Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Probing Questions & In-Depth Answers: Austria Participates for the First Time in the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program

16.11.2011
For the first time, a scientist from Austria will be actively involved in an expedition of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP). This multi-national research programme is helping to achieve a new understanding of physical and biological processes of the Earth by intensively exploring the sea-floor.

Austria´s annual contribution to this programme is financed by the Austrian Science Fund FWF together with the Austrian Academy of Sciences. The first-time participation of an Austrian in a drilling expedition of the research vessel JOIDES Resolution represents a highlight of this contribution to the IODP.


Globigerina – a group of planktic foraminifera and messenger of past climatic conditions
© Patrick Grunert

The depth of the sea is still largely unexplored. And the true scientific adventure really begins when fresh ground is to be broken - into the depths of the oceanic crust. This is exactly the goal of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), launched in 2003.

The international research programme intends to explore the structure and history of the Earth by examining sediments of the sea-floor. Several custom-built vessels equipped with advanced drilling facilities and experts from various countries will be employed as part of IODP in order to extract drill cores from the Earth´s crust on the open sea. Alongside the two leading agencies, the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and the US National Science Foundation NSF, IODP is significantly co-financed by a consortium of European nations. The Austrian membership contribution of 100.000 US dollars is paid in equal shares by the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) and the Austrian Science Fund FWF. This contribution gives scientists of the member states the right to apply for a place in an expedition on one of the vessels. With the participation of Dr. Patrick Grunert, paleobiologist at the ÖAW and at the Institute for Earth Sciences of the University of Graz, this is the first time that Austria is represented onboard.

SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGH
For eight weeks, the micropalaentologist will perform scientific offshore drilling activities together with a 30-member team of researchers in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula. And the team is on the scent of a real "breakthrough" - that which separated the Iberian Peninsula from the African continent. Around 5.2 million years ago, the Strait of Gibraltar formed, connecting the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean. Dr. Grunert explains: "The outflow of warm and highly saline water from the Mediterranean Sea drastically changed the oceanic current patterns of the Atlantic. As part of our expedition, we will examine if this has had an influence on climatic changes." In fact, many scientists see a parallel between the climate of the Pliocene - from 5.3 to 2.6 million years ago - and the currently predicted global warming: high CO2 concentrations and temperatures also went hand-in-hand during the middle Pliocene (4.5-3 millions of years ago). However, it has not yet been clarified what triggered that climatic change and the later global cooling - at the transition to today´s climatic conditions.
THERMOMETER AT GREAT DEPTH
To identify the connections between oceanic currents and climatic changes in the Pliocene, Dr. Grunert uses "thermometers" at great depths - drill cores that will be extracted by JOIDES from a depth of up to 2.600 metres. Dr. Grunert explains: "I am interested in the foraminifers contained therein. These are single-cell organisms that have conquered numerous marine habitats and are able to form preservable fossil shells. Their distribution pattern, as well as the geochemical composition of their carbonate shells, delivers information about past environmental conditions."

The micropaleontologist, who is currently boarding the JOIDES, will conduct the first examinations in specially set up high-tech labs. Based on this, samples can be specifically selected after completion of the expedition, which are suitable for further analyses. "By participating in this IODP expedition, I have the opportunity to obtain unique sample material from the drilling to conduct subsequent examinations in Austria", says Dr. Grunert. The scientist is thereby offered extraordinary research conditions, which would not have been possible without the financial contribution made by the FWF to the IODP. The FWF is thus helping top Austrian scientists to be involved at the cutting edge of research - now and in the future.

Scientific contact:
Dr. Patrick Grunert
Institute for Earth Sciences
Universität Graz
Heinrichstraße 26
8010 Graz, Austria
T +43 / (0)316 / 380 - 8735
E patrick.grunert@uni-graz.at
Austrian Science Fund FWF:
Mag. Stefan Bernhardt
Haus der Forschung
Sensengasse 1
1090 Vienna, Austria
T +43 / (0)1 / 505 67 40 - 8111
E stefan.bernhardt@fwf.ac.at
W http://www.fwf.ac.at
Copy Editing & Distribution:
PR&D - Public Relations for Research & Education Mariannengasse 8
1090 Vienna, Austria
T +43 / (0)1 / 505 70 44
E contact@prd.at
W http://www.prd.at

Dr. Katharina Schnell | PR&D
Further information:
http://www.fwf.ac.at

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Colorado River's connection with the ocean was a punctuated affair
16.11.2017 | University of Oregon

nachricht Researchers create largest, longest multiphysics earthquake simulation to date
14.11.2017 | Gauss Centre for Supercomputing

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>