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Monica Orellana

Dr. Orellana has experience with phytoplankton physiological ecology, dynamics of polymer gels, and processes of regulated exocytosis of polymers produced by phytoplankton and their roles in ecosystem dynamics including interactions with bacteria. Phytoplankton are organisms responsible for about 40 percent of the total photosynthesis that occurs in our planet and play a critical role in the global carbon cycle and ultimately in global climate. Dr. Orellana is applying a systems-based approach to understand carbon sequestration in the ocean, by focusing on proteins released by diatoms into seawater. Dr. Orellana is also interested in understanding the links between ocean processes and human health and is part of the University of Washington's Pacific Northwest center for Human Health and Ocean Sciences and NOAA's Oceans and Human Health initiative which investigate environmental conditions triggering blooms of harmful algae in our marine waters and ultimately, how these blooms impact human health.