How Plankton Blooms Absorb CO2

TUE, FEB 24, 2015 (44:14)

Microscopic plankton play a vital role in the ocean’s absorption of atmospheric CO2. And since that absorption represents about one third of the planet’s CO2, scientists are keen to understand this very complex cycle. Dr. Amala Mahadevan explains how ocean eddies shift layers of warm and cold water, so that the phytoplankton are exposed to sunlight, and then begin to photosynthesize much like plants on land. The process leads to enormous “blooms” that can be seen from space.

+ BIO: Amala Mahadevan, Ph.D.

Amala Mahadevan is a leading researcher in the fields of physical oceanography and climate, the oceanic carbon cycle, and biogeochemical distributions. Dr. Mahadevan and members of her WHOI lab have developed advanced models and analytics to investigate physical ocean processes and their implications for the productivity and distribution of phytoplankton, and the transport and mixing of properties. She has developed a non-hydrostatic ocean model suited to modeling limited domains in order to capture meso- and sub-mesoscale phenomena.

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