ERC Starting Grant for Griet Neukermans

(16-04-2021) Oceanographer Griet Neukermans has received an ERC Starting Grant. With this grant, she will be able to expand her Marine Optics and Remote Sensing (MarSens) research group and conduct groundbreaking research over the next five years.

Our oceans act like a kind of 'carbon pump', where CO2 from the atmosphere is stored deep in the ocean through biological processes. This allows carbon to 'disappear' from our atmosphere for years to centuries. However, we still don't quite understand how this carbon pump works. The MarSens team, led by Griet Neukermans, now wants to change that.

With her CarbOcean project, Griet Neukermans will develop a new optical sensor with which she can measure inorganic carbon particles in the ocean. These sensors are specially designed for integration on 'ocean robots' that are deployed in different oceanic regions. There, these robots will take biological carbon measurements from the well-lit ocean surface to the deep, dark ocean (the twilight zone). In this way, the researchers hope to uncover the mechanisms of the carbon pump.

Griet Neukermans is professor in the Department of Biology at Ghent University after an international career through the University of California (USA), Université Laval (Canada) and Sorbonne Université (France).

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