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biogeochemistry

This tag is associated with 18 posts

Stuck on you (for millions of years): Organic matter on oceanic minerals

Organic matter makes up life, and also feeds it! There is a lot of organic matter buried in sediments worldwide, but for some reason it doesn’t all get eaten by starving microbes. Here we look at a study that used cutting edge techniques to examine some of this uneaten organic matter from deep-sea sediments, and […]

Why Are Some Icebergs Green?

If someone asked you to imagine an iceberg, chances are you’d picture something big and white. However icebergs actually come in a range of colors from white, to blue, and even green. A recent study looks into what gives certain icebergs a unique green coloration. They find that iron oxide minerals are responsible, which could […]

Reduction in Deforestation Influencing Atmospheric CO2

Since 2000, atmospheric CO2 hasn’t been rising as quickly as we expected. It may be because plants on land have been taking up more CO2 than before – but why the change? A group of terrestrial biogeochemists show that recent deforestation rates may hold the answer. Julia DohnerJulia is a PhD student at Scripps Institution […]

Evidence of the Ocean Releasing CO2

Starting 8,000 years ago, a modest but unusual rise in atmospheric CO2 has kept our planet livable and paved the way for ancient human innovations. Why atmospheric CO2 rose is still unclear, but geochemist Anja Studer and her colleagues provide new evidence suggesting that the ocean might be responsible. Julia DohnerJulia is a PhD student […]

Sea Ice Modifies Biological Processes

A recent study investigates the relationship between sea ice variability and phytoplankton growth in climate models. Phytoplankton are responsible for most of the transfer of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to the ocean, therefore this work can help us understand and predict how the ocean’s ability to regulate climate might change in the future.     Channing […]

Predicted Change to the Southern Ocean Silicate Front

The Southern Ocean Silicate Front (SF) is an important boundary separating waters that are silicate-rich and waters that are silicate-poor. The position of the SF determines where microorganisms like diatoms (that need silicate to form their shells) can grow. A new study predicts a poleward shift in the Southern Ocean Silicate Front by the end […]

More Intense Summer to Winter Swings in Oceanic Dissolved CO2

Ocean CO2 levels vary depending on the time of year. Landschützer and his colleagues are the first to show that human-emitted CO2 is making these seasonal swings more severe, potentially to the detriment of many marine organisms. Julia DohnerJulia is a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. Her focus is […]

Ocean Acidification: No Longer Confined to the Sea Surface

Acidification, one of the highest-visibility impacts of human activity on the ocean, was thought to be confined to its upper layers. Chen and his colleagues show that’s no longer the case. Julia DohnerJulia is a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. Her focus is on biogeochemistry, which, as the name […]

Uneven Ocean Warming as the Planet Shed its Ice

Our oceans underwent major changes when the planet transitioned from the Last Glacial Maximum to our current interglacial (or “between glaciations”) period. So what was going on in the ocean during this transformation? Julia DohnerJulia is a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. Her focus is on biogeochemistry, which, as […]

The Subtle Response of Plants to Rising CO2 Levels

Plants need carbon dioxide. What do they do when there’s more and more of it in the atmosphere? Julia DohnerJulia is a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. Her focus is on biogeochemistry, which, as the name suggests, centers on the combined effects of biological, geological and chemical processes on […]

New Evidence of Erosion, Weathering and CO2 Together Regulating Glacier Formation

Ice cover on earth extends and recedes over thousands of years. But what drives these fluctuations? Moreover, what guarantees that our planet never settles into a single permanent state? Using samples of water from glaciers, Torres and his colleagues show that chemical reactions occurring on rocks might hold part of the answer. Julia DohnerJulia is […]

Carbon Dioxide In and Methane Out: the Surprising Chemistry of an Arctic Methane Seep Field

The bad news: coastal frozen sediments in the Arctic are melting and emitting methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. But there is good news: this methane release is accompanied by significant carbon dioxide absorption by seawater, enough to result in a net cooling effect for the atmosphere. Find out how these methane seeps […]

Why iron fertilization hasn’t worked

Fertilizing the ocean with iron to help algae store more carbon in the deep sea was once heralded as a solution for global warming. But decades of research has suggested it doesn’t work as advertised. What went wrong? Read on to find out! Michael PhilbenI recently completed a PhD in Marine Science at the University […]

How we broke radiocarbon dating

CO2 from fossil fuel burning doesn’t contain C-14. That’s bad news for the future of radiocarbon dating. Michael PhilbenI recently completed a PhD in Marine Science at the University of South Carolina and am now a postdoc at Memorial University of Newfoundland. I research the effects of climate change on soil organic matter in boreal […]

Sailing the Southern Ocean for science

Hear about my adventures living on an icebreaker on the Southern Ocean, deploying ocean robots to understand the chemistry and biology of the Southern Ocean. Veronica TamsittI’m a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla California. My research is focused on the Southern Ocean circulation and it’s role in climate. For my […]

Estimating carbon sequestration from plankton poop

Copepod fecal pellets—plankton poop—transport carbon from the ocean surface to the deep where it is stored for thousands of years. A new study presents a framework for scaling up our understanding of this process from observations of single organisms to the global ocean. Michael PhilbenI recently completed a PhD in Marine Science at the University […]

Ocean eddies suck carbon out of the atmosphere, thanks to plankton

When phytoplankton sink into the deep ocean, they take carbon with them, storing CO2 away from the atmosphere. This new study suggests that ocean eddies may play an important role in getting this tiny organisms to sink! caelCael was once told by a professor that applied mathematicians are ‘intellectual dilettantes,’ which has been a proud […]

Microbes foil attempts to increase deep ocean carbon sequestration

Most carbon emitted to the atmosphere ends up in the ocean, much of it in organic molecules. While most is quickly respired back to CO2, a fraction is transformed by microbes to apparently stable compounds that persist in the ocean for centuries. Could we manipulate the microbial community to hold even more? A new study […]

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