Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
MBARI Research
Marine Chemistry research at MBARI

Chemical oceanographers at MBARI use automated sensors and underwater experiments to study how the chemistry of seawater relates to biological processes and interactions with the atmosphere and the seafloor.

Some specific areas of research include:


Ocean acidification

As the concentration of carbon dioxide has increased in the oceans, they are becoming more acidic. Chemist Peter Brewer and biologist Jim Barry are studying this process and its potential effects on marine organisms.
Ocean Nutrients

MBARI chemist Ken Johnson studies iron, nitrate, phosphate, silicate, and other chemicals that act as "fertilizer" for microscopic algae in the ocean.
    MBARI lead researcher in this field:
    Ken Johnson (Chemist)

Instruments for automated chemical analysis

Marine chemist Ken Johnson and his research team have developed several instruments and that automatically measure concentrations of various chemicals in seawater. They have also deployed networks of instruments in the ocean and in estuaries to help answer important scientific questions about about these areas.
    MBARI lead researcher in this field:
    Ken Johnson (Chemist)

Methane Hydrates

Among other projects, Peter Brewer's group studies methane hydrates—ice-like solids that form when methane (natural gas) combines with seawater at the low temperatures and high pressures of the deep sea. On some projects, they work together with MBARI geologists such as Charles Paull.
Carbon dioxide in the ocean

As concentrations of carbon dioxide increase in Earth's atmosphere, more and more of this gas is dissolving in the oceans. Peter Brewer's group studies the impacts of this carbon dioxide on ocean chemistry and sea life. Brewer has also performed field studies to what would happen if carbon dioxide was extracted from the atmosphere and pumped directly into the deep sea as a mitigation method for global warming.
    MBARI lead researcher in this field:
    Peter Brewer (Ocean Chemist)
Last updated: Jan. 18, 2013