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Professor Lanning is a chemical oceanography who studies the distribution of trace elements in the marine environment. His research focuses on harmful lead (Pb) contamination in the Pacific Ocean collaborating with the international GEOTRACES program. Professor Lanning received his Bachelor's degrees (B.S. Environmental Science & B.S. Marine Biology) from the University of New Haven where he studied copper (Cu) bioremediation by local green macroalgae in New Haven Harbor. He continued his education at Texas A&M University obtaining a Ph.D. in Oceanography. At Texas A&M, Professor Lanning researched iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), and Pb in the central Pacific Ocean having focused on the influence of hydrothermal venting on Fe and Mn concentrations.