Matthew Church, University of Hawaii
Eric Grabowski, University of Hawaii
Drew Briscoe, Monterey, California
David M. Karl, University of Hawaii
Ocean ecosystems constitute more than 70% of the Earth’s surface area, and these massive watery habitats are home to some of the smallest organisms on the planet. These abundant microscopic organisms influence climate through the production and consumption of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2). Since 1988, the Hawaii Ocean Time-series (HOT) program has studied the open ocean waters of the subtropical North Pacific Ocean, one of Earth’s largest ecosystems. More than 25 years of monthly HOT program observations have yielded numerous discoveries on the importance of microorganisms in sustaining Earth’s habitability, including the role these organisms play in the production of oxygen and consumption of CO2 through photosynthesis. HOT measurements also highlight steady increases in ocean CO2 concentrations and seawater acidity in response to human-derived atmospheric CO2. Such time series observations are necessary for helping to build understanding of how changes in Earth’s climate are influencing marine life.
Microbial oceanography and the Hawaii Ocean Time-series programme