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Monica Orellana

Research Scientist/Engineer - Principal & Principal Oceanographer





Department Affiliation

Polar Science Center


B.S. Biology, Concepcion (Chile), 1980

M.S. Biological Oceanography, University of Washington, 1985

Ph. D. Biological Oceanography, University of Washington, 1990


2000-present and while at APL-UW

Marine polymer-gels' relevance in the atmosphere as aerosols and CCN

Orellana, M.V., D.A. Hansell, P.A. Matar, and C. Leck, "Marine polymer-gels' relevance in the atmosphere as aerosols and CCN," Gels, 7, doi:10.3390/gels7040185, 2021.

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1 Dec 2021

Marine polymer gels play a critical role in regulating ocean basin scale biogeochemical dynamics. This brief review introduces the crucial role of marine gels as a source of aerosol particles and cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) in cloud formation processes, emphasizing Arctic marine microgels. We review the gel's composition and relation to aerosols, their emergent properties, and physico-chemical processes that explain their change in size spectra, specifically in relation to aerosols and CCN. Understanding organic aerosols and CCN in this context provides clear benefits to quantifying the role of marine nanogel/microgel in microphysical processes leading to cloud formation. This review emphasizes the DOC-marine gel/aerosolized gel-cloud link, critical to developing accurate climate models.

Dissolved organic matter in the global ocean: A primer

Hansell, D.A., and M.V. Orellana, "Dissolved organic matter in the global ocean: A primer," Gels, 7, doi:10.3390/gels7030128, 2021.

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1 Sep 2021

Marine dissolved organic matter (DOM) holds similar to 660 billion metric tons of carbon, making it one of Earth's major carbon reservoirs that is exchangeable with the atmosphere on annual to millennial time scales. The global ocean scale dynamics of the pool have become better illuminated over the past few decades, and those are very briefly described here. What is still far from understood is the dynamical control on this pool at the molecular level; in the case of this Special Issue, the role of microgels is poorly known. This manuscript provides the global context of a large pool of marine DOM upon which those missing insights can be built.

Integrating oceanographic research into high school curricula achieving broader impacts through systems education experiences modules

Orellana, M.V., L. Claudia, A.W. Thompson, and N.S. Baliga, "Integrating oceanographic research into high school curricula achieving broader impacts through systems education experiences modules," Oceanography, 33, 16-20, doi:10.5670/oceanog.2020.304, 2020.

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1 Sep 2020

We describe a framework for incorporating cross-disciplinary oceanographic research into high school curriculum modules and discuss how this framework could be adopted broadly by ocean scientists to build cohesive broader impacts programs nested within individual oceanographic research programs. The framework has brought ocean science to over one million students in the form of "curriculum modules," one of which has been adopted as an official high school curriculum by the California State Board of Education. The framework for developing these curricular modules is easy to replicate and could help to scale up education and outreach efforts to advance ocean science in classrooms.

The US National Science Foundation (NSF) requires grant-funded research to include broader impacts activities. According to NSF's Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide, broader impacts activities should "benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes" while connecting to the funded research. NSF expects broader impacts activities to be inclusive of underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). While scientists acknowledge the significance of integrating outreach into their research programs, there are few models for achieving sustained, long-term, scalable impacts for underrepresented groups. The goal of this commentary is to empower our colleagues to broadly disseminate their research to K–12 school systems.

More Publications

Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center