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Ocean carbon and plastic-eating microbes: News from the College

Ocean carbon and plastic-eating microbes: News from the College

Here’s a batch of fresh news and announcements from across Imperial. From a study into the ocean’s ‘biological carbon pump’, to research on microbes that…

Friday, Apr 29

News

Here’s a batch of fresh news and announcements from across Imperial. From a study into the ocean’s ‘biological carbon pump’, to research on microbes that break down plastic, here is some quick-read news from across the College. Ocean carbon uncertainties

A critical part of the Earth’s carbon cycle occurs in the ocean, where microscopic plants (plankton) take up CO 2 from the atmosphere. This ‘biological carbon pump’ contributes to keeping atmospheric CO 2 levels about 50% lower than they would be if it didn’t exist.

However, some areas of the biological carbon pump remain poorly understood. Imperial researcher Dr Emma Cavan has worked with the National Oceanography Centre to assess these knowledge gaps, showing, for example, that climate models rarely agree on how the plankton carbon sink will change in the future. Some models show the sink increasing and some decreasing – which is similar to when the models were last assessed, meaning not much progress has been made in this area.

Dr Cavan said: “Marine life has an important role in cycling carbon and nutrients globally. This study highlights how we could improve our estimates of the future ocean carbon sink if we work to understand the role of biology better and describe it well in climate simulations.”

Read the full paper in Nature Geosciences . Nanotechnology grant

An Imperial researcher has received funding from L’Oréal and UNESCO for a workshop in nanotechnology that aims to support access and improve opportunities for women in science.

Dr Jessica Wade , a Research […]

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