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Dr Sari Giering

Oceanographer

Sari Giering

I have always been curious about the oceans. But not about dolphins or whales: about the things you can’t see and how they aff ect our world, such as the tiny plants and animals that live in the oceans.

These plants and animals in the oceans (called ‘phytoplankton’ and ‘zooplankton’) work much like plants and animals on land. The plants breathe in carbon dioxide to grow and the animals eat these plants, and poo (just like you!). But what happens to dead plants and animal poo in the ocean? They sink! This sinking matter (we call it ‘marine snow’) provides an important food source for all the bizarre creatures living in the deep ocean, such as anglerfish.

The slower a bit of marine snow sinks, the easier it is for deep sea creatures to catch and eat it. Fast bits of marine snow might sink all the way to the sea floor. As they sink, they take with them the carbon they breathed in at the surface. Because there are lots and lots of tiny bits of marine snow, together they take large amounts of carbon into the deep ocean and keep it away from the atmosphere for up to 1000 years! So marine snow does much more than feed cool fish: it helps to control our weather.

I love being a scientist because...

I love solving riddles.

The most awesome thing I have done so far is...

Mountain biking down a volcano in Chile.

My heroes are...

Thor Heyerdahl, he was an incredibly curious, clever and inspiring natural scientist. He sailed half-way across the Pacific ocean on a raft to prove his theory!

Advice I would give my 7 year old self...

There is an answer to every question; if you don’t know it, try to find it.

At primary school my favourite thing to do was...

Going on explorations (in the nearby forest).



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