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.
“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.
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Bathmann | IOW Director | email@example.com
*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 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Barbara Hentzsch | Phone: +49 (0)381 – 5197 102 | email@example.com
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
GPM sees deadly tornadic storms moving through US Southeast
01.12.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Cyclic change within magma reservoirs significantly affects the explosivity of volcanic eruptions
30.11.2016 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy