Ocean Sciences

Broadening research horizons, from coast to coast.
Ocean Science

Ocean Science

Stable isotopes are a powerful tool for understanding aquatic ecosystems and elucidating sources and sinks in marine food webs. They also enable scientists to better understand how the ocean influences the fluxes and molecular transformations that make up the global carbon, water and nitrogen cycles.

Picarro CRDS analyzers and integrated solutions bring you the latest advances in stable isotope measurement. Critically, they enable shipboard analysis and data generation at sea, broadening research horizons and accelerating studies.

Research Applications

Water cycle in marine environments

Niels Munksgaard and coworkers at James Cook University used a Picarro water isotope analyzer to produce high spatial and temporal resolution of oxygen and hydrogen isotope ratios at sea. The real-time data created an evolving portrait of fresh- and salt-water mixing, evaporation, sea-ice formation and precipitation. As a shipboard tool, the analyzer eliminates the need to collect large numbers of samples that are analyzed only when the researchers return to shore.

Get more from the paper: First continuous shipboard δ18O and δD measurements in sea water by diffusion sampling—cavity ring-down spectrometry.


Methane has numerous sources in the deep ocean, including benthic microbes, natural seeps, methane clathrates and anthropogenic discharges, like the Deepwater Horizon spill. John D. Kessler at Texas A&M University, David L. Valentine at UC Santa Barbara and co-workers have used a Picarro carbon isotope analyzer for CH4 to study the role of deep sea microbial communities in consuming methane emitted into the ocean by the Deepwater Horizon spill.

Get more from the paper: A Persistent Oxygen Anomaly Reveals the Fate of Spilled Methane in the Deep Gulf of Mexico.


Scientists at the North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling project (NEEM) use Picarro isotopic water analyzers to measure the δD-H2O and δ18O-H2O values in ice cores taken from the Greenland ice sheet. Using this data, the researchers reconstructed ocean temperatures for the past 60 thousand years, allowing them to test current models of ice accumulation on Greenland.

Get more from the paper: Duration of Greenland Stadial 22 and ice-gas ∆age from counting of annual layers in Greenland NGRIP ice core.

Related Products

L2130-i – Simultaneous δD and δ18O of H2O via automated discrete liquid sampling of water

G2201-i – Continuous, simultaneous measurement of δ13C-CO2 and δ13C-CH4

Carbon Isotope Analysis Systems