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NSF, NASA scientists explore ocean's 'twilight zone' to uncover links between carbon and plankton

Equipped with advanced underwater robotics and an array of analytical instrumentation, a team of scientists will set sail for the northeastern Pacific Ocean this August. The researchers' mission for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation, which are supporting the project, is to study the life and death of microscopic plankton, tiny plant and animal organisms that play a critical role in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and the oceans. More than 100 scientists and crew members will embark from Seattle, Washington, for the Export Processes in the Ocean from Remote Sensing (EXPORTS) oceanographic campaign. EXPORTS is the first coordinated multidisciplinary science project of its kind to study the fates and carbon cycle impacts of microscopic plankton. The project will use several underwater robotic platforms and two research vessels operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the R/V Revelle and R/V Sally Ride, which will sail 200 miles west into the open ocean.

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