GEOTRACES Pacific Meridional Transect: Measurement of 7Be as a Tracer of Upper Ocean Processes Grant

GEOTRACES Pacific Meridional Transect: Measurement of 7Be as a Tracer of Upper Ocean Processes .


  • The goal of the international GEOTRACES program is to understand the distributions of trace chemical elements and their isotopes in the oceans. One of the stated goals in the GEOTRACES Science Plan is to "create a unique opportunity for exploration and discovery by determining the distributions of novel trace elements and isotopes (TEIs) that have received little attention to date." This is a proposal to make measurements of one such species, the radioactive isotope beryllium-7 which will provide important biogeochemical rate information pertinent to the TEIs that will be measured during the 2018 U.S. GEOTRACES Pacific Meridional transect from Tahiti to Alaska. Many processes in the ocean cannot be directly observed and as such, tracers are used to provide important constraints on their rates and pathways. Beryllium-7 is a tracer that, because of its half-life (53.3 days), allows the study of processes which occur over time scales and depth scales that are otherwise difficult to obtain but which are critically important to studies of biological production, nutrient regeneration, and atmospheric deposition, to name a few. Advances in sampling and analytical techniques, coupled with a better understanding of the behavior of Be-7 in ocean biogeochemical cycles, present an opportunity to fully utilize this tracer.The proposed work has three main components:1) Measurements of Be-7 in the surface waters and in the lower atmosphere along the cruise track will provide estimates of the atmospheric input of relevant TEIs. The atmospheric input into the global ocean is an important budgetary component of numerous chemical species, yet is very difficult to constrain. The data generated in this work will be available to allow ground-truthing of models of aerosol deposition and atmospheric input of trace elements.2) Water column measurements of Be-7 provide a tracer of physical processes, such as mixing and upwelling, which redistribute biologically active species. Given quantitative knowledge of the circulation, mixing and ventilation of the water masses within which TEIs reside allows an assessment of the time- and space-integrated in situ biogeochemical behavior of these elements.3) The rate of oxygen utilization within the upper thermocline will be determined by water column measurements of Be-7 coupled with collected hydrographic data and observed oxygen distributions. The seasonal timescale afforded by Be-7 is ideal for estimating OUR within the shallow water just beneath the euphotic zone, where the most significant C remineralization is occurring. The project will support undergraduate student researchers at Florida International University, a leading minority serving institution. Lead investigator Kadko will participate in the Nippon Foundation - Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans Center of Excellence (NF-POGO CofE), a unique platform which aims to provide world class training programs for students from emerging countries. Kadko will be offering an advanced topic course in chemical oceanography to these students during a stay at the Alfred Wegener Institute of Polar Studies. This outreach effort is consistent with the capacity building and educational goals of GEOTRACES as well as promoting international collaboration.

date/time interval

  • September 1, 2017 - August 31, 2022

administered by

sponsor award ID

  • 1736319