Eunice Tsang L&S Biological Sciences
The Vertical Evolution of Marine Particulate Organic Matter
The marine carbon cycle plays a key role in regulating Earth’s global temperature and climate, as the largest reservoir of bioavailable carbon is stored in the ocean. In particular, marine particulate organic matter (POM) plays a crucial role in sequestering CO2 away from the atmosphere through their vertical transport of carbon from the surface ocean to the seafloor. While sinking, POM can be remineralized back to CO2 via microbial or animal heterotrophic processes, or they can disaggregate into smaller particles. Mechanistic understanding of the degradative processes acting on POM, and their controls, is crucial to be able to predict how these processes will change in the future. For my project, I will measure the δ2HAA values of POM collected from different depths and marine environments. My measurements can provide insight into determining which environmental factors most significantly control POM degradation in different marine ecosystems. Results of this study may ultimately contribute to δ2HAA as a useful and highly important proxy for in situ degradative mechanisms acting on marine POM.