Dr. Colleen Durkin

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Research Interests

  • phytoplankton
  • genetics
  • silica
  • diatoms

Biography

I am a biological oceanographer who studies phytoplankton and the biological pump: the process by which carbon is transported to the deep ocean by sinking particles. Carbon is fixed into organic matter in the surface ocean by phytoplankton, so the response of phytoplankton to changing environmental conditions has a direct influence on the carbon cycle and other biogeochemical cycles. I use imaging techniques and molecular methods in the lab and in the field to identify the cellular responses of different species to changing environmental conditions. In the lab, I use sinking experiments to identify how these responses influence downward movement, and in the field I deploy sediment traps to identify which particles and plankton are exported out of the surface and to quantify their influence on carbon export.

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