Dr. Robert Vaillancourt
Earth Institute Contact: Dr. Robert Vaillancourt
Additional External Researchers:
J. Marra, V. Lance
The student will participate in an existing NSF-funded project awarded to Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory scientists RD Vaillancourt and J. Marra entitled “The Control of Photosynthetic Quantum Yield of Phytoplankton by Light Intensity and Diapycnal Nutrient Flux” (OCE Bio Oce, Award #0550727). Briefly, we are asking the question: how is the quantum yield (φmax) of phytoplankton photosynthesis regulated? We believe that in the lower part of the euphotic zone in the seasonal pycnocline, the upward flux of nutrients regulates the value of φmax, while in the upper part, irradiance governs its value, through the pigment composition of the phytoplankton. We will test our hypothesis by making estimates of φmax through very careful and comprehensive measurements of the bio-optical properties and species composition of the phytoplankton, as well as the submarine light environment, hydrography and nutrients. Our measurements will be along both temporal and spatial gradients in the ocean to create the basis for environmental regulation of φmax.
National Science Foundation