Andrew J Irwin

Associate Professor

Andrew J Irwin

Contact Information

(506) 364-5747
Dunn 209
Office hours
By appointment
Other websites

My research program covers a diverse range of problems in applied mathematics and mathematical biology including biological oceanography and global biogeochemistry.

Human activities have released enormous amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and land-use changes. The ocean has taken up much of this carbon, but we know little about how climate change will affect photosynthesis in the sea and the ocean's continued ability to sequester the CO2 we release into the atmosphere. I develop models and computational techniques to improve our knowledge of the role of phytoplankton in the global carbon cycle and to predict how primary production and CO2 flux will respond to climate change.

If you are a student interested in mathematical modelling of scientific problems, climate change research, or theoretical biology, contact me.


  • Ph.D., Queen's University (Kingston)
  • M.Sc., University of British Columbia
  • B.Sc., University of Toronto


My Google scholar profile

Full publication list on my lab page.

Selected publications

  • AJ Irwin, ZV Finkel, F Müller-Karger, L Troccoli Ghinaglia. Phytoplankton adapt to changing ocean environments. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA112: 5762-66.10.1073/pnas.1414752112
  • CM Mutshinda, L Troccoli-Ghinaglia, ZV Finkel, FE Müller-Karger, AJ Irwin (2013) Environmental control of the dominant phytoplankton in the Cariaco basin: a hierarchical Bayesian approach. Marine Biology Research 9(3): 247-261. Supplement 10.1080/17451000.2012.731693
  • CM Mutshinda, ZV Finkel, AJ Irwin (2013) Which environmental factors control phytoplankton populations? A Bayesian variable selection approach. Ecological Modelling 269: 1-8. Supplement. 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2013.07.025
  • AJ Irwin, AM Nelles, ZV Finkel (2012) Phytoplankton niches estimated from field data. Limnology and Oceanography 57(3): 787-797. 10.4319/lo.2012.57.3.0787. Worksheet of niche data and univariate response functions are also available at Pangaea 10.1594/PANGAEA.778968
  • AJ Irwin and MJ Oliver (2009) Are ocean deserts getting larger? Geophysical Research Letters 36: L18609. 10.1029/2009GL039883 Discovery News story. Supplementary information. High quality animation citations
  • AJ Irwin and ZV Finkel (2008) Mining a sea of data: determining controls of ocean chlorophyll. PLOS One 3(11): e3836 10.1371/journal.pone.0003836
  • ZV Finkel, J Sebbo, S Feist-Burkhardt, AJ Irwin, ME Katz, OME Schofield, JR Young, PG Falkowski (2007) A universal driver of macroevolutionary change in the size of marine phytoplankton over the Cenozoic. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 104(51): 20416-20420. 10.1073/pnas.0709381104
  • AJ Irwin, ZV Finkel, O Schofield & PG Falkowski (2006) Scaling-up from nutrient physiology to the size-structure of phytoplankton communities. J. Plank. Res. 28:459-471. 10.1093/plankt/fbi148
  • AS Quigg, ZV Finkel, AJ Irwin, Y Rosenthal, T-Y Ho, JR Reinfelder, O Schofield, FMM Morel and P Falkowski (2003) The evolutionary inheritance of elemental stoichiometry in marine phytoplankton. Nature 425: 291-294. 10.1038/nature01953


I usually teach the applied mathematics courses offered in our department such as Probability & Statistics, Mathematical Modelling, Numerical Analysis, Differential Equations, and Calculus.