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Promoting a mechanistic understanding of the chemical currencies in marine microbial ecosystems in the context of a changing planet and through increased participation in ocean sciences

Mission Statement

A photo of Jessika Fuessel writing on a sampling bag on a bench bathed in red light.

Jessika Fuessel (right) preparing surface ocean samples using red light to not wake up microbes in night-time samples, Evan Kiefl (left). Photo by Meren, MBL

One-quarter of carbon derived from photosynthesis on Earth cycles rapidly through a pool of seawater metabolites generated by the activities of microbes. These molecules help govern the global carbon cycle, provide life-supporting nutrients, and support the function of marine food webs that ensure a vital and healthy ocean.

The Center for Chemical Currencies of a Microbial Planet (C-CoMP) promotes a deeper understanding of the chemicals and microbial processes that underpin ocean ecosystems and the global carbon cycle by leveraging recent advances in analytical and data sciences, incorporating new ocean sampling technologies, using an open-science framework, and engaging educators and policy-makers.

Broadening Participation


Three people collect water from gray Niskin bottles attached to a rosette device while two people stand nearby and look over a sample sheet on a clipboard.

Guided by the water boss (in the teal shirt holding the clipboard), the students and postdocs gather around the rosette to sample water during a 2013 cruise to the South Atlantic Ocean.

C-CoMP is committed to broadening participation in the ocean sciences. We are working to expand ocean literacy in K-12 populations and in the general public, expand undergraduate involvement in ocean science research, and improve the transition to graduate programs in ocean science. Our approach involves a combination of conducting targeted education research and establishing C-CoMP undergraduate and graduate research programs that (1) integrate academic, social, and professional development, and (2) provide opportunities to explore research as a career regardless of social identity. C-CoMP programs provide opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds and with a diversity of expertise, experiences, and viewpoints to participate in authentic research experiences that address problems of societal relevance (e.g., Earth’s carbon cycle and climate system).

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Award Information and Disclaimer


C-CoMP is a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center (Award # 2019589) that is based at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed on this website are those of C-CoMP and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.