Welcome to the virtual Passow Lab. As biological oceanographers we explore the functioning of marine open water ecosystems. We investigate how the small drifting organisms, called plankton, interact and how their activities impact the cycling of carbon. Understanding the cycling of carbon in the ocean is especially important for predictions of future change. The overarching topic of all our research efforts is the functioning and efficiency of the marine biological carbon pump. This natural “pump” moves carbon from the surface ocean to the deep ocean, thereby removing carbon from the atmosphere. Without the biological carbon pump present day atmospheric CO2 concentrations would be much higher. Increased atmospheric CO2 concentration results in ocean acidification (OA), and we study OA and how it affects organisms, ecosystems and the functioning of the biological pump. The goal of another project researches how marine snow contributes to the transport of oil to depths, as it did in the aftermath of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) in April 2010.