What is EXPORTS?

EXport Processes in the Ocean from Remote Sensing (EXPORTS) is a large-scale NASA-led field campaign that will provide critical information for quantifying the export and fate of upper ocean net primary production (NPP) using satellite observations and state of the art ocean technologies.

In the upper sunlit ocean (or euphotic zone), the ocean teems with microscopic organisms known as phytoplankton that provide food for zooplankton - tiny oceanic animals.

Some of the phytoplankton, the zooplankton, and their waste products are transported from the surface of the ocean to the deeper, dimly lit "twilight zone", taking the carbon they are made of with them. Some of that carbon will eventually make it to the deeper ocean interior where it will remain for time scales of months to milliennia.
Conceptual design of the EXPORTS program

EXPORTS scientists will strive to understand how the carbon makes it to the twilight zone and deep ocean interior, and how long it stays there, which is vital to understanding present and future ocean ecosystems and global climate.

Learn more about the scientific of EXPORTS on our About page.

Learn more about the science of EXPORTS

This short video made by EXPORTS own Colleen Durkin illustrates the biological pump. In its simplest form, the biological pumpn is the mechanism that sequesters carbon from the atmosphere to deep sea water and sediment. It is the part of the oceanic carbon cycle responsible for the cycling of organic matter formed mainly by phytoplankton during photosynthesis, as well as the cycling of calcium carbonate formed into shells by certain organisms such as plankton and mollusks.

Explore our information page to learn more.