Felipe Tornquist

Department of Geography

PhD Candidate


Full contact details

Felipe Tornquist
Department of Geography
Geography and Planning Building
Winter Street
S3 7ND

I am an Environmental Engineer who graduated from Universidad Católica del Norte in 2011, obtaining a degree with Distinction. In my training, I acquired a strong knowledge regarding soil remediation, environmental management, air pollution, water pollution and waste management pollution. My undergraduate thesis was related to the recovery of mining tales to reducer metal mobility. Also, in 2014 I finished a two-year-Masters Degree at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid taking courses related to air quality, modelling, noise pollution, Life Cycle Assessment and characterization and recovery of contaminated soils. My Master’s thesis was about modelling melting glaciers. This experience allowed me to understand better the effects of global warming and master statistical packages and modelling tools using R and Matlab. In addition to those two, I also gained knowledge in Ordinary Kriging, which could be a valuable tool for any statistical analysis. My PhD at the University of Sheffield gave me the opportunity to increase my modelling expertise and gain even more statistical tools such as Empirical Orthogonal Function (EOF) and Canonical Correlations Analysis (CCA). Furthermore, I have learned more about oceanography and meteorology, which are the core topics of my thesis.

Examining the causes of phytoplankton variation along the Chilean coast

Phytoplankton makes a vital contribution in the ocean. It is the base of marine trophic webs and a key element in the biogeochemical cycles, owing to its photosynthesis. Thus, it is very important to try to understand its behaviour. Phytoplankton requires optimal light conditions, nutrient availability and adequate temperature. Nutrient levels increase with depth; however, upper ocean levels could be increased by physical mechanisms like coastal upwelling, or through transport by different marine currents. These mechanisms are affected by climate forcing at both local and global scale.

Eastern Boundary Upwelling Systems (EBUS) are considered the most productive zones of the world’s oceans which are dominated by intense seasonally regulated upwelling events driven by alongshore coastal winds with equatorwards. Peru-Chilean zone is the most productive, owing to the presence of the Southeast Pacific Subtropical Anticyclone (SPSA) and Humboldt current (HCS) and the intervention of El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Antarctic Oscilation (AAO).

In the particular case of Chile, previous studies have been covered mainly particular zones located in the central-southern zone (Vergara et al., 2017; Mongollón and Calil, 2017; Corredor-Acosta et al., 2015; Gómez et al., 2017). This leaves much of the long and varied Chilean coast unstudied. Therefore, a primary production study in the whole territory will produce a better understanding of the fisheries behaviour.

Supervisors: Professor Grant Bigg and Dr Robert Bryant.