Marine Organic Geochemistry: A General Overview

  • S. Pantoja
  • S. Wakeham
Part of the Environmental Science book series (ESE)

Abstract

Organic geochemistry developed traditionally from the petroleum geologists’ need to find and extract petroleum, since a thorough understanding of the chemical principles involved in the origin, migration, accumulation and alteration of petroleum would greatly aid in its discovery. Early on it became clear that organic matter that has been transformed into petroleum and gas was largely of marine origin and was deposited in marine sediments. A more fundamental understanding of the processes of petroleum and gas generation required a better understanding of the cycling of organic matter in the ocean. Simultaneously, there has been increasing awareness of the important role of the ocean in mediating global-scale processes, notably global climate change through the ocean’s buffering capacity for atmospheric carbon dioxide. Further, marine sediments hold the record of past environments, and realistic interpretations of past earth history hinge on understanding the behavior of organic matter in the ocean. It thus becomes important to better characterize the biogeochemical cycles that influence the production and preservation of organic matter in the sea. The term biogeochemistry emphasizes the close linkage between biology, geology, and chemistry into a cross-disciplinary science that strives to define the relationship between the biosphere and the geosphere, and between living and non-living organic matter.

Keywords

Polysaccharide Nitrite Microbial Degradation Photosynthesis Carotenoid 

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  • S. Pantoja
  • S. Wakeham

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