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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Awardee:WOODS HOLE OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION
Doing Business As Name:Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
PD/PI:
  • Tristan Horner
  • (508) 289-3825
  • Tristan.Horner@whoi.edu
Co-PD(s)/co-PI(s):
  • Matthew A Charette
Award Date:07/27/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 587,649
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 164,294
  • FY 2021=$164,294
Start Date:10/01/2021
End Date:09/30/2024
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:US GEOTRACES GP17-OCE: Investigating the role of the Southern Ocean's biogeochemical divide in shaping the global distributions of radium and barium isotopes
Federal Award ID Number:2048604
DUNS ID:001766682
Parent DUNS ID:001766682
Program:Chemical Oceanography
Program Officer:
  • Henrietta Edmonds
  • (703) 292-7427
  • hedmonds@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:266 Wood Hole Road
City:Woods Hole
State:MA
ZIP:02543-1535
County:Woods Hole
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:09

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Street:266 Woods Hole Rd. MS #39
City:Woods Hole
State:MA
ZIP:02543-1535
County:Woods Hole
Country:US
Cong. District:09

Abstract at Time of Award

The GEOTRACES program aims to understand the distribution of trace elements and their isotopes in the oceans. Trace elements, by their very nature, are scarce. Despite their scarcity, trace elements are valuable tools for studying marine processes, such as: tracking chemical inputs to the ocean from the land or seafloor, identifying patterns of ocean mixing, and tracing ocean biology. This project will study these processes by measuring and modeling the distributions of two chemically similar elements — radium and barium. These measurements will be made on samples collected as part of the U.S. GEOTRACES GP17-OCE expedition. This expedition will collect samples from the Southern Ocean in late 2022. The Southern Ocean experiences deep mixing, which is important for bringing nutrients to the sea surface. Measuring radium and barium isotopes in these samples will help study the sources, cycling, and sinks of nutrients that support marine biology in the Southern Ocean and beyond. The findings will be shared with regional science teachers and students through a collaboration with the local Sea Grant Program, and the data will support the research of other scientists involved in GEOTRACES. The last 25 years have seen a paradigm shift in our understanding of the controls on marine nutrient cycles. Rather than arising from local vertical processes, the large-scale distributions of many elements are now thought to arise from processes occurring in the Southern Ocean, which are then communicated to lower latitudes through lateral circulation. A circulation-driven mechanism is also hypothesized to contribute to the global distributions of radium and barium isotopes, but this remains to be tested. In this project, researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will test this hypothesis by analyzing radium and barium isotopes in dissolved and particulate samples collected from the Pacific Sector of the Southern Ocean. These measurements will establish compositions for the southern-sourced mode/intermediate and bottom waters that are important end-members in the global overturning circulation. The team will also study the processes that control the composition of the end-members — particle formation and dissolution, interactions with sediments, hydrothermalism — and assess their significance using statistical and mechanistic modeling. The results will reveal the role of the Southern Ocean in controlling the global distributions of radium and barium isotopes, which will help refine the application of these tracers as tools for studying biogeochemical processes in the present and past oceans. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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