For all of the importance ocean health has for humans, much about the marine ecosystem remains unknown. “The more time I spend at sea,” says University of Rhode Island (URI) oceanography Professor Susanne Menden- Deuer, “the more I understand how big, complex and vastly unknown the ocean is.” As part of a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) groundbreaking field campaign in concert with the National Science Foundation (NSF), Menden-Deuer aims to fill in some of these critical blanks. Her project, Quantifying plankton predation rates, their effects on primary production, phytoplankton community composition, size spectra and potential for export, was funded through NASA’s EXPORTS program in August 2018.

“NASA is really visionary in not only studying outer space, but also studying planet Earth,” Menden-Deuer explains. “It is a tremendous opportunity to help define a NASA mission that addresses fundamental processes in the Earth’s ecosystem to which the ocean is intricately linked.” Menden-Deuer and URI Professor Tatiana Rynearson (article page 10) are part of the effort to link NASA satellite’s remote observations of the ocean’s surface with the activity that takes place deep below. The new project they lead primarily focuses on the grazing of microscopic, single-celled predators that eat phytoplankton. The abundance of these predators affects the amount and species composition of phytoplankton, organisms that help regulate the global carbon cycle by absorbing carbon dioxide from the

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