Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Bender, Michael L.
Location Princeton University
Primary Field Geology
Secondary Field Geophysics
 Election Citation
Bender has made major advances in sedimentary geochemistry, the biogeochemistry of oxygen, and paleoclimatology. His studies provided a framework to understand how biologically active elements are recycled back into seawater. He also helped to show that ocean productivity is high and that the land biosphere sequesters about one-quarter of industrial carbon-dioxide emissions.
 Research Interests
My research is in the areas of climate and biogeochemistry. For the last two decades my colleagues and I have measured variations in the concentration of oxygen and its isotopic composition to characterize rates of photosynthesis and respiration at different scales of time and space. We have made our measurements in the modern atmosphere, in air in the snowpack of polar ice sheets, in seawater-dissolved gases, and in fossil air samples trapped in ice cores. Our atmospheric measurements have characterized the fertility of the oceans and, together with snowpack studies, constrained rates of fossil fuel carbon dioxide uptake by the oceans and the land biosphere during recent decades. Seawater measurements have characterized regional rates of photosynthesis and respiration in the oceans. Ice core measurements constrain glacial-interglacial changes in the fertility of Earth's marine and land biospheres. They also provide a means for correlating ice cores, yielding information about the timing (and hence dynamics) of large-scale climate changes.

 
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