Overall Themes and Objectives

 



During the past decade, oceanographers have become much more aware of the fact that most oceanic cycles are not steady state processes. Instead, many marine biogeochemical cycles are driven by short-term and sporadic events. Such events include storms, periodic upwelling, and blooms, that are difficult to observe with traditional coarse-resolution methods. These phenomena can best be observed by continuous in situ measurements over extended time periods. The further understanding of these non-steady state processes requires autonomous in situ instrumentation capable of long-term deployments. Although a variety of such instruments exist for measuring physical and optical characteristics (which are sometimes used to calculate biological properties), there is a distinct lack of such instruments for the direct monitoring of dissolved and particulate chemical concentrations. Such basic detection systems are needed to make direct observations of the chemical links between physical forcing and biological responses within the ocean, as well as to monitor the natural temporal variability of important biogeochemical tracers. These instruments, therefore, have a wide area of applicability in oceanography; from monitoring estuaries, to open oceans, to pore waters, as well as other aquatic environments. Monterey Bay provides an ideal environment for developing and using such instruments as well as for studying sporadic highly variable events, while MBARI offers the unique situation to develop, use and export these technologies.

My long-range objectives include the continued development of novel chemical analyzers and samplers for reliable determinations of dissolved chemicals in seawater, and their use in studying biogeochemical cycles. During the past several years, my efforts have primarily focused on the development and use of long-term osmotically pumped analyzers (OsmoAnalyzers), which are currently deployed on eight moorings in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Recently, however, I have significantly expanded my work by further developing long-term osmotically pumped samplers (OsmoSamplers) for the continuous monitoring of pore fluids in sediment and rock. I also started a cooperative venture to design and build solid-state chemical analyzers based on silicon-wafer. I envision these novel analyzers as a vehicle to bring many more complex chemistries, including bioassays, into the ocean, thereby putting MBARI on the cutting edge of environmental chemistry.

I plan to continue working with colleagues by developing and using these instruments to test scientifically relevant hypotheses, and to take advantage of opportunities, both within and outside MBARI, that combine scientific needs with technological solutions.

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