DOE Funded Research Highlighted at the Ocean Sciences Meeting


The Ocean Sciences meeting, co-sponsored by the American Geophysical Union and the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, drew about 2300 attendees to Honolulu, Hawaii, on February 10-15. Two special sessions highlighted DOE contributions to state-of-the-art ocean research. A session, entitled Molecular Ecology of Carbon and Nitrogen Cycles in Ocean Margins, was organized by researchers in the Biotechnological Investigations-Ocean Margins Program (BI-OMP) and funded by the Biological and Environmental Research (BER) program. Researchers reported on the identification and characterization of a factor that regulates nitrogen metabolism in key phytoplankton species. Knowledge of nitrogen regulation in phytoplankton is critical to understanding primary production rates, because nitrogen is often a limiting nutrient in the ocean. A second session organized by Ken Caldeira of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) included researchers funded by DOE’s Ocean Carbon Sequestration Research program. Jim Barry of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute reported the effects of deep injection of liquid carbon dioxide on deep-sea benthic animals. Highly motile deep sea organisms such as fish and octopus were successful in avoiding low pH excursions that are a consequence of injecting liquid carbon dioxide, however, non-motile or slowly moving organisms such as sea urchins and amphipods were killed by pH excursions of greater than 1. Both sessions were filled to capacity with standing room only, indicating a keen interest in DOE’s ocean carbon research programs.