Joshua Bocarsly ’15
Atmospheric Deposition in the Open Ocean
The organic molecules dissolved in ocean water shape and regulate the quantity and quality of light available to organisms beneath the ocean surface. In coastal waters, most of this chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) can be easily traced to nearby rivers. In contrast, the source, nature, fate, and composition of open ocean CDOM are largely unknown. I spent this summer investigating the hypothesis that atmospheric deposition is the major source of open ocean surface water CDOM. This investigation was carried out as part of the Bermuda Bio Optics Project, an ongoing study at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS). Using air and water samples I collected from the Sargasso Sea during two week-long cruises, I was able to provide the first convincing demonstration that atmospheric deposition is responsible for a significant portion of open ocean CDOM. This internship was a whirlwind of new experiences: I spent time in the middle of the ocean, used analytical chemistry techniques I previously did not know existed, and learned from many highly respected ocean scientists. These experiences have strengthened my interest in chemistry and opened me up to opportunities in the field that I never before considered.
Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, Bermuda
Natasha McDonald, BIOS