James Bishop is a professor of Marine Science in the Department of Earth and Planetary Science. At sea, his research group's focus is to understand and thus gain predictive capability of how biological processes operate to transform and transport carbon in the sea. The carbon flows in the ocean are substantial and there are open questions regarding the stability of these flows due to human induced warming and acidification of the ocean. Is the ocean biological carbon pump strengthening (good) or weakening (bad)? We just don't know. We need to find out. That is what motivates their development of autonomous ocean carbon observing sensors and robots. On land, as part of the NSF funded Eel River Critical Zone Observaory, they have applied ocean robotic methodology to enable high frequency observations of the chemistry of water as it transits the forest canopy and the unsaturated soils and fractured bedrock to form ground water on its way to the ocean.
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What’s life like aboard a scientific research vessel plying the California coast deploying robots to unlock important data about climate change?
University of California, Berkeley, scientists will receive $4,900,000 over the next five years to study the nearly 10,000 square kilometer Eel River watershed in Northern California and how its vegetation, geology and topography affect water flow all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
Marine plankton convert a huge portion of the carbon in seawater into seafood. Exactly how much of this biological carbon gets stored in the oceans has a tremendous impact on future climate scenarios. Jim Bishop, a Berkeley professor of earth and planetary science, has designed robots that can measure ocean carbon in all seasons and weathers—critical data for a warming world.