Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Uncharted territory: 50th MERIAN expedition focuses on seafloor processes in winter

08.01.2016

The North and Baltic Sea face environmental changes resulting from climate change, increasing utilization pressure as well as changes in the catchment area. These changes and their effect on coastal ecosystems are the focus of the German research consortium Küstenforschung Nordsee-Ostsee (KüNO) that aims at providing knowledge and data for a sustainable coastal management. One KüNO research field is the analysis of processes in the sediment water transition zone, which have a major influence on marine matter cycles, especially on releasing nutrients and pollutants. On January 6, 2016, the MARIA S. MERIAN embarked on her 50th expedition to study these processes in winter for the first time.

12 of the 16 scientific participants are researchers from the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde (IOW); another 4 come from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht – Centre for Materials and Coastal Research. The research cruise, which started in the port of Bremerhaven and ends in Rostock Port on January 29, 2016, is headed by chief scientist and IOW director Prof. Dr. Ulrich Bathmann.


The 50th MERIAN expedition focuses on the study of winter conditions just like the RV's maiden voyage 10 years ago in February 2006.

IOW / Neutzling

“For almost three years we have been intensively researching the seafloor of the North and Baltic Sea, its different habitats and their respec-tive ecosystem services within the KüNO programme. What happens down there in winter, however, is largely unknown,” the institute director explains the research focus of the MERIAN expedition.

Yet, adequate modelling of the processes in the sediment water transi-tion zone, which is especially active with regards to marine matter cycles, requires a com-plete set of seasonal data, Bathmann continues. “Winter is not the easiest season to embark on a research cruise, but our scientists are well prepared in every respect,” he adds.

The expedition’s scientific program includes an extensive sampling campaign at 30 stations in the North and Baltic Sea as well as in the Skagerrak / Kattegat strait that connects the two seas. Seafloor samples will be analysed with regards to sediment properties as well as to the presence and activity of zoobenthos populations during winter conditions as bioturbation plays a crucial role in sediment mixing and matter exchange between water and seabed.

This concerns important ecological factors such as oxygen, hydrogen sulfide, or nitrous oxide, as well as organic and inorganic particulate matter sedimenting from the water column. Furthermore, sediment cores will be examined for their content of heavy metals, microplastic particles and organic pollutants; experiments directly on board will be conducted to determine, whether microbial activity contributes to the bioavailability of these harmful substances also under winter conditions.

Physical effects on sediment resuspension by small-scale turbulences as a crucial component of sediment transport processes that enable the release of nutrients and other substances into the water column are monitored with vessel-mounted current profilers and a shear microstructure profiler. Specialized sea bottom landers will be deployed for the in-situ analysis of near-bottom turbulence and suspended particulate matter.

The investigations in the boundary layer of water to sediment will complemented with the classical repertoire of oceanographic analyses of the upper water column at all cruise stations to study the effect of the winter conditions on the deep water environments.

“The ultimate objective of the KüNO research on sediments in the North and Baltic Sea is to develop an atlas for the coastal region that provides a functional assessment of the different sediment provinces and habitats in terms of their ecological service for the coastal ecosystems as a basis for a sustainable management that protects especially important areas,” Ulrich Bathmann explains.

“We believe that our winter expedition, which is the last practical step of this phase in our sediment research, will provide significant progress in the understanding of matter cycle processes at the seafloor. Our findings therefore will be a valuable input for the KüNO sediment/habitat atlas,” the chief scientist concludes on the scientific programme of the current MERIAN cruise.

*Scientific contact:
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Bathmann | IOW Director | chiefscientist@merian.briese-research.de

*Further information on the research consortium “Küstenforschung Nordsee-Ostsee” (KüNO) with the projects “SECOS” and “NOAH” for characterizing sediments and habitats in the North and Baltic Sea: http://www.deutsche-kuestenforschung.de/home.html

*Press and Public Relations at IOW:
Dr. Kristin Beck | Phone: +49 (0)381 – 5197 135 | kristin.beck@io-warnemuende.de
Dr. Barbara Hentzsch | Phone: +49 (0)381 – 5197 102 | barbara.hentzsch@io-warnemuende.de

The IOW is a member of the Leibniz Association with currently 89 research institutes and scientific infrastructure facilities. The focus of the Leibniz Institutes ranges from natural, engineering and environmental sciences to economic, social and space sciences as well as to the humanities. The institutes are jointly financed at the state and national levels. The Leibniz Institutes employ a total of 18.100 people, of whom 9.200 are scientists. The total budget of the institutes is 1.64 billion Euros. (http://www.leibniz-association.eu)

Dr. Kristin Beck | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Climate change weakens Walker circulation
20.10.2017 | MARUM - Zentrum für Marine Umweltwissenschaften an der Universität Bremen

nachricht Shallow soils promote savannas in South America
20.10.2017 | Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseen

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>