Past Event

Ask Me Anything: Oceanographer Studying the Amazon River

April 21, 2021
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Join Lamont oceanographer Ajit Subramaniam for a Reddit AMA! Check out Ajit's description below. You'll be able to find the post on Reddit close to the time when the AMA will begin.

The link above will bring you to the AMA page for now; when the event begins we will update the link to bring you to Ajit's post directly.



I am an oceanographer studying the outflow of the Amazon river (the greatest river in the world), Ask me anything!

I'm an oceanographer from Columbia University's Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, who uses knowledge of remote sensing, ocean optics, phytoplankton physiology, biological and physical oceanography and geographical information systems to better understand how the marine ecosystem functions and can be managed.

Phytoplankton are single cell plants that grow in water and are capable of doing photosynthesis.  They make this planet habitable by forming the base of the aquatic food web, by producing half the oxygen we breath and by removing CO2 from the atmosphere.  Phytoplankton require nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and silicon to grow and rivers are known to be an important source of nutrients to the coastal ocean.  But the extent to which some rivers influence marine life 100s of miles from shore is often not fully appreciated.

Satellite images show that the Amazon River plume reaches hundreds to more than two thousand miles out into the ocean, covering an area about twice the size of Texas for several months each year. This plume supplies the nutrient-poor tropical Atlantic waters with nutrients to support the growth of phytoplankton. But activities such as deforestation, dam construction and changing agricultural practices in the Amazon River basin are altering the ecosystem of the Tropical Atlantic. 

I am currently on a research vessel in the Tropical Atlantic, and we will be investigating the various biogeochemical processes that happen in the Amazon River plume to understand how these might change in the future as a consequence of climate change and human activity.

I'll be on Reddit for about an hour to answer any questions. My internet connection should be OK on the ship, but if the answers appear slower than expected you'll know why.

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