January 10, 2019
The field of marine geochemistry is exploding these last two decades. During the 1980s and 1990s, the scientific community developed a geochemical toolbox to study key ocean processes, based on the concentration and isotopic composition of trace elements. The multiple processes at play in the ocean led the community to join forces and combine, at a global scale, the information provided by individual tracers to tackle big questions in oceanography. These were the motivations to create GEOTRACES, an international program of marine geochemistry. The key questions include the sources, internal processes and sinks of the elements; the services and functioning of marine ecosystems; the ocean's role in climate variability; and the transport and fate of contaminants in the ocean. This issue will introduce the reader to the fascinating exploration of the big questions in ocean science using the chemistry of the infinitely small in seawater.
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