Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. 24/7 Space News .




WATER WORLD
Ocean food web is key in the global carbon cycle
by Staff Writers
Santa Barbara CA (SPX) Mar 13, 2014


Shown are the links among the ocean's biological pump and pelagic food web. Light blue waters are the euphotic zone, while the darker blue waters represent the twilight zone. Image courtesy of the US Joint Global Ocean Flux Study. For a larger version of this image please go here.

Nothing dies of old age in the ocean. Everything gets eaten and all that remains of anything is waste. But that waste is pure gold to oceanographer David Siegel, director of the Earth Research Institute at UC Santa Barbara.

In a study of the ocean's role in the global carbon cycle, Siegel and his colleagues used those nuggets to their advantage. They incorporated the lifecycle of phytoplankton and zooplankton - small, often microscopic animals at the bottom of the food chain -into a novel mechanistic model for assessing the global ocean carbon export. Their findings appear online in the journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles.

The researchers used satellite observations including determinations of net primary production (NPP) - the net production of organic matter from aqueous carbon dioxide (CO2) by phytoplankton - to drive their food-web-based model.

The scientists focused on the ocean's biological pump, which exports organic carbon from the euphotic zone - the well-lit, upper ocean - through sinking particulate matter, largely from zooplankton feces and aggregates of algae. Once these leave the euphotic zone, sinking into the ocean depths, the carbon can be sequestered for a season or for centuries.

"What we've done here is create the first step toward monitoring the strength and efficiency of the biological pump using satellite observations," said Siegel, who is also a professor of marine science in UCSB's Department of Geography.

"The approach is unique in that previous ways have been empirical without considering the dynamics of the ocean food web." The space/time patterns created by those empirical approaches are inconsistent with how oceanographers think the oceans should work, he noted.

Carbon is present in the atmosphere and is stored in soils, oceans and the Earth's crust. Any movement of carbon between - or in the case of the ocean, within - these reservoirs is called a flux. According to the researchers, oceans are a central component in the global carbon cycle through their storage, transport and transformations of carbon constituents.

"Quantifying this carbon flux is critical for predicting the atmosphere's response to changing climates," Siegel said. "By analyzing the scattering signals that we got from satellite measurements of the ocean's color, we were able to develop techniques to calculate how much of the biomass occurs in very large or very small particles."

Their results predict a mean global carbon export flux of 6 petagrams (Pg) per year. Also known as a gigaton, a petagram is equal to one quadrillion (1015) grams. This is a huge amount, roughly equivalent to the annual global emissions of fossil fuel. At present, fossil fuel combustion represents a flux to the atmosphere of approximately 9 Pg per year.

"It matters how big and small the plankton are, and it matters what the energy flows are in the food web," Siegel said.

"This is so simple. It's really who eats whom but also having an idea of the biomasses and productivity of each. So we worked out these advanced ways of determining NPP, phytoplankton biomass and the size structure to formulate mass budgets, all derived from satellite data."

The researchers are taking their model one step further by planning a major field program designed to better understand the states in which the biological pump operates.

"Understanding the biological pump is critical," Siegel concluded. "We need to understand where carbon goes, how much of it goes into the organic matter, how that affects the air-sea exchanges of CO2 and what happens to fossil fuel we have emitted from our tailpipes."

.


Related Links
University of California - Santa Barbara
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





WATER WORLD
Study provides new information about the sea turtle 'lost years'
Miami FL (SPX) Mar 10, 2014
A new study satellite tracked 17 young loggerhead turtles in the Atlantic Ocean to better understand sea turtle nursery grounds and early habitat use during the 'lost years.' The study, conducted by a collaborative research team, including scientists from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, was the first long-term satellite tracking study of young tu ... read more


WATER WORLD
Russia to launch three lunar rovers from 2016 to 2019

Control circuit malfunction troubles China's Yutu

China's Lunar Lander Still Operational

China Focus: Uneasy rest begins for China's troubled Yutu rover

WATER WORLD
Opportunity Mars Rover Exploring Murray Ridge Area

Relay Radio on Mars-Bound NASA Craft Passes Checkout

Mars Rover Oppportunity Crushing Rocks With Wheels

Robotic Arm Crushes Rock for Study

WATER WORLD
Under shadow of spy scandal, Merkel, Cameron head to tech fair

Bright pulses of light could make space veggies more nutritious

Committee Democrats Emphasize Need for Human Space Exploration Roadmap

NASA Commercial Crew Partners Complete Space System Milestones

WATER WORLD
China to launch first "space shuttle bus" this year

China expects to launch cargo ship into space around 2016

China capable of exploring Mars

Feature: The "masters" behind China's lunar rover Jade Rabbit

WATER WORLD
Station Crew Preps for Return to Earth, Repairs Recycling System

NASA says US-Russia space ties 'normal'

Cancer Targeted Treatments from Space Station Discoveries

Cosmonauts on space station to turn teacher for Russian students

WATER WORLD
Payload prep continues for Arianespace Soyuz for Sentinel-1A

Russia to Start Building New Manned Rocket Launch Pad in 2015

New Vostochny space center a key priority for Russian Far East

'Mission of Firsts' Showcased New Range-Safety Technology at NASA Wallops

WATER WORLD
A small step toward discovering habitable earths

'Dimer molecules' aid study of exoplanet pressure, hunt for life

What Would A Rocky Exoplanet Look Like? Atmosphere Models Seek Clues

Super-Earth' may be dead worlds

WATER WORLD
Microsoft hopes 'Titanfall' can boost Xbox One

Copper hits near 4-year bottom over China slowdown fears

Candy Crush sweetens gaming for female audience

Saving planet goes from video game to real-world craze




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.