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19 Research products, page 1 of 2

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  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Vries, Joost; Monteiro, Fanny; Wheeler, Glen; Poulton, Alex; Godrijan, Jelena; Cerino, Federica; Malinverno, Elisa; Langer, Gerald; Brownlee, Colin;
    Project: UKRI | GW4+ - a consortium of ex... (NE/L002434/1), UKRI | NSFGEO-NERC An unexpected... (NE/N011708/1), MZOS | Mechanism of long-term ch... (098-0982705-2731), EC | MEDSEA (265103), EC | SEACELLS (670390)

    Coccolithophores are globally important marine calcifying phytoplankton that utilize a haplo-diplontic life cycle. The haplo-diplontic life cycle allows coccolithophores to divide in both life cycle phases and potentially expands coccolithophore niche volume. Research has, however, to date largely overlooked the life cycle of coccolithophores and has instead focused on the diploid life cycle phase of coccolithophores. Through the synthesis and analysis of global scanning electron microscopy (SEM) coccolithophore abundance data (n=2534), we find that calcified haploid coccolithophores generally constitute a minor component of the total coccolithophore abundance (≈ 2 %–15 % depending on season). However, using case studies in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, we show that, depending on environmental conditions, calcifying haploid coccolithophores can be significant contributors to the coccolithophore standing stock (up to ≈30 %). Furthermore, using hypervolumes to quantify the niche of coccolithophores, we illustrate that the haploid and diploid life cycle phases inhabit contrasting niches and that on average this allows coccolithophores to expand their niche by ≈18.8 %, with a range of 3 %–76 % for individual species. Our results highlight that future coccolithophore research should consider both life cycle stages, as omission of the haploid life cycle phase in current research limits our understanding of coccolithophore ecology. Our results furthermore suggest a different response to nutrient limitation and stratification, which may be of relevance for further climate scenarios. Our compilation highlights the spatial and temporal sparsity of SEM measurements and the need for new molecular techniques to identify uncalcified haploid coccolithophores. Our work also emphasizes the need for further work on the carbonate chemistry niche of the coccolithophore life cycle.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Marron, Alan; Cassarino, Lucie; Hatton, Jade; Curnow, Paul; Hendry, Katharine R.;
    Project: WT , EC | BIOCOMPLEX (247333), EC | ICY-LAB (678371)

    The marine silicon cycle is intrinsically linked with carbon cycling in the oceans via biological production of silica by a wide range of organisms. The stable silicon isotopic composition (denoted by δ30Si) of siliceous microfossils extracted from sediment cores can be used as an archive of past oceanic silicon cycling. However, the silicon isotopic composition of biogenic silica has only been measured in diatoms, sponges and radiolarians, and isotopic fractionation relative to seawater is entirely unknown for many other silicifiers. Furthermore, the biochemical pathways and mechanisms that determine isotopic fractionation during biosilicification remain poorly understood. Here, we present the first measurements of the silicon isotopic fractionation during biosilicification by loricate choanoflagellates, a group of protists closely related to animals. We cultured two species of choanoflagellates, Diaphanoeca grandis and Stephanoeca diplocostata, which showed consistently greater isotopic fractionation (approximately −5 ‰ to −7 ‰) than cultured diatoms (−0.5 ‰ to −2.1 ‰). Instead, choanoflagellate silicon isotopic fractionation appears to be more similar to sponges grown under similar dissolved silica concentrations. Our results highlight that there is a taxonomic component to silicon isotope fractionation during biosilicification, possibly via a shared or related biochemical transport pathway. These findings have implications for the use of biogenic silica δ30Si produced by different silicifiers as proxies for past oceanic change.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Paradis, Sarah; Pusceddu, Antonio; Masqué, Pere; Puig, Pere; Moccia, Davide; Russo, Tommaso; Iacono, Claudio;
    Project: EC | EUROFLEETS2 (312762)

    Bottom trawling in the deep sea is one of the main drivers of sediment resuspension, eroding the seafloor and altering the content and composition of sedimentary organic matter (OM). The physical and biogeochemical impacts of bottom trawling were studied on the continental slope of the Gulf of Castellammare, Sicily (southwestern Mediterranean), through the analysis of two triplicate sediment cores collected at trawled and untrawled sites (∼550 m water depth) during the summer of 2016. Geