Marine organisms play a critical role in the global carbon cycle via the biological carbon pump. In the well-lit surface ocean, primary producers use sunlight for energy and dissolved inorganic nutrients to transform dissolved CO2 into organic carbon. As this organic carbon passes through consumers (e.g., zooplankton, bacteria) in the upper ocean, most of it is converted back to CO2 via food web processes. However, a small fraction of the organic matter formed in the upper ocean is transported to depth, where it is sequestered from the atmosphere on time scales of months to millennia. Ultimately, it is this deep organic carbon transport and its sequestration that defines the impact of marine biota on atmospheric CO2 levels and hence climate. The OCB community is interested in how biological, chemical, and physical processes act together to influence the function of the ocean’s biological pump.
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Products & Publications
Burd, A.B., A. Buchan, M. Church, M. Landry, A. McDonnell, U. Passow, D. Steinberg, H. Benway. Towards a transformative understanding of the biology of the ocean’s biological pump: Priorities for future research. Report of the NSF Biology of the Biological Pump Workshop, February 19–20, 2016 (Hyatt Place New Orleans, New Orleans, LA), 67 pp., DOI:10.1575/1912/8263.
Honjo, S. et al. (2014). Understanding the role of the biological pump in the global carbon cycle: An imperative for ocean science. Oceanography 27(3):10–16, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2014.78.
Siegel D. A. et al. (2016). Prediction of the Export and Fate of Global Ocean Net Primary Production: The EXPORTS Science Plan. Front. Mar. Sci. 3:22. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2016.00022.
Outreach & Communication
Neuer, S., M. Iverson and G. Fischer (2014). The Biological Carbon Pump as part of the global carbon cycle. Limnol. Oceanogr. e-Lectures, doi:10.4319/lol.2014.sneuer.miversen.gfischer