The Biological Influence on Future Ocean Storage of Carbon (BIO-Carbon) NERC Strategic Programme addresses key and pressing questions on how marine life helps the ocean store huge amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) that would otherwise be in the atmosphere.

Emerging evidence indicates that climate models are not fully accounting for the impact of marine organisms.

This undermines carbon policies, such as national net zero targets.

BIO-Carbon is carefully designed to produce new understanding of biological processes. It will provide robust predictions of future ocean carbon storage in a changing climate.

The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) is sponsored by UN organisations and coordinates climate research internationally.
This programme will address two of the three priorities identified by WCRP:
- what biological and abiological processes drive and control ocean carbon storage?
- can and will climate-carbon feedbacks amplify climate changes over the 21st century?

BIO-Carbon has three interlinked programme challenges, which will address different aspects of biological influence:
1. How does marine life affect the potential for seawater to absorb CO2, and how will this change?
2. How will the rate at which marine life converts dissolved CO2 into organic carbon change?
3. How will climate change-induced shifts in respiration by the marine ecosystem affect the future ocean storage of carbon?

Website -

PI/Champion: Adrian Martin - National Oceanography Centre

Email: adrian.martin(at)

Project Dates: 
July 2022 to April 2028

NERC – Strategic Research