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Enabler ›Molecular and Isotopic Tracers‹

Major tasks of the Enabler Tracers
Major tasks of the Enabler TRACERS (blue) in relation to other research activities in the Cluster.

Molecules and isotopes encode enormous amounts of untapped information. The Enabler Molecular and Isotopic Tracers (TRACERS) will advance the Cluster’s capabilities for decoding information on important biological, geochemical and paleoenvironmental processes by ultra-sensitive chemical analyses of diverse marine samples, and implement a Marine Cheminformatics Node enabling 3D-visualization and exploration of data.

The Cluster’s future research on marine ecosystems, climate change, paleoenvironments, and global budgets of carbon and other elements relies on molecular and isotopic tracers in seawater and the ocean floor as central sources of information. Organic molecules and the isotopic compositions of organic and inorganic matter carry information about biological, chemical, physical and geological processes in the ocean. Despite the decades-long history of molecular and isotopic approaches in geosciences, there remains a vast reservoir of information waiting to be decoded.

The Enabler TRACERS aims to advance the Cluster’s capabilities for deciphering this information. To this end, it will interlink a unique array of state-of-the-art analytical technologies already in operation at MARUM and its partner institutes, implement a Marine Cheminformatics Node enabling 3D visualization and exploration of large datasets, and further advance in-situ measurements using instrumentation on remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). Molecular and isotopic approaches will be crucial for achieving the first four of the Cluster’s six overarching objectives.