Unifying Data and Models through Biogeography

Christopher Follett (CBIOMES Postdoctoral Fellow)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Through my work I seek a fundamental understanding of the interdependence between ecological diversity and biogeochemical fluxes in the ocean. In the upper euphotic zone, carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus move rapidly between particulate organic matter, dissolved organic matter and their inorganic forms. Alongside this fast cycle is a slow one. The export of sinking organic particles is balanced by the upwelling of inorganic nutrients from the deep sea.

How are these two cycles coupled? Does ecology drive export or does upwelling set the ecology? Any attempt to answer these questions is muddled by the extreme diversity inside each nutrient reservoir. Dissolved organic material contains tens of thousands of unique compounds, and living particulates include tens of thousands of species that interact differently with their chemical environment and one another.

I am tackling these general problems in three specific ways. First, I will be leveraging the database infrastructure CBIOMES collaborators are building to compare satellite, model and in situ data statistically. Second, I will use the DARWIN model infrastructure to explore the relationship between traits and carbon flux to the deep ocean. Third, I will work toward understanding the relationship between fluctuations around an ecosystem’s steady state and the biogeochemical rates that can be extracted from them.

News from Christopher Follett

Reconciling Opposing Predictions of Prochlorococcus in a Changing Climate – Chris Follett (MIT)


Ocean Mover’s Distance: Using Optimal Transport for Analyzing Oceanographic Data – Sangwon Hyun (USC – Bien)


Plankton’s Place

According to CBIOMES researchers predator interactions chiefly determine where Prochlorococcus thrive - a finding that may help researchers hone predictions for where phytoplankton will migrate with climate change. (more…)

CBIOMES Welcomes Barbara Duckworth

by Helen Hill for CBIOMES A warm CBIOMES-welcome to Barbara (Barbie) Duckworth who recently joined the group to work with Chris Follet. (more…)

Recordings and microtalks from the Follows Group. Please note access to this page is restricted to CBIOMES associates. (more…)

2021 Annual Meeting microtalk – Provinces Working Group Update/ Discussion – Chris Follett (MIT)


2021 Annual Meeting microtalk: Use Earth Movers Distances 
to Compare Biogeochemical Models and Satellite Derived Chlorophyll – Bror Jönsson (PML)


2021 Annual Meeting microtalk: The CBIOMES Climatology – Bror Jönsson (PML)


2021 Annual Meeting microtalk: Exploring Nutrient Limitation and Nitrogen Fixation using Size-fractionated Stoichiometry and δ15N on Gradients III – Chris Follett (MIT)


2021 Annual Meeting microtalk: Seasonal photoacclimation in the North Pacific Transition Zone – Greg Britten (MIT)



Christopher L. Follett, Stephanie Dutkiewicz, Gael Forget, B.B. Cael, Michael J. Follows (2021), Moving ecological and biogeochemical transitions across the North Pacific, Limnology and Oceanography, doi: 10.1002/lno.11763 Get the PDF [Requires...

February 2021 CBIOMES e-meeting Chris Follett (MIT)

“When should we trust Niche model predictions under Climate Change???” (A case study using the Flombaum model for Prochlorococcus populations.) Please note access to this page is restricted to CBIOMES...

A Continuous Size Formulation for the Propocalypse – Chris Follett (MIT)


2020 Annual Meeting e-poster: Optical Water Type Clustering – Thomas Jackson (PML)


2020 Annual Meeting e-poster: Do Heterotrophic Bacteria Cause the ‘Propocalypse’? – Chris Follett (MIT)


Fellow Travelers

Observations suggest diazotrophs like Crocosphaera and Trichodesmium pay for their ability to fix nitrogen with a very low growth rate, yet diatom-diazotroph associations or DDAs exhibit high growth rates. CBIOMES...

CBIOMES Goes to Ocean Sciences 2020

Look out for members of the CBIOMES team, sharing their work at this year’s Ocean Sciences conference taking place February 16-21 in San Diego, California. (more…)

A Focus on Fronts

by Christopher Follett for CBIOMES CBIOMES Postdoctoral Fellow Chris Follett, is actively involved in multiple collaborations within CBIOMES working closely with other project investigators as he seeks to unify data and...

Past Annual Reporting

2019 | 2018 [login required]