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The research groups - Oceans

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)
Analytical and Environmental Chemistry (ANCH-VUB)

Promotor: Prof. Dr. Dehairs Frank


The research activities at the laboratory of Analytical and Environmental Chemistry, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, belong essentially to the domain of environmental sciences, global change and the impact of contaminated environment on public health status. As concerns environmental research, the focus is mainly on the aquatic systems, of which the Southern Ocean system takes a large share. The marine system in general and the Southern Ocean in particular have been a long-standing research topic of ANCH laboratory, with roots as far back as the early seventies when the North Sea research projects were launched. While originally the research was directed more by the urgency to tackle regional pollution problems, the last decade a significant evolution has taken place driven by the awareness that man’s impact on the environment has strong global impacts. It also became more and more evident that the oceans are a major routing for anthropogenic pressure via oceanic currents and ocean-atmosphere interactions. At the national level this has led to the set-up of several large-scale research programmes directed towards Global Change, Ecosystems and Biodiversity. A significant part of our present day research efforts were initiated in response to this evolution.
At present most research projects carried out at the department ANCH is contract research funded by international, national and regional agencies and involve, in general, other partners from inside and outside the university. The Federal Office for Science Policy is a major funding agency (four research projects funded over the last 4 years), but other important funding agencies are Fund for Scientific research-Flanders, the EU (FP6); the Flemish Community and Research in Brussels. In some cases additional funding (matching funds) has been obtained from the VUB research council.


ANCH –VUB contributes to:

  • The school contest ‘Pole-position
  • The ‘Vlaams Congres voor Leraren Wetenschappen'
  • The Belgian Polar Platform ‘grand public’
    workshop on 23-25 March 2006

Main field of activity

Marine biogeochemistry. With the focus on proxies of carbon processing, we study of the functioning and efficiency of phytoplankton activity in taking up atmospheric carbon dioxide and transferring this fixed carbon to the deep ocean.

List of projects

  • Project 1: Integrated Study of Southern Ocean Biogeochemistry and Climate Interactions in the Anthropocene
  • Project 2: Assessing the sensitivity of the Southern Ocean’s biological carbon pump to climate change
  • Project 3: Export of organic carbon from the oceanic surface mixed layer and mineralisation in the twilight zone
  • Project 4: EUR-OCEANS Network of Excellence; WP on Biogeochemistry with focus on the Southern Ocean system (EUR-OCEANS)

Research Group Team

Publication list

Dehairs, F., L. Goeyens, N. Stroobants, P. Bernard, C. Goyet, A. Poisson and R. Chesselet, 1990. On suspended barite and the oxygen minimum in the Southern Ocean, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 4, 85-102.

Dehairs, F., N. Stroobants and L. Goeyens, 1991. Suspended barite as a tracer of biological activity in the Southern Ocean, Marine Chemistry, 35, 399-410.

Stroobants, N., F. Dehairs, L. Goeyens, N. Vanderheijden and R. Van Grieken, 1991. Barite formation in the Southern Ocean water column, Marine Chemistry, 35, 411-422.

Goeyens. L., F. Sörensson, P. Tréguer, J. Morvan, M. Panouse and F. Dehairs, 1991. Spatiotemporal variability of inorganic nitrogen stocks and uptake fluxes in the Scotia-Weddell Confluence area during November and December 1988, Marine Ecology Progress Series, 77, 7-19.

Goeyens, L., P. Tréguer, C. Lancelot, S. Mathot, S. Becquevort, J. Morvan, F. Dehairs and W. Baeyens, 1991. Ammonium regeneration in the Scotia-Weddell Confluence area during spring 1988, Marine Ecology Progress Series, 78, 241-252.

Dehairs, F., L. Goeyens, N. Stroobants and S. Mathot, 1992. Elemental composition of suspended matter in the Scotia-Weddell Confluence area during spring and summer 1988 (EPOS Leg 2), Polar Biology, 12, 25-33.

Dehairs, F., W. Baeyens and L. Goeyens, 1992. Accumulation of suspended barite at mesopelagic depths and export production in the Southern Ocean, Science, 258, 1332-1335.

Shopova D., F. Dehairs and W. Baeyens, 1995. A simple model of biogeochemical element distribution in the water column of the Southern Ocean, Journal of Marine Systems, 6, 331-344.

Goeyens, L., P. Tréguer, E.M. Baumann, W. Baeyens and F. Dehairs, 1995. The leading role of ammonium in the nitrogen uptake regime of Southern Ocean marginal ice zones, Journal of Marine Systems, 6, 345-361.

Kopczynska, E., L. Goeyens, M. Semeneh and F. Dehairs, 1995. Phytoplankton composition and cell carbon distribution in Prydz Bay, Antarctica: Relation to organic particulate matter and its δ13C values, Journal of Plankton Research, 17, 685-707.

