Since the Industrial Revolution, combustion of fossil fuels and changes in terrestrial ecosystems have contributed to an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). However, only half of the CO2 released by human activities ends up in the atmosphere; the rest resides in a variety of carbon sinks, including the ocean. As a result, the ocean plays an important role in controlling earth's climate by serving as a significant sink for greenhouse gases, including CO2 which is continuously exchanged between the atmosphere and the ocean. Concerns about future global climate change and its consequences, including ocean acidification and global temperature increases, have pressured scientists to learn more about the ocean carbon cycle.
The Marine Biogeochemistry Lab at BIOS focuses on understanding the biological, physical, and chemical processes that control the ocean's carbon cycles. This includes studies on the impact of ocean acidification; physical and biological processes influencing the ocean-atmosphere gas exchange of CO2; linkages between ocean biogeochemical processes and climate variability; and the influence of coral reefs and calcifying organisms on ocean carbon cycling and the exchange of CO2 between the ocean and atmosphere.
Current research foci include:
- Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study (BATS);
- Hydrostation "S";
- Bermuda Ocean Acidification and Coral Reef Investigation (BEACON);
- Great Belt Research Cruise: Ocean carbon cycle studies in the Southern Ocean of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Ocean basins, as well as the impact of the Great Coccolithophore Belt on CO2 feedbacks to climate;
- Measurements of seawater CO2 on research ships and Volunteer Observing Ships (VOS);
- ICESCAPE: Ocean carbon cycle studies in the western Arctic Ocean;
- Bering Sea studies of ocean acidification and seawater carbonate chemistry;
- GEOTRACES North Atlantic and seawater carbonate chemistry studies;
- GEOTRACES Pacific Ocean and studies of the ocean carbon cycle;
- Ocean carbon measurements in support of the joint Russian-American Long-term Census of the Arctic (RUSALCA) research program in the Bering and Chukchi Seas of the Arctic Ocean.