I've been educated in physical oceanography, which includes investigating the oceans'
properties like temperature, pressure and salinity. These help to distinguish
different water masses. Winds, different pressure and density as well as the earth's
rotation are driving forces that are responsible for large scale ocean currents.
The gravity forces of moon and sun create ebb and flood - the tides.
Through the years I extended my resarch topics including biological, chemical and
geophysical aspects. While biological oceanography focuses on the environmental influence
and interaction of marine life (from whales to tiny plankton), chemical oceanography
considers the elements in the ocean.
Biogeochemistry is an interdisciplinary part of oceanography, which combines the
the research of these different disciplines.
I use computer models to calculate the cycling of relevant elements.
Ocean models are used to calculate marine processes using mathematical equations.
Marine physical models calculate mass transport as well as temperature and salinity.
Biogeochemical models also calculate the matter cycles in the sea:
- carbon is the basic building block of life.
- nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorus are important for growth.
- oxygen is important for respiration - this is the same in the ocean.
The research of marine biogeochemistry has generally two purposes: To better understand
the oceans and the processes within and to make predictions for the future based on
existing knowledge and previous development.
This includes practical purposes like water levels for the tidal predictions, but we are also interested
in the marine development in the coming months, years or decades.
This is influenced by the climate through air-sea processes as well as human impact, e.g.
through coastal development, fisheries
To improve the calculations we need cooperation of scientists from different fields
("inter-disciplinary"). Thus, model equations and parameterizations are based on observations
and further data are used to validate the results.