Emerging Applications of Longstanding Autonomous Ocean Carbon Observations
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Emerging Applications of Longstanding Autonomous Ocean Carbon Observations

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    The NOAA Vents program was established in 1983 at the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL; Hammond et al., 2015), just six years after the discovery of hydrothermal vents and their unique chemosynthetic ecosystems (Corliss et al., 1979). Because seafloor hydrothermal venting contributes significantly to the transfer of heat and mass from the solid Earth to the ocean, the program’s mission was to systematically explore, discover, and characterize the environmental impacts of submarine volcanism and hydrothermal venting on ocean physical, chemical, and biological processes. The program initially focused on the mid-ocean spreading centers in PMEL’s “backyard” (i.e., the Gorda, Juan de Fuca, and Endeavour Ridges in the Northeast Pacific) where segment-scale surveys detected plumes in the water column above the ridge crest that led to the discovery of numerous individual vent fields (see Hammond et al., 2015, and references therein). New technologies and techniques were created and/or adapted to address the challenges of finding and studying these vents. Repeat visits to the Northeast Pacific sites documented spatial and temporal changes, stimulating the development of new hypotheses about their associated biogeochemical processes. However, testing how broadly applicable these hypotheses would be on a global scale required discovering new vent sites from a far wider range of geological settings, and global-scale exploration requires significant resources.
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    Oceanography (2023)
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    CC BY
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