The influence of plankton food-web structure on the efficiency of the biological carbon pump

The biological carbon pump (BCP) is a complex suite of processes responsible for transporting organic matter produced in the surface ocean to depth. As such, it is an important mechanism in controlling the sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and its storage on time scales of decades to centuries. This receives special attention in light of the rising anthropogenic CO2 emissions, which are unprecedented in the recent geological history of this planet. Despite its importance, we are still lacking a mechanistic understanding of the processes controlling the efficiency of the BCP. Over the past decade, the focus has increasingly shifted towards illuminating the effect of differences in ecosystem structure on organic matter export. This doctoral dissertation thus aimed and succeeded to reveal patterns in the relation between food-web structure changes and the efficiency of the BCP and circumstantiated recent concepts in this field of research. Furthermore, this work exemplifies that the methodological approach of utilizing in situ mesocosms can make a significant contribution to BCP research, for it allows answering questions that conventional methods have not been able to address.


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