Semeneh M., Dehairs F. and L. Goeyens, 1995. Uptake of nitrogenous nutrients by phytoplankton in the tropical western Indian Ocean (Kenyan Coast): monsoonal and spatial variability, in “Monsoons and Coastal Ecosystems”, eds. C. H. R. Heip, M. A. Hemminga and M. J. M. de Bie, National Museum of Natural History, Leiden, pp 101 – 104.

Dehairs, F., E. Kopczynska, P. Nielsen, C. Lancelot, D. Bakker, W. Koeve and L. Goeyens, 1997. δ13C of Southern Ocean suspended organic matter during spring and early summer: Regional and temporal variability, Deep-Sea Research II, 44, 129-142.

Dehairs, F., D. Shopova, S. Ober, C. Veth and L. Goeyens, 1997. Particulate barium stocks and oxygen consumption in the Southern Ocean mesopelagic water column during spring and early summer: Relationship with export production, Deep-Sea Research II, 44, 497-516.

Löscher, B.M., J.T.M. de Jong, H.J.W. de Baar, C. Veth and F. Dehairs, 1997. The distribution of Fe in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, Deep-Sea Research II, 44, 143-188.

Goeyens L., M. Semeneh, M.E.M. Baumann, M. Elskens, D. Shopova and F. Dehairs, 1998. Phytoplankton nutrient utilisation and nutrient signature in the Southern Ocean, Journal of Marine Systems, 17, 143-147.

Jeandel C., D. Ruiz-Pino, E. Gjata, A. Poisson, C. Brunet, E. Charriaud, F. Dehairs, D. Delille, M. Fiala, C. Fravalo, J.-C. Miquel, Y.-H. Park, P. Pondaven, B. Quéguiner, S. Razouls, B. Shauer andP. Tréguer, 1998. KERFIX, a time series station in the Southern Ocean: A presentation, Journal of Marine Systems, 17, 555-569.

Semeneh M., F. Dehairs, M. Elskens, M.E.M. Baumann, E.E. Kopczynska, C. Lancelot, L. Goeyens, 1998. Nitrogen uptake regime and phytoplankton community structure in the Atlantic and Indian sectors of the Southern Ocean, Journal of Marine Systems, 17, 159-177.

Monnin, C., C. Jeandel, T. Cattaldo and F. Dehairs, 1999. The marine barite saturation state of the world’s ocean, Marine Chemistry, 65, 253-261.

Dehairs F., N. Fagel, A.N. Antia, R. Peinert, M. Elskens and L. Goeyens, 2000. Export production in the Gulf of Biscay as estimated from barium-barite in settling material: A comparison with new production, Deep-Sea Research I, 47, 583-601.

Jeandel, C., K. Tachikawa. K., A. Bory and F. Dehairs, 2000. Barite-fluxes and suspended-barite to trace export production in the tropical NE Atlantic (EUMELI sites), Marine Chemistry, 71, 125-142.

Kopczynska E., F. Dehairs, M. Elskens and S. Wright, 2001. Phytoplankton variability between the subtropical and Polar Fronts south off Australia: Thriving under regenerative and new production in late summer, Journal of Geophysical Research, 106, 31,597.

Cardinal D., F. Dehairs, T. Cattaldo and L. André, 2001. Constraints on export and advection in the Subantarctic and Polar Front Zones, south of Australia from the geochemistry of suspended particles, Journal of Geophysical Research, 106, 31,637.

Fagel N., F. Dehairs, L. André, G. Bareille and C. Monnin, 2002. Export production estimation from sedimentary Ba content: A comparison between Atlantic and Indian sectors of the Southern Ocean, Paleoceanography, 10.1029/2000PA000552 29 March 2002.

Elskens M., W. Baeyens, F. Dehairs, T. Cattaldo and B. Griffiths, 2002. N-uptake conditions during summer in the Sub-Antarctic and Polar Front zones in the Australasian sector of the Southern Ocean, Journal of Geophysical Research, 107, 3-1 – 3-11.

Savoye N., F. Dehairs, M. Elskens, D. Cardinal, E. E. Kopczynska, T. W. Trull, W. Baeyens and F. B. Griffiths, 2004. N-uptake and new production in the Southern Ocean during spring conditions, Geophysical Research Letters, 31(3), L03301, 10.1029/2003GL018946.

Fagel N., F. Dehairs, R. Peinert, A. Antia and L. André, 2004. Reconstructing export production at the NE Atlantic margin: Potential and limits of the Ba proxy, Marine Geology, 204, 11-25.

Savoye N., K.O. Buesseler, D. Cardinal and F. Dehairs, 2004. 234Th deficit and excess in the Southern Ocean during spring 2001: Particle export and mineralization, Geophysical Research Letters, 31, L12301, 10.1029/2004GL019744.

Jacquet, S.H.M., F. Dehairs and S.R. Rintoul, 2004. A high resolution dissolved barium transect in the Southern Ocean, Geophysical Research Letters, 31, N°14, L14301, 10.10129/2004GL020016.

Cardinal, D.B., N. Savoye, T.W. Trull, L. André, E. E. Kopczynska and F. Dehairs, 2005. Particulate Ba distributions and fluxes suggest latitudinal variations of carbon mineralization in the Southern Ocean, Deep-Sea Research I, 52, 355-370.

Jacquet, S.H.M., F. Dehairs, D.B. Cardinal, J. Navez and B. Delille, 2005. Barium distribution across the Southern Ocean frontal system in the Crozet–Kerguelen Basin, Marine Chemistry, 95, 149-310.

Cardinal D., L.Y. Alleman, F. Dehairs, N. Savoye, T.W. Trull and L. André, 2005. Relevance of silicon isotopes to Si-nutrient utilization and Si source assessment in Antarctic waters, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 19, GB2007, doi:10.1029/2004GB002364.

Savoye N., C. Benitez-Nelson, A. Burd, K. Cochran, M. Charette, K. Buesseler, G. Jakson, M. Roy-Barman, S. Schmidt and M. Elskens. An overview of techniques used to model 234Th in the water column, Marine Chemistry (special volume on 234Th), accepted.

Rutgers van der Loeff, M., M.M. Sarin, M. Baskaran, C. Benitez-Nelson, K. Buesseler, M. Charette, M. Dai, Ö. Gustafsson, P. Masque, P. Morris, K. Orlandini, A. Rodriguez y Baena, N. Savoye, S. Schmidt, R. Turnewitsch, I. Vöge, J. Waples. New methodologies and techniques for 234Th analysis, Marine Chemistry (special volume on 234Th), accepted.

Buesseler, K.O., C. R. Benitez-Nelson, S. B. Moran, A. Burd, M. Charette, J. K. Cochran, L. Coppola, N. S. Fisher, S. W. Fowler, W. D. Gardner, L. D. Guo, O. Gustafsson, C. Lamborg, P. Masque, J. C. Miquel, U. Passow, P. H. Santschi, N. Savoye, G. Stewart, and T. Trull. An assessment of particulate organic carbon to thorium-234 ratios in the ocean and their impact on the application of 234Th as a POC flux proxy, Marine Chemistry (special volume on 234Th), accepted.

Waples, J., Benitez-Nelson, C., Baskaran, M., Gustafsson, Ö., Savoye, N. and Rutgers van der Loeff, M. An introduction to the application of 234Th in aquatic systems, Marine Chemistry (special volume on 234Th), in review.

Jacquet S.H.M., J. Navez and F. Dehairs, ICP-MS and HR-ICP-MS analyses of barium in seawater by isotope dilution, submitted to Spectrochimica Acta B.

Jacquet S.H.M., F. Dehairs, N. Savoye, M. Elskens and D. Cardinal, Barium-cycle dynamics in the Australian sector of the Southern Ocean, submitted to Marine Chemistry.

Cardinal D., N. Savoye, T. W. Trull, F. Dehairs, E. E. Kopczynska, F. Fripiat and Luc André, Silicon isotopes in size-fractionated diatoms in the spring Southern Ocean suggest latitudinally-varying isotopic fractionation, submitted to Marine Chemistry.

Kopczyńska E.E., N. Savoye, F. Dehairs, D. Cardinal, M. Elskens, Spring phytoplankton assemblages in the Southern Ocean between Australia and Antarctica; relationship to nitrogen regime, in preparation for Deep-Sea Research II.


Dehairs F., C. Lancelot and M. Frankignoulle, 2001. The role of the Southern Ocean in the global carbon cycle and its climatic implications, In: H. Decleir and C. De Broyer eds. The Belgica Expedition Centennial: Perspectives on Antarctic Science and History, VUB Brussels, University Press, 287-294 pp.


Dehairs, F. and L. Goeyens, 1988. Dissolved barium and nutrients in the Southern Ocean: Their potential use as tracers for the characterisation of the different watermasses, in: Proceedings of the Belgian National Colloquium on Antarctic Research, Prime Minister's services, Science Policy Office, Brussels, D/1988/1191/1, 79-95.

Dehairs, F. and L. Goeyens, 1989. The biogeochemistry of barium in the Southern Ocean, in: Antarctica, Belgian Scientific Research Programme on Antarctica, Scientific Results of Phase One (Oct '85 - Jan '89), ed. S. Caschetto, Prime Minister's Services, Science Policy Office, Brussels, II, Part A, 1-100.

Goeyens, L. and F. Dehairs, 1993. Seasonal fluctuations of export and recycled production in different areas of the Southern Ocean, in: "Plankton Ecology and Marine Biogeochemistry", ed. S. Caschetto, Belgian Scientific Research Programme on Antarctica, Scientific Results of Phase two (10/1988 - 05/1992), Vol. 1, Belgian Science Policy Office, Brussels, 2-79.

Dehairs F., C. Lancelot, L. André, M. Frankignoulle and E. Deleersnijder, 2003. An integrated approach to assess carbon dynamics in the Southern Ocean, in: “Belgian Scientific programme on the Antarctic, Phase 4 (1997-2001)”, Vol I, Belgian Federal Public Planning Service Science Policy, D/2003/1191/8, Brussels, Belgium, 160 pp.

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