My research is in the area of biological and chemical aquatic science and focuses on microbial life in the ocean and coastal waters. A large part of my work pertains to the microbial photoautotrophs (phytoplankton) of the ocean. Phytoplankton are responsible for almost half of the total photosynthesis on the planet. Due to the fact that phytoplankton are the base of the marine food web, phytoplankton ecology contributes to the analysis of the production of fish, birds and mammals in the sea. Plankton also play a large role in the carbon cycle and other biogeochemical cycles in the sea. Phytoplankton growth redistributes material from the surface of the ocean to depth and exchanges material with bacteria and ocean water throughout the water column and sediments. These are critical steps that determine ocean nutrient levels as well as help to define the ocean's role in the adsorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. I typically work in large, oceanographic, field programs to investigate how ocean production systems respond to changes caused by climatic variation, particularly in polar regions.