Collaborative Research: Calibration and application of vascular plant and aqueous microbial biomarkers to examine transformations of dissolved organic matter
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Organic matter (OM) fluxes between and within terrestrial and oceanic reservoirs play an important role in the global carbon cycle. A clearer understanding of OM dynamics is critical for understanding fundamental processes and effects on greenhouse gases and climate. At present, researchers have an abundance of analytical methods and tools for investigating dissolved organic matter (DOM) cycling, but the field struggles to move past a qualitative understanding of sources, processing, and fates toward a quantitative understanding. Researchers from University of California-Davis, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and Texas A&M University will develop biomarker tools to advance quantitative understanding of DOM cycling in riverine and estuarine environments in California, specifically targeting vascular plant and microbial markers. Results from this study will allow for future biomarker studies to quantitatively address DOM source and processing in aquatic environments and improve the limited understanding of the fate of terrestrial DOM in the ocean. Broader Impacts: This study will provide interdisciplinary scientific training and development for undergraduate and graduate students, including individuals from underrepresented groups. Results from the study will be disseminated to the public, California stakeholders, and college students to educate them about the carbon cycle.