Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Methane in coastal seas´ sediments: Are they an additional peril for global climate or in a stable equilibrium

27.07.2010
Research Vessel Maria S. Merian is launching for a research cruise dedicated to potential sources of methane in the Baltic Sea from July 31 to August 22, 2010.

An international group of marine chemists, microbiologists and geologists coordinated by the marine chemist Gregor Rehder from the Leibniz Institute of Baltic Sea Research in Warnemünde will put to sea on board of r/v Maria S. Merian on July 31, 2010. The cruise will focus on methane deposits in sediments of the Baltic Sea.

Methane is a dangerous greenhouse gas and, considering a period of 100 years, it is 23-times more effective than carbon dioxide. Thus, scientists all over the world are searching for current and potential sources of methane. The Merian expedition MSM 16/1 will concentrate on methane emissions from Baltic Sea sediments. Beside the detection of current methane emissions into water and atmosphere, the main issue on the agenda is to investigate potential changes within the methane deposits due to an increase in water temperature and ongoing eutrophication.

The seafloor of the Baltic Sea is an ideal place for methane production. There is a continuous snow of organic matter reaching the floor where its decomposition causes oxygen consumption. In the layered water body of the Baltic Sea, this leads nearly permanently to oxygen deficiency in the bottom water and constant anoxia within the sediments (anaerobic conditions). These are most favourable condi-tions for methane producing bacteria. Mayor parts of their methane production will be stored and accumulated in the sediments. Other bacterial communities, which are specialised in using methane for generating energy, provide a barrier which keeps the methane effectively scavenged in the sediments: On a global scale it is estimated that less than 10 % of the methane produced in the sediments is released from the seafloor.

This bacterially directed interaction between methane production and methane oxidation – well known from anaerobic sediments all over the world – can be studied in the Baltic Sea in an ideal way. The hypothesis: if global warming causes changes in the bacterial interaction leading to an increased release of methane from the seafloor into the water and the atmosphere, a feedback reinforcing the greenhouse effect might be expected.

In the Baltic Sea, numerous methane deposits are already known due to earlier studies. The investigations during the Merian cruise will focus on these regions. By means of a multibeam echosounder detecting gas bubbles within the water column, of various acoustic systems which virtually can look into the sediments and with innovative sensors analysing the methane concentration in the water, key areas within the Arkona, Bornholm, Gothland and Bothnian Basins will be analysed in detail. In parallel, gravity corer and a variety of other coring devices will be deployed, for the purpose of sediment sampling in these regions.

The Merian cruise is part of the international research project Baltic Gas, which is jointly funded by BONUS – the Baltic Organisations Network for Funding Sciences EEIG. It is co-ordinated by the Danish microbiologist Bo Barker Joergensen, Center for Geomicrobiology at the University of Aarhus.

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Gregor Rehder, IOW, +49 381 5197 336, gregor.rehder@io-warnemuende.de
Dr. Barbara Hentzsch, IOW, +49 381 5197 102; barbara.hentzsch@io-warnemuende.de
Partners in Baltic Gas:
Center for Geomicrobiology, Aarhus University, DK; National Environmental Research Institute, Aarhus University, DK; Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, DK; Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, DE; Department of Geology, Lund University, SE; Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Science, Sopot, PL; Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde, DE; Winogradsky Institute of Microbiology, Russian Academy of Sciences, RUS; Alfred-Wegener-Institute of Polar and Marine Research, DE; Stockholm University, SE; Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University, NL; Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bremen, DE

Dr. Barbara Hentzsch | idw
Further information:
http://www.balticgas.net/
http://www.bonusportal.org
http://www.io-warnemuende.de

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht New research calculates capacity of North American forests to sequester carbon
16.07.2018 | University of California - Santa Cruz

nachricht Scientists discover Earth's youngest banded iron formation in western China
12.07.2018 | University of Alberta

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Subaru Telescope helps pinpoint origin of ultra-high energy neutrino

16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides

16.07.2018 | Life Sciences

New research calculates capacity of North American forests to sequester carbon

16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>