Interpreting Mosaics of Ocean Biogeochemistry
Advances in technology and modeling capabilities are driving a surge in progress in our understanding of how ocean ecosystems mix and mingle on medium to small scales.
Sea level rise, heat transport, ocean acidification, these ocean processes, well known in the public sphere, play out on a regional to global scale. But less well known are more localized processes that bring some ecological niches together, keep others separated, and help sustain ocean life by circulating nutrients.
Physical processes in the ocean that take place over intermediate and small scales of space and time play a key role in vertical seawater exchange. They also have significant effects on chemical, biological, and ecological processes in the upper ocean.
In the past, it proved difficult to quantify the role of small-scale features in the movements of ocean chemicals and materials because of their unpredictability. Compounding that difficulty, technological limits hindered scientists’ ability to observe and model these processes.
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