Two research projects, which join several German and Chinese partner institutions, were launched into action with a kick-off meeting in Guangzhou, China, from December 4 to 8, 2017. They are supported by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research with a total of 1.25 Mio. Euros and aim at recognising the fingerprint of megacities in the marine sediments of Chinese marginal seas. On the German side, both projects are coordinated by the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde (IOW). In the face of a worldwide increase of megacities, the research results will be of great interest not only for Chinese decision makers.
The largest cities of the world can be found in China. When the number of inhabitants exceeds 10 million, those cities are referred to as ‘megacities’. There are plans underway to create even larger conurbations with 10 times as many citizens by merging already existing megacities. Examples are the region at the mouth of the Yellow River in Eastern China and the Guangzhou / Hong Kong region in the South at the Pearl River mouth.
Here, more than 100 million people will inhabit an area 100 times as big as London in one huge conurbation. How will the effluents of such immensely big cities, which carry various problem substances such as pharmaceuticals and microplastic particles, impact receiving waters, rivers, and coastal seas? How will the on-going fast population growth further influence the pollution of these waters?
Those are central questions of the two joint projects MEGAPOL (short for “Megacity’s fingerprint in Chinese marginal seas: Investigation of pollutant fingerprints and dispersal”) and TRAN (short for “Temporal pattern of anthropogenic and natural particles at the slope of South China Sea”) coordinated by IOW.
The project MEGAPOL will focus on the Pearl River mouth area in the South China Sea as well as the Yellow River delta in the Bohai Sea. With an interdisciplinary approach the project aims at understanding the anthropogenic environmental change in these coastal waters and how its impact spreads into deeper oceanic regions.
Both study areas are ideal model systems – not only because of the neighbouring megacities, but also because they provide a good opportunity to study exchange processes between land and ocean in very sensitive marine ecosystems and the changes in the physical driving forces behind these processes such as monsoon, marine currents as well as impacts of climate change.
The TRAN project augments the scientific angle of MEGAPOL as well as its infrastructure by deploying a contamination free mooring at the northern continental slope of South China Sea in the area affected by the Pearl River plume. Put into position in spring 2018, the mooring will record the temporal patterns of anthropogenic and natural particles. The key challenge is to construct and install the complex 2000 metre device with its numerous instruments in a way that guarantees a reliable distinction between the two particle types. During an expedition with the German research vessel SONNE in summer 2019 the mooring will be hauled in for a first sample and data recovery.
An intensive exchange between the German and Chinese scientists as well as a close cooperation regarding the field work are an integral part of both projects. Chinese MEGAPOL partners are the Second Institute of Oceanography SOA in Hangzhou, the National Marine Environmental Monitoring Centre in Dalian, the Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, CAS, the Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the Guangzhou Marine Geological Survey. Besides IOW, which heads the investigations, the German project partners are the University of Hamburg with its institutes of Oceanography and for Geology as well as the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht’s Institute of Coastal Research.
Prof. Dr. Joanna Waniek (IOW), head coordinator of both projects, is very pleased by the kick-off meeting’s outcome: “We prepared the first joint expedition in September 2018 and determined cruise routes as well as sampling methods.” Her colleague, Prof. Zhou Meng of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, who coordinates the Chinese project tasks, adds: “We scheduled the measurements in the Pearl River estuary and made detailed plans for the exchange and the training of our PhD students.” “The planning is ambitious but we all are very much looking forward to the scientific and the cultural challenges,” says Joanna Waniek.
All participants expect that the close German-Chinese cooperation will bring additional momentum and synergies to the joint research. Joanna Waniek: “In Germany, our cities are growing as well and the pressure of human impact on coastal seas is rising. We therefore should regard the anthropogenic fingerprints, which we expect to find in the sediments of South China Sea, as strong warning signals.”
Prof. Dr. Joanna Waniek | +49 (0)381 5197 300 | Joanna.email@example.com
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
IOW is a member of the Leibniz Association with currently 91 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 1.6 billion Euros. (http://www.leibniz-association.eu)
Dr. Kristin Beck | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Massive impact crater from a kilometer-wide iron meteorite discovered in Greenland
15.11.2018 | Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen
The unintended consequences of dams and reservoirs
14.11.2018 | Uppsala University
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences