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Sediment trap

Collecting Ocean Particles

Wayne Bailey, former bosun on R/V Atlantis, is shown preparing a sediment trap for deployment from the ship. Sediment traps collect small particles sinking or drifting in the water column over periods of a year or more. Scientists use samples collected by these instruments to understand how fast particles move from the surface ocean, where they originate, to the ocean floor. Some of what they learn is helping improve understanding of the amount of atmospheric carbon being taken up by the ocean and, therefore, the human contribution to global warming. (Photo by Dan Fornari, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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