Marine Biogeochemistry Group

Andrea Fassbender, Principal Investigator

Phytoplankton bloom in the Tasman Sea captured by the NASA MODIS-Aqua satellite on 21 November 2017. White patches are clouds. Credit: NASA/Ocean Biology Processing Group, Goddard Space Flight Center.

Marine biogeochemistry is the study of carbon and nutrients being transformed by biological, geological, and chemical processes in the ocean. We study these transformations over timescales that range from seconds to millennia. The distribution of carbon and nutrients in the ocean is integral to sustaining and tracing the signatures of marine life.

The Marine Biogeochemistry Group investigates how carbon is cycled within the upper ocean by marine organisms, how this influences the exchange of carbon dioxide between the atmosphere and ocean, and how rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may impact the marine carbon cycle, now and in the future. We use observations collected from ships, sensors on autonomous platforms, and satellites, along with numerical model data, to study various aspects of the ocean carbon cycle at coastal, regional, and global scales. Our group is also interested in the role of ocean physics in transporting carbon away from the sea surface to depth where it remains sequestered from the atmosphere for long timescales.

To advance the study of marine biogeochemistry, our lab develops and applies new technologies and methods to collect and interpret data. Through these efforts we are gaining new understanding of the ocean’s role in global climate and how ongoing changes to the marine carbon cycle may influence ocean ecosystems.

Ocean carbon export

The ocean plays an important role in global climate, absorbing approximately 25 percent of our annual carbon dioxide emissions.

Technology development

Development and commercialization of mobile ocean platforms is providing a wealth of opportunities to collect information about the ocean carbon cycle autonomously.

Coastal carbon cycling and ocean acidification

Interactions at the land-sea interface such as coastal upwelling, river discharge, and point source pollution contribute additional complexity to carbon cycling in coastal ecosystems relative to the open ocean.

Carbon cycle feedbacks

Our group is collaborating with scientists at other institutions to study marine carbon cycle sensitivities and feedbacks using a combination of observational and model data.

Western boundary current carbon cycling

Western boundary current (WBC) regions, such as the Gulf Stream, are highly dynamic with respect to ocean physics, biology, and chemistry and mark the transition between the subtropical gyres and subpolar regions.
Jacki Long holding an underway CTD on the R/V Endeavor while in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Lab news

Current updates on various lab happenings



Upper-ocean systems
Acoustical ocean ecology
Acoustic instruments
Acoustic fingerprinting
Acoustic community ecology
Acoustics in the news
Marine biogeochemistry
Ocean carbon export
Technology development
Coastal carbon cycling and ocean acidification
Carbon cycle feedbacks
Western boundary current carbon cycling
Lab news
Biological oceanography
Global modes of sea surface temperature
Krill hotspots in the California Current
Nitrate supply estimates in upwelling systems
Chemical sensors
Chemical data
Land/Ocean Biogeochemical Observatory in Elkhorn Slough
Listing of floats
SOCCOM float visualization
Periodic table of elements in the ocean
Biogeochemical-Argo Report
Profiling float
Marine microbes
Population dynamics of phytoplankton
Microbial predators
Microbe-algae interactions
Targeted metagenomics
In the news
Upcoming events and lab news
Past talks and presentations
Join the lab
Interdisciplinary field experiments
Ecogenomic Sensing
Genomic sensors
Field experiments
Harmful algal blooms (HABs)
Water quality
Environmental Sample Processor (ESP)
ESP Web Portal
In the news
Ocean observing system
Midwater research
Midwater ecology
Deep-sea squids and octopuses
Food web dynamics
Midwater time series
Respiration studies
Zooplankton biodiversity
Seafloor processes
Revealing the secrets of Sur Ridge
Exploring Sur Ridge’s coral gardens
Life at Sur Ridge
Mapping Sur Ridge
Biology and ecology
Effects of humans
Ocean acidification, warming, deoxygenation
Lost shipping container study
Effects of upwelling
Faunal patterns
Previous research
Technology development
High-CO2 / low-pH ocean
Benthic respirometer system
Climate change in extreme environments
Station M: A long-term observatory on the abyssal seafloor
Station M long-term time series
Monitoring instrumentation suite
Sargasso Sea research
Antarctic research
Geological changes
Arctic Shelf Edge
Continental Margins and Canyon Dynamics
Coordinated Canyon Experiment
CCE instruments
CCE repeat mapping data
Monterey Canyon: A Grand Canyon beneath the waves
Submarine volcanoes
Mid-ocean ridges
Magmatic processes
Volcanic processes
Explosive eruptions
Hydrothermal systems
Back arc spreading ridges
Near-ridge seamounts
Continental margin seamounts
Non-hot-spot linear chains
Eclectic seamounts topics
Margin processes
Hydrates and seeps
California borderland
Hot spot research
Hot-spot plumes
Magmatic processes
Volcanic processes
Explosive eruptions
Volcanic hazards
Hydrothermal systems
Flexural arch
Coral reefs
ReefGrow software
Eclectic topics
Submarine volcanism cruises
Volcanoes resources
Areas of study
Automated chemical sensors
Methane in the seafloor
Microscopic biology research
Open ocean biology research
Seafloor biology research
Volcanoes and seamounts
Hydrothermal vents
Methane in the seafloor
Submarine canyons
Earthquakes and landslides
Ocean acidification
Physical oceanography and climate change
Ocean circulation and algal blooms
Ocean cycles and climate change
Past research
Molecular ecology
Molecular systematics
SIMZ Project
Bone-eating worms
Gene flow and dispersal
Molecular-ecology expeditions
Ocean chemistry of greenhouse gases
Emerging science of a high CO2/low pH ocean
Research publications