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Marine biogeochemistry is the study of how microscopic organisms like bacteria and phytoplankton modify the chemistry of the ocean, and at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Joseph Vallino’s work as Senior Scientist revolves around it.

Tune in to learn:

  • How microbes are distributed in the ocean and what kinds of processes and metabolic functions they carry out
  • How the differences and similarities between living and nonliving systems is helping Vallino elucidate how living organisms might organize
  • How the theory of maximum entropy production relates to marine chemistry and microbial function

In a single liter of ocean water, there are billions of bacteria, which makes it difficult to identify all the players at any one time. In turn, this makes it difficult to understand the overall chemistry of the ocean, since each microbial process contributes to it.

In an attempt to overcome this challenge, Joseph Vallino is developing different approaches based on ideas derived from thermodynamics. His aim is to develop a better understanding of ocean chemistry and the ways in which biological systems organize.

He explains his unique approach to this problem and discusses a number of fascinating topics, including areas of active research in the field such as energy utilization science and microbial energy research.

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