Tag Archives: Phytoplankton

The marine nitrogen cycle

This is the first of two articles to be written by Elizabeth Sargent on the marine nitrogen cycle; the second article will go into more depth on nitrogen fixers (or, as Liz refers to them: ‘the diazotrophic organisms I hold near and dear’).

The marine nitrogen cycle (modified from http://bit.ly/wC3xZo)

The marine nitrogen cycle is one of the most complicated biogeochemical cycles in the ocean.  Nitrogen is a biologically limiting element and changes in its form, or concentration, can cause changes in the cycling of other elements, such as carbon and phosphorus. Marine nitrogen cycling has been and will continue to be an integral component of ocean biogeochemistry, so everyone should know at least the basics. Continue reading The marine nitrogen cycle

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Overseas: the wonder and worries of a marine scientist abroad

With the oceans covering 70% of the planet, it’s inevitable that, as a marine scientist, the opportunity and often necessity for international travel will present itself. Pursuing a career in a highly specialised field may mean leaving your home to work with the brightest and best. Or perhaps your interests are regional: the polar regions, for example, represent some of the most dynamic and urgent areas for oceanographic research in the current climate. A lot of us study science not just for interest in the subject but also Continue reading Overseas: the wonder and worries of a marine scientist abroad

It takes a special kind of person to be a phytoplankton ecologist

Within my first two years of undergrad, I’ve been lucky enough to participate in two research programs, at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City, North Carolina, and at UT’s Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, Texas. Despite nearly 1000 miles separating the two places, there were several striking similarities. Between the charmingly goofy professors, the diverse group of undergrads (many of which are sometimes crammed into one small dorm room), and the laid back atmosphere of beach towns, I felt like I have a pretty good knowledge of what a typical marine science research extravaganza entailed, that is, until all of that was crammed onto a 135-foot boat. Continue reading It takes a special kind of person to be a phytoplankton ecologist

I’m a marine biologist, but…

…I wish that what I did sounded a bit less interesting.

Let me explain: I really do love what I do, but what I dread more than anything else is telling ‘non marine biologists’ about it. You see, there are (generally) only two responses that you get when you tell someone that you are a marine biologist:

This is what most of my friends think I do at work (from http://bit.ly/waMItn)

1) “So what the hell are you going to do with that?” often accompanied by a look of bemusement suggesting that you are currently in the process of throwing your life away

Or, and I think this is actually worse…

2) “Wow, so do you get to work with (swim with) sharks, dolphins, whales, turtles (etc.) then?”

Continue reading I’m a marine biologist, but…