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Research Fellows Directory

Eric Achterberg

Professor Eric Achterberg

Research Fellow


University of Southampton

Research summary

The burning of fossil fuels is releasing vast quantities of extra carbon dioxide to the Earth's atmosphere. Much of this stays in the atmosphere, raising CO2 levels, but much also leaves the atmosphere after a time, either to become sequestered in trees and plants, or else to become absorbed by dissolution in the oceans or biologically sequestered by small plants (phytoplankton) in the ocean with subsequent transport to the deep ocean for long-term storage. CO2 staying in the atmosphere is a greenhouse gas, causing global warming. CO2 entering the sea by dissolution makes it more acidic, and the ongoing acidification of seawater is seen in observational records at various sites where time-series data are collected. CO2 being sequestered by phytoplankton is a natural removal system but the efficiency of this process is low in many ocean regions due to an insufficient supply of nutrients (nitrate, phosphate and iron). In my research I am looking at the change in pH of the world's ocean, and the effects on phytoplankton and other organisms. In addition, I study the effects of additions of phytoplankton growth limiting nutrients on the stimulation of CO2 uptake by the ocean.

Grants awarded

Ocean carbon uptake through physical and biological processes

Scheme: Wolfson Research Merit Awards

Dates: Aug 2012 - Oct 2013

Value: £50,000