Our team resolves the microscopic biological interactions that control carbon export in the ocean to advance global-scale observations and models of our climate and ocean ecosystems. We focus on the intricate and oftentimes beautiful sinking particles throughout the ocean depths, and the diverse community of organisms that produce, transform, and feed on these particles as they sink from the surface to the deep ocean.

Our projects rely on a combination of approaches to identify important ecologic controls on carbon export, including microscopy, molecular sequencing, sediment trap deployments, underwater imagery, optical sensors, and laboratory growth experiments.  We develop new technologies to expand the time and space scales over which we can make these detailed observations.



Estapa, M. L., C. A. Durkin, W. H. Slade, C. L. Huffard, S. P. O'Neill, and M. M. Omand. 2024. A new, global optical sediment trap calibration. Limnology and Oceanography: Methods, 22(2): 77-92. https://doi.org/10.1002/lom3.10592

Durkin, C.A., K.O. Buesseler, I. Cetinic, M. Estapa, R.P. Kelley, and M. Omand. 2021. A visual tour of carbon export by sinking particles. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 35(10): 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1029/2021GB006985

Michaud, C.A., C.L. Huffard, K.L. Smith Jr, and C.A. Durkin. 2022. Changes in phytoplankton and biomineral content of particles during episodic fluxes to abyssal depth. Limnology and Oceanography Letters, 7: 342–353, https://doi.org/10.1002/lol2.10255

Preston, C.M., C.A. Durkin, and K.M. Yamahara. 2019. DNA metabarcoding reveals organisms contributing to particulate matter flux to abyssal depths in the North East Pacific ocean. Deep Sea Research Part II Topical Studies in Oceanography, 173: 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr2.2019.104708

Huffard, C.L., C.A. Durkin, S.E. Wilson, P.R. McGill, R. Henthorn, and K.L. Smith Jr. 2020. Temporally-resolved mechanisms of deep-ocean particle flux and impact on the seafloor carbon cycle in the northeast Pacific. Deep Sea Research Part II Topical Studies in Oceanography, 173: 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr2.2020.104763