “Comparison of Dialysis and Solid-phase Extraction for Isolation and Concentration of Dissolved Organic Matter Prior to Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry”, Anal. Bioanal. Chem., 404, 447-457, 2012.
Podgorski, D.C., McKenna, A.M., Rodgers, R.P., Marshall, A.G., Cooper, W.T. “Selective ionization of dissolved organic nitrogen by positive ion atmospheric pressure photoionization coupled with Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry, Anal. Chem., 84, 5085-5090, 2012.
Hamdan, R., El-Rifai, H.M., Cheesman, A.W., Turner, B.L., Reddy, K.R., Cooper, W.T. “Linking Phosphorus Sequestration to Carbon Humification in Wetland Soils by 31P and 13C NMR Spectroscopy”, Environ. Sci. Technol. 46, 4775-4782, 2012.
Podgorski, D.C., Hamdan, R., McKenna, A.M., Nyadong, L., Rodgers, R.P., Marshall, A.G., Cooper, W.T. Characterization of Pyrogenic Black Carbon by Desorption Atmospheric Pressure Photoionization Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry”, Anal. Chem., 84, 1281-1287. 2012.