Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Methane in coastal seas´ sediments: Are they an additional peril for global climate or in a stable equilibrium

Research Vessel Maria S. Merian is launching for a research cruise dedicated to potential sources of methane in the Baltic Sea from July 31 to August 22, 2010.

An international group of marine chemists, microbiologists and geologists coordinated by the marine chemist Gregor Rehder from the Leibniz Institute of Baltic Sea Research in Warnemünde will put to sea on board of r/v Maria S. Merian on July 31, 2010. The cruise will focus on methane deposits in sediments of the Baltic Sea.

Methane is a dangerous greenhouse gas and, considering a period of 100 years, it is 23-times more effective than carbon dioxide. Thus, scientists all over the world are searching for current and potential sources of methane. The Merian expedition MSM 16/1 will concentrate on methane emissions from Baltic Sea sediments. Beside the detection of current methane emissions into water and atmosphere, the main issue on the agenda is to investigate potential changes within the methane deposits due to an increase in water temperature and ongoing eutrophication.

The seafloor of the Baltic Sea is an ideal place for methane production. There is a continuous snow of organic matter reaching the floor where its decomposition causes oxygen consumption. In the layered water body of the Baltic Sea, this leads nearly permanently to oxygen deficiency in the bottom water and constant anoxia within the sediments (anaerobic conditions). These are most favourable condi-tions for methane producing bacteria. Mayor parts of their methane production will be stored and accumulated in the sediments. Other bacterial communities, which are specialised in using methane for generating energy, provide a barrier which keeps the methane effectively scavenged in the sediments: On a global scale it is estimated that less than 10 % of the methane produced in the sediments is released from the seafloor.

This bacterially directed interaction between methane production and methane oxidation – well known from anaerobic sediments all over the world – can be studied in the Baltic Sea in an ideal way. The hypothesis: if global warming causes changes in the bacterial interaction leading to an increased release of methane from the seafloor into the water and the atmosphere, a feedback reinforcing the greenhouse effect might be expected.

In the Baltic Sea, numerous methane deposits are already known due to earlier studies. The investigations during the Merian cruise will focus on these regions. By means of a multibeam echosounder detecting gas bubbles within the water column, of various acoustic systems which virtually can look into the sediments and with innovative sensors analysing the methane concentration in the water, key areas within the Arkona, Bornholm, Gothland and Bothnian Basins will be analysed in detail. In parallel, gravity corer and a variety of other coring devices will be deployed, for the purpose of sediment sampling in these regions.

The Merian cruise is part of the international research project Baltic Gas, which is jointly funded by BONUS – the Baltic Organisations Network for Funding Sciences EEIG. It is co-ordinated by the Danish microbiologist Bo Barker Joergensen, Center for Geomicrobiology at the University of Aarhus.

Prof. Dr. Gregor Rehder, IOW, +49 381 5197 336,
Dr. Barbara Hentzsch, IOW, +49 381 5197 102;
Partners in Baltic Gas:
Center for Geomicrobiology, Aarhus University, DK; National Environmental Research Institute, Aarhus University, DK; Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, DK; Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, DE; Department of Geology, Lund University, SE; Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Science, Sopot, PL; Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde, DE; Winogradsky Institute of Microbiology, Russian Academy of Sciences, RUS; Alfred-Wegener-Institute of Polar and Marine Research, DE; Stockholm University, SE; Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University, NL; Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bremen, DE

Dr. Barbara Hentzsch | idw
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Gas hydrate research: Advanced knowledge and new technologies
23.03.2018 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam - Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ

nachricht New technologies and computing power to help strengthen population data
22.03.2018 | University of Southampton

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>