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OLI Grant: Deuterated Tracers for DMS Dynamics in Seawater

Grant Funded: 2004

Understanding the dynamics of dimethylsulfide and its precursor in seawater is essential to understanding a proposed feedback wherein ocean biology influences global climate. DMS is widely recognized as an important source of aerosols once it reaches the atmosphere. Such aerosols tend to decrease the radiative input of heat from the sun by reflecting light back to space partly by inducing cloud formation. DMS is always highly concentrated in seawater relative to the atmosphere, but its concentration is highly variable due to the myriad processes involved in its production and consumption. This project is the first attempt to measure the turnover of DMS and its main precursor DMSP in seawater using a stable isotope tracer. The unique combination of tracers I propose to use allows the simultaneous tracing of dissolved DMSP turnover and DMS turnover in the same sample. During this project, I will continue to develop this new method in laboratory cultures, in oligotrophic ocean water and in Antarctic waters.

Originally published: February 1, 2004