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Knauss Lecture Series

12-1PM EST Thursday December 12, 2013 NOAA Central Library, 2nd Floor SSMC3

Ammonium cycling in the rocky intertidal: remineralization, removal and retention

Santhiska Pather, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water, Office of Science and Technology

Rocky intertidal productivity is traditionally thought to be sustained almost solely by upwelled nitrate with remineralized forms of minor importance. Using tidepools as natural experimental mesocosms, we conducted 15N tracer experiments to test whether ammonium remineralized within the rocky 
intertidal is also a significant source of fixed N to localized ecosystem production. Comparison of tidepools with and without the dominant bivalve, Mytilus californianus, allowed consideration of its role in NH4+ cycling. Closed water incubation bottles were used to investigate the contribution of suspended microbes to NH4+ cycling. Tidepools with mussels had both greater NH4+ remineralization (two times) and NH4+ removal as compared to those without, with daytime rates greater than nighttime rates. Incorporation of 15NH4+ tracer by particulate organic matter and macroalgae, and the persistence of this signal in tidepools for several days following the experiment, showed retention of autochthonous NH4+ in the system. Remineralization rates were tightly correlated to removal rates when compared over all treatments and experiments, but NH4+ remineralization was significantly greater than removal, suggesting a surplus available to nearshore primary producers.

The value of communicating science: Lessons from the Fellowship

Leslie Irwin, NOAA OAR Office of Communications 

As scientists in varying fields of research and academia, there is a significant emphasis placed on peer-reviewed publications and sometimes a disregard for the value of making those results available to the broader non-scientific community. The fact is that more and more scientists and government agencies alike are embracing the power of social and digital media to reach a variety of audiences by translating technical findings into plain language, and making the results more relatable to the public. In doing so, a community and other stakeholders will grow not only to understand the benefits of scientific endeavors but to share their support for these fields of research. In my year as the Knauss Communications Fellow within NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, my eyes have been opened to many possibilities for promoting research in social media. I have learned the power of sharing science through story-telling, and I hope to pass it along.

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