Date of Award

Winter 2011

Project Type


Program or Major

Earth Sciences - Oceanography

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Joseph Salisbury


Understanding the biological contribution to the carbon cycle is important to accurately calculate oceanic carbon budgets. The biological contribution to air-sea flux can be expressed as net community productivity (NCP), or the difference between gross primary production and community respiration. This study conducted two experiments to constrain NCP in a near-coastal region. The first experiment conducted in the western Gulf of Maine (GoM) sought to identify an indirect optical proxy for NCP that would allow for the determination of NCP remotely by satellite in the future. NCP results indicated that the GoM was near equilibrium during our study. Changes in particulate organic carbon inventory derived from beam attenuation proved to be the most robust proxy of NCP. The second experiment evaluated a novel custom-built autonomous incubation instrument for continuous NCP and respiration measurement in the Piscataqua Estuary Inlet. Although some questionable data patterns were occasionally observed, NCP and respiration rates correlated well with the literature where good data was recorded.