Fulbright Sportlight: Elisa Romanelli, PhD candidate at the UC at Santa Barbara

Elisa working on deck deploying the Marine Snow Catcher (OSIL, UK).
The instrument is used to collect particulate organic carbon.

Elisa Romanelli is a PhD candidate in marine science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she works under the supervision of Prof. David A. Siegel and Prof. Uta Passow.

Elisa investigates the biochemical processes that affect the transport of atmospheric carbon dioxide to the deep ocean, where carbon is stored away from the atmosphere for timescales that are relevant to humans. A better understanding of these processes is essential to be able to predict the response of the ocean storage potential to climate changes.

Conditions at sea can be rough and calm and determine
whether science can be accomplished or not.

To collect the data needed to accomplish her research goal, Elisa joined two major oceanographic field expeditions. The first research cruise took place in May 2021 in the Northeast Atlantic and was part of the NASA-funded EXport Processes in the Ocean from RemoTe Sensing (EXPORTS) project. The second cruise was carried out in May 2022 in the Labrador Sea as part of The North Atlantic as a climate ocean (NWA BCP) project supported by the Canadian Ocean Frontier Institute. For more than 30 days each time, marine scientists with diverse expertise utilized state-of-the-art instruments and laboratory techniques to investigate how the ocean processes carbon.

Sunset at sea (left) and Marine Snow catcher deployment at dawn (right) on board the RRS James Cook.

Being on a research vessel is an enthralling and unique experience where researchers from everywhere in the world and at different points of their career collaborate towards a common goal. It is therefore the perfect environment for an early career researcher to learn and network.

Research vessels: Elisa sailed on board the RRS James Cook (left) during EXPORTS and on board the RV Celtic Explorer (right) during the NWA-BCP program.

Elisa was able to pursue this fulfilling academic opportunity upon being awarded a Fulbright Graduate Study, Self-Placed Scholarship.

To learn more about the work performed during the NWA BCP cruise see: http://scientistsatsea.blogspot.com/2022/06/labrador-sea-research-expedition-it-is.html