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: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers invent tiny, light-powered wires to modulate brain's electrical signals

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

The “Holy Grail” of peptide chemistry: Making peptide active agents available orally

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected

21.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>