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Cabot Oceans Seminars: Plankton, a modeling challenge

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Join Dr Jamie Wilson as he explains the challenges of predicting future plankton populations and how they might influence the climate.

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Will changes in plankton diversity be a source or sink of carbon to the atmosphere: a modelling challenge.

Marine plankton represent only 1% of the photosynthetic biomass of the Earth but generate ~50% of the global primary productivity. Climate change is already affecting plankton ecosystems, causing geographical and seasonal shifts in biodiversity with impacts to photosynthesis expected to vary across different groups and species. The organic carbon produced during photosynthesis has two main fates, both of which are significant for human society. Most is consumed by other organisms and enters the pelagic food webs that ultimately sustain global fisheries. However, a small fraction escapes consumption and is transferred to the ocean interior where it is stored away from the atmosphere for 100s to 1000s of years - a process known as the “Biological Carbon Pump”.

It is increasingly recognised, but not well understood, that plankton diversity and ecosystem structure are important drivers of this process. As such, we do not yet know whether future climate impacts on plankton diversity will be a source or sink of carbon to the atmosphere.

In this seminar, I will discuss the present challenge of quantifying the links between plankton diversity and the sequestration of carbon in the deep ocean and explore the ways in which we can use numerical models to address this problem.

This seminar will be given by Dr Jamie Wilson who will then answer questions submitted by attendees. There will be an option to submit questions that you would like answering ahead of time when you register here. Please note that the deadline for submitting questions to the panel will be a week ahead of the event so that they have time to prepare answers.

You will be emailed a link to the zoom webinar two days before the event and on the morning of the event to make sure last-minute ticket holders can access the webinar.

This event will be recorded.

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