From Nano-Gels to Marine Snow: A Synthesis of Gel Formation Processes and Modeling Efforts Involved with Particle Flux in the Ocean. Academic Article uri icon


  • Marine gels (nano-, micro-, macro-) and marine snow play important roles in regulating global and basin-scale ocean biogeochemical cycling. Exopolymeric substances (EPS) including transparent exopolymer particles (TEP) that form from nano-gel precursors are abundant materials in the ocean, accounting for an estimated 700 Gt of carbon in seawater. This supports local microbial communities that play a critical role in the cycling of carbon and other macro- and micro-elements in the ocean. Recent studies have furthered our understanding of the formation and properties of these materials, but the relationship between the microbial polymers released into the ocean and marine snow remains unclear. Recent studies suggest developing a (relatively) simple model that is tractable and related to the available data will enable us to step forward into new research by following marine snow formation under different conditions. In this review, we synthesize the chemical and physical processes. We emphasize where these connections may lead to a predictive, mechanistic understanding of the role of gels in marine snow formation and the biogeochemical functioning of the ocean.

published proceedings

  • Gels

altmetric score

  • 58

author list (cited authors)

  • Quigg, A., Santschi, P. H., Burd, A., Chin, W., Kamalanathan, M., Xu, C., & Ziervogel, K.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Quigg, Antonietta||Santschi, Peter H||Burd, Adrian||Chin, Wei-Chun||Kamalanathan, Manoj||Xu, Chen||Ziervogel, Kai

publication date

  • January 2021


published in