A New Look at Old Carbon

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Science  08 Aug 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5327, pp. 777-778
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5327.777

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The ways in which carbon becomes buried in ocean sediments is important for understanding the global carbon budget, and thus global climate change. In her Perspective, Freeman discusses work published in the same issue by Eglinton et al. on the use of carbon isotope ratios in organic molecules to trace the origins of organic matter in marine sediments. In this way, the authors can distinguish among different pools of organic matter and identify their origins.