Marine Ecosystem Research
Marine ecosystem research at PMEL is focused on measuring, understanding, and predicting impacts of natural physical, chemical, biological, geological, and anthropogenic processes on the oceanic web of life. PMEL's primary contribution is to put the biological research into the context of the physical and geochemical settings. PMEL marine ecosystem research is focused primarily along the U.S. Pacific and Arctic ocean coastal zones, but efforts are global with respect to explorative research and fundamental processes.
Marine Ecosystem Research Activities
Ecosystems & Fisheries Oceanography Coordinated Investigations (EcoFOCI) - EcoFOCI is a collaborative research effort by both UW (JISAO) and NOAA scientists at the Pacific Marine Environmental Lab (PMEL) and the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) who focus on the unique and economically important high-latitude ecosystems of Alaska. The mission of the EcoFOCI Program is to understand the dynamic relationships among climate, fisheries, and the marine environment to ensure sustainability of Alaskan living marine resources and healthy ecosystems.
Earth-Ocean Interactions - Renowned for interdisciplinary seafloor and water column processes work at numerous volcanic and hydrothermal sites around the globe, this group discovers unique chemosynthetic ecosystems and studies biogeochemical processes of global importance to address the NOAA goals of healthy oceans, technology development, and ocean stewardship.
Acoustics - Using autonomous stationary hydrophones, mobile platforms such as ocean gliders and floats equipped with acoustic sensors, and cabled observatories the Acoustics group studies both natural and anthropogenic sounds in the marine environment.
Ocean Carbon - In the open and coastal oceans, the Ocean Carbon group is currently making high-quality measurements of ocean acidification parameters, as well as ancillary properties, such as dissolved oxygen an nutrients that are related to ecosystem research.
Genetics and Genomics Group - The Genetics and Genomics Group (G3) seeks to survey and understand oceanic biological community responses to physical and chemical oceanographic parameters. We use state-of-the-art metabarcoding approaches to identify, quantify, and assess component species and population genetic relationships for invertebrates and fish using plankton and environmental DNA (eDNA) water and sediment samples collected via ROVs, CTD casts, plankton tows, and sediment core sampling. Our research is focused mainly on the North American West Coast, Salish Sea, Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, and U.S. Arctic ecosystems, as well as deep sea vents and seeps across the Pacific. Comparison of biological, physical, and chemical oceanographic parameters allows us to predict the effects on marine ecosystems of environmental change such as acidification, warming, and hypoxia. This knowledge helps enhance the growth of the U.S. blue economy and contributes to the NOAA mission to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.