The proposed OOI-Global Biogeochemical Flux program will provide an unparalleled capacity to investigate biological activity in the ocean, biologically-mediated export of carbon to the deep ocean, and the role of the oceanic biological pump in the global carbon cycle. The comprehensive, coherent time-series data sets from key oceanic regimes emanating from this concerted observation program will allow major advances in our understanding of ocean biogeochemistry in the context of the Earth system. It will connect microbially-mediated processes to ocean-wide fluxes, combine genomic-level studies with assessments of elemental budgets, and allow extrapolations to the global ocean through remote sensing. This program will catalyze further innovations in ocean instruments and observation platforms, and will serve as a broad template for both ocean science research and education.
The proposed BGF-OOI program is shaped by the urgent need to understand the ocean’s capacity to take up anthropogenic CO2. In addition to constraining productivity in and export from the surface ocean, this program will provide key constraints on organic carbon consumption with depth and remineralization rates that influence CO2 generation and storage in the world ocean. There are other pressing reasons to initiate this study. For example, grave concerns exist over global food availability in the near future, and whether ocean productivity can sustain the fisheries essential for many cultures. Accurate assessments of present and future ocean productivity are crucial for making robust predictions, and the observations proposed here are essential for calibrating remote sensing data in order to develop global assessments of ocean productivity.
Partnering with other elements of the OOI program will lead to an overall strengthening of educational and outreach efforts while affording considerable cost savings due to minimal additional ship time requirements. We will also take advantage of OOI Cyber-Infrastructure and adhere to OOI’s policy for data distribution and publication.