Carbon cycles of the Anthropocene oceans

Research group based at CEREGE, Aix-en-Provence, France

Hanna van de Mortel

MSc student / Utrecht Uni.

Working with Olivier, we examined the effect of aragonite flux on calcite dissolution on the seafloor. Whilst this was originally supposed to include sending (very fragile) micro-electrodes to the seafloor during a research cruise, the pandemic meant we instead got to recreate the seafloor environment in the lab and use the electrodes in a much safer environment (which was probably for the best considering how many were broken in the process). There is growing evidence that aragonite is present at the seafloor despite rarely being buried. Olivier had modelled this situation and found that the presence of aragonite could suppress calcite dissolution in undersaturated waters. We simulated this situation in the lab and found further evidence for this buffering effect, which may even lead to calcite precipitation. This highlights the importance of considering aragonite as a key-player in the marine carbon cycle.
After this project, I worked with Vesta, a company investigating coastal enhanced weathering of olivine as a means of carbon capture. I monitored the chemical effects and carbon removal rates at the world’s first field pilot for coastal enhanced weathering of olivine. I am now continuing my research in ocean alkalinity enhancement with a remote position at the National Institute of Biology (Slovenia) where I have been synthesizing data and am creating a model to predict the biological effects of ocean alkalinity enhancement. I enjoy this area of research as it combines my interests in aquatic geochemistry and is able to mitigate climate change and ocean acidification.   
The coming 6 months I will be doing something completely different: hiking Te Araroa, a 3000 km trail through New Zealand. Once I get back I hope to know what the next step will be, hopefully I will be continuing my research in marine-related carbon removal! 

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