Deciphering ocean carbon in a changing world

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  • Dissolved organic matter (DOM) in the oceans is one of the largest pools of reduced carbon on Earth, comparable in size to the atmospheric CO₂ reservoir. A vast number of compounds are present in DOM, and they play important roles in all major element cycles, contribute to the storage of atmospheric CO₂ in the ocean, support marine ecosystems, and facilitate interactions between organisms. At the heart of the DOM cycle lie molecular-level relationships between the individual compounds in DOM and the members of the ocean microbiome that produce and consume them. In the past, these connections have eluded clear definition because of the sheer numerical complexity of both DOM molecules and microorganisms. Emerging tools in analytical chemistry, microbiology, and informatics are breaking down the barriers to a fuller appreciation of these connections. Here we highlight questions being addressed using recent methodological and technological developments in those fields and consider how these advances are transforming our understanding of some of the most important reactions of the marine carbon cycle.
  • This is the publisher’s final pdf. The published article is copyrighted by National Academy of Sciences and can be found at: Freely available online through the PNAS open access option.
  • Keywords: dissolved organic matter, marine microbes, cyberinfrastructure
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  • Moran, M. A., Kujawinski, E. B., Stubbins, A., Fatland, R., Aluwihare, L. I., Buchan, A., ... & Howe, B. (2016). Deciphering ocean carbon in a changing world. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(12), 3143-3151. doi:10.1073/pnas.1514645113
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  • 113
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  • 12
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  • The workshop was supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Microsoft Research Corporation. Additional support was provided by National Science Foundation Grants OCE1356010, OCE1154320, and OCE1356890, and by Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Grant 3304.
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