Uta Passow (Homepage)Research Scientist
Marine Science Institute
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
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Research interests: Ocean acidification, Marine snow, Exopolymers, Carbon cycling, Sedimentation
I’m interested in the variability of the carbonate system as well as in marine snow formation in the near-shore areas off Santa Barbara. Currently we are collecting weekly samples and measuring pH, DIC (dissolved inorganic carbon) and TA (total alkalinity) to ground-truth the data from simultaneously deployed SeaFet sensors, which measure pH continuously. Understanding factors that drive the high variability in the carbonate systems and the biological response to these fluctuations are a prerequisite towards understanding consequences of ocean acidification. I’m also exploring the role of kelp forests as a particle trap for material swept into the oceans via rivers or by run-off. I suggest that marine snow formation is enhanced in kelp forests and that this marine snow, as well as the kelp fronds themselves, preferentially scavenge particles, effectively removing them from the water column.