CO2 Chemistry, Ocean Acidification, and Sensor Development

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Zhaohui Aleck Wang

In the CO2 chemistry lab, we study seawater carbonate chemistry, coastal carbon cycle, ocean acidification (OA), and the marsh carbon cycle. Specifically, my lab group focuses on understanding how CO2, inorganic carbon species and fluxes are controlled by natural and anthropogenic factors, and how the marine CO2 system will change under climate change and ocean acidification and the effects due to these changes. We are also specialized to develop in situ sensors to measure seawater CO2 parameters and other chemical species. We use cutting-edge sensors to improve our understanding of inorganic carbon biogeochemistry in aquatic systems and impacts of ocean acidification. Potential summer projects include:

1) Developing a Miniaturized In-situ Sensor Technology for Simultaneous Measurements of Seawater Dissolved Inorganic Carbon and pCO2. Development of robust sensors to enhance our capability to monitor and study ocean acidification has been widely recognized as a research priority in the carbon and OA research communities in order to more effectively study OA and the carbon cycle. The larger goal of the project is to develop a miniaturized in-situ sensor, CHANOS II, for simultaneous, spectrophotometric measurements of seawater DIC and pCO2 with high-frequency (~1 Hz) up to 1000 m of water depth. The summer project will involve collaborating with engineers and scientists to test, improve, and deploy the new sensor in various coastal environments, potentially in shelf water and at tidal salt marshes.

2) The Role and Mechanisms of Nuclei-induced Calcium Carbonate Precipitation in the Coastal Carbon Cycle: A First In-depth Study. One of the most important and fundamental pathways in the marine carbon cycle is formation of CaCO3 minerals (e.g., calcite and aragonite), which may occur through biological production and abiotic (chemical) precipitation of CaCO3. Understanding and quantifying the production of CaCO3 are essential to characterize the marine carbon cycle and to project responses of marine ecosystems under anthropogenic CO2 perturbations. The goal of this project is to conduct the first comprehensive, in-depth study to evaluate the significance of NICP as an in-situ biogeochemical process. The summer project will include planning and setting-up controlled lab experiments in which the effects of suspended materials (e.g. dust and river-borne particles) on the dissolved CO2 system will be studied. The summer student will also analyze and synthesize the results.

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