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Joan Llort

How will current and near-future global trends in wildfire activity alter marine life and its capacity to sequester atmospheric carbon?

Joan is a biogeochemical oceanographer dedicated to understanding the links between the physical (blue) ocean (temperature, salinity, density, currents) and the biogeochemical (green) ocean (plankton, organic matter, fish).

Joan holds a BSc on Fundamental Physics from the Universitat de Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain) and a PhD in Marine Biogeochemistry from Sorbonne Université (Paris, France). He has worked as a Research Fellow in LOCEAN-IPSL laboratory (Paris, France) and at the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania (Hobart, Australia). Joan has developed a strong interdisciplinary background by participating in several long duration sea-cruises, working in high-performance computing environments, and developing a wide international network with collaborators from different disciplines. This includes research stays at the British Antarctic Survey (Cambridge, UK), at Southern Ocean Carbon & Climate Observatory (Cape Town, South-Africa) and at the State Key Laboratory of Marine Science (Xiamen, China). He is currently based at the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre (Barcelona, Spain).

He combines biogeochemical models with observations obtained with satellites, autonomous floats (BGC-Argo) and ship-based observations. Amongst his research highlights, he provided a new theoretical framework to explain high-latitude phytoplankton blooms, he developed a detection method to observe small-scale carbon vertical injections using BGC-Argo and co-led the first study reporting the observations of phytoplankton blooms triggered by wildfire ash (published in Nature in 2021).

Research Objectives

His project, Impacts of PYROgenic aerosols on PLANKTON ecosystems (PYROPLANKTON), analyses the impact of large wildfires on marine ecosystems from three different perspectives:

  • the spatial and temporal variability of aerosol deposition from biomass burning and its impact on surface phytoplankton will be evaluated from a synoptic perspective through the combination of ocean colour (OC_cci), global fire products (Fire_cci and GFAS) and a state-of-the-art atmospheric reanalysis (CAMS);
  • a detailed, mechanistic understanding on how biomass burning aerosols perturb the chemical composition of seawater and how this affects marine microorganisms will be obtained using controlled laboratory experiments with ash from wildfires across the world;
  • a global estimate of the current and future impact of biomass burning aerosols on marine primary production and carbon export will be derived based on the results above.

Read more on the research project sheet.


email address
Barcelona Supercomputing Centre (BSC)
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