Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Seabed Research Will Have Global Significance

06.09.2002

Sediments in the Arabian Sea will be examined by an international scientific expedition led by a researcher from the University of Edinburgh to increase understanding of the natural processes of the ocean floor and establish its significance for global cycles and climate change. Robotic research platforms will be deployed on the sea floor to study deep-sea organisms and their impacts on sedimentary processes, without removing the creatures from their natural environment. Monsoons—winds that blow in opposite directions at different times of year— cause the Arabian Sea to be a site of huge productivity and create a mid-depth layer of intensely oxygen-depleted water. Production of plant life in the surface waters and subsequent transformations in underlying waters and sediments represent important terms in the global carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous cycles, which, in turn, affect climate. Fluxes of dissolved metals, nutrients and organic matter from oxygen-depleted sediments are also of potential global importance.

Although a number of scientific expeditions have visited the Arabian Sea during the past decade, the ocean floor has received little attention because of difficulties in accessing the seabed. The benthic (sedimentary) communities, which range from bacteria to surface-dwelling crabs and deeply burrowing worms, strongly influence the physical state of the sediments and a wide range of important geochemical processes because of the way they mix and irrigate the seafloor deposits. Expedition leader Dr Greg Cowie of the Geology and Geophysics Department said: “The Arabian Sea sediments form a ‘factory’ where nutrients, metals and organic matter undergo major transformations. This is especially true at depths of between 200 and 1000 metres where oxygen-depleted waters bathe the Arabian Sea’s margins. Because of the remote setting and consequent difficulty in studying organisms in their natural environment, very little information is available on the mechanisms and impacts of faunal contribution to seafloor processes. This remains a major gap in our understanding of how the sediment system functions.”

The scientific team will study conditions across the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) on the Indus margin of the Arabian Sea, which serves as a natural laboratory. “We will carry out studies of the faunal communities under contrasting oxygen levels at sites across the OMZ, alongside detailed assessments of sediment geochemistry,” said Greg Cowie.

Platforms, known as benthic landers, will be set up on the seafloor and used for incubation experiments in which tracers will be used to examine sediment processing by benthic creatures and its impact on nutrient, metal and organic matter cycling. The information obtained will help improve our understanding of the workings of the sea-bed and their connection with geochemical cycles and climate changes. The expedition will consist of four cruises on the RRS Charles Darwin in 2003.

Linda Menzies | AlphaGalileo

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers devise microreactor to study formation of methane hydrate

23.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

ShAPEing the future of magnesium car parts

23.08.2017 | Automotive Engineering

New insights into the world of trypanosomes

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>