FSU Plankton Ecology and

Biogeochemistry Lab


Our research interests span the intersection of plankton ecology and marine biogeochemistry. Phytoplankton living in the surface ocean are responsible for roughly half of the planet's photosynthesis, but most of the CO2 taken up by phytoplankton is rapidly released back into the joint surface ocean-atmosphere system after respiration by grazers and bacteria. Efficient storage of the fixed carbon is dependent on assorted mechanisms that transport organic material into the deep ocean. Of particular importance are particle packaging processes that create or destroy large particles capable of sinking rapidly into the ocean. These processes are mediated by complex interactions between phytoplankton, zooplankton, bacteria, and physical aggregation mechanisms.


Elucidating these relationships, which are key to understanding how the ocean's ability to sequester carbon will adapt to a changing climate, is the focus of our research and requires the use of many different methods. In study regions across the globe, We've used diverse methods (sediment traps, 234Th:238U disequilibrium, microzooplankton dilutions, mesozooplankton gut pigments, and 15N2, 15NH4+, 15NO3-, and H14CO3- uptake) to measure relevant in situ rates. We then use a series of analytical tools varying from simple trophic models to inverse ecosystem models and three-dimensional coupled biogeochemical models to synthesize these results.


Specific research interests can be found on the left.


This portion of our website is specifically designed to showcase our research for other oceanographers.  If you would like a broader overview of our work that was designed to be more accessible to the general public, please click on the 'Outreach' link on the top right.


Contact: Mike Stukel (mstukel@fsu.edu)

Florida State University

Dept. of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science

Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies