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Non-belspo (2004-2007)

Export of organic carbon from the oceanic surface mixed layer and mineralisation in the twilight zone (VERTIGO)

Project description

The drawdown of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by the ocean constitutes the largest sink for anthropogenic CO2. While this is due to a large extent to physico-chemical processes (the solubility pump) that redistribute CO2 in the ocean, biological activity is another important mechanism for carbon translocation from the surface mixed layer to the ocean’s interior. This project aims at improving our understanding of the processes that impact on the export of organic carbon from the surface mixed layer via the biological pump and which drive mineralization in the ocean’s interior. This knowledge is essential for the assessment of the ocean’s sequestration efficiency of anthropogenic CO2.
Our strategy is to compare oceanic regions which differ significantly in terms of ecological characteristics such as nutrient uptake regime; nutrient supply and nutrient limitation; phytoplankton community composition; grazer community and grazing pressure; length of growth season and mineralization length scales (Southern Ocean – North Pacific NE Atlantic). We propose to constrain the uncertainties on export production and mineralization in the twilight zone by confronting three different approaches for export production assessment in functionally contrasting oceanic regions. These three approaches are: (1) New production via 15N tracer techniques and modeling; (2) The 234Th-deficit technique and (3) Seasonal increase of mesopelagic particulate Ba stocks.

Project team

Project Coordinator: Frank Dehairs

Involved research groups

Involved partners:

Partner 1: Dr. Ken O. Buesseler
Department Chair and Senior Scientist
Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Woods Hole MA, 02543 USA
Phone: 508-289-2309
FAX: 508-457-2193

Partner 2: Prof. Thomas W. Trull
University of Tasmania - CSIRO Marine Research
Antarctic Climate and Ecosystem Cooperative Research Centre
Phone: 61 3 62 262988
Fax: 61 3 62 262973

Partner 3: Prof. James K.B. Bishop
EO Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
University of California, Berkeley
M/S 90-1116, One Cyclotron Road
7000 East Avenue
Livermore, CA 94550
Phone (510) 495-2457
Fax (510) 486-5686

Partner 4: Dr. Philip Boyd
Centre for Chemical and Physical Oceanography
Department of Chemistry
University of Otago
PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand
Phone: (64)(03) 479-5249
Fax: (64)(03) 479-7906

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