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
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