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Integrated approach to the assess Carbon dynamics in the Southern Ocean

More:  Institute 
Dutch title: Een geïntegreerde benadering van de Zuidelijke Oceaan koolstofdynamiek
Period: January 1998 till November 2000
Status: Completed

Institute  Top 
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel; Faculteit Wetenschappen; Vakgroep Chemie, more, partner

The broad research goal of the proposal will address the role of the Southern Ocean as a source or sink on a regional and seasonal scale. The approach is multidisciplinary combining field and laboratory-scale and numerical experimentation. It is structured as a network bringing together five different interactive research teams. Attention will go towards a better understanding of the physical and biogeochemical factors controlling carbon biomass production and mineralisation in the surface waters and export to the deeper ocean. In particular, the role of light and nutrient (major and minor) availability in structuring the dominant phytoplankton community, the associated food-web dynamics and hence carbon exportation will be investigated in areas of contrasting phytoplankton dominance: diatoms, Phaeocystis colonies and nanophytoplankton. The role of aggregates as carbon conveyors to the deep sea and the sediments will be investigated with special attention to bacterial mineralisation and production and fate of the barite proxy. The usefulness of barite as a proxy of carbon will be assessed in order to improve existing transfer functions. Knowlegde gained will be integrated in a 1D-physical-mechanistic biogeochemical model stimulating carbon and associated biogenic element (N, Si, Fe, Ba) in the whole water column of the Southern Ocean over a seasonal cycle. All together, this study will contribute to the set up of diagnostic and predictive modelling tools for assessing the role of the Southern Ocean in a Global perspective.

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