This award will provide three years of continuing support for the U.S. GEOTRACES Project Office at the Lamont-Dougherty earth Observatory of Columbia University. The Office works under the direction of the U.S. GEOTRACES Scientific Steering Committee to support all aspects of the GEOTRACES program, including enabling activities (preparation and distribution of standard reference materials; intercalibration; modelling; data management) and field expeditions (science planning; cruise logistics; synthesis of results). The GEOTRACES program is designed to study the global marine biogeochemical cycles of trace elements and their isotopes (TEIs), employing a multi-tracer approach to characterize the sources, sinks and internal cycling of TEIs while also quantifying the rates of these processes wherever possible. Biogeochemical cycling of TEIs has direct implications for research in such diverse areas as the carbon cycle, climate change, ocean ecosystems, and environmental contamination. GEOTRACES promises clear benefits to each of these areas by significantly advancing knowledge of the marine biogeochemical cycles of TEIs.
Broader Impacts: GEOTRACES contributes to the training of the next generation of oceanographers by involving a large number of graduate students and post docs. It was evident in JGOFS and other recent programs that participation benefited young people by giving them exposure to peers and to potential future employers. It also informs young people about the procedures for developing new programs and the benefits thereof. GEOTRACES has also established community building as one of its highest priorities. At the international level, this involves expanding the distribution of technologies for contamination-free sampling at sea, and training investigators to use those new technologies. In the U.S., community building is focused more on sharing the GEOTRACES experience with other sectors of the oceanographic community, freely providing information, assistance and advice to those who wish to follow a path like that of GEOTRACES and organize their own coordinated effort to attack substantial problems in oceanography that are too complex to address by small groups or individual PI projects.