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The Ocean is Earth’s Oxygen Bank

Oxygen is like money for Earth, and the ocean acts like a bank. Deposits are made in three ocean layers:

  1. At the surface through exchange with air
  2. In the water, when phytoplankton produce O2 from sunlight and CO2
  3.  On the seafloor, where plants and corals live

Withdrawals occur when organisms consume oxygen. Oxygen is tightly connected to life in the ocean and can tell us a lot about an ecosystem’s health and productivity. WHOI scientists are exploring means to create an ocean oxygen budget, which has been difficult until now.


Animation based on the following publications:

Closing the oxygen mass balance in shallow coastal ecosystems (Long et al. 2019) 

Ebullition of oxygen from seagrass under supersaturated conditions (Long et al. 2019) 

Funded by:

NSF (National Science Foundation)

Machine Lab (Marine chemistry, instrumentation & engineering)

Matthew Long

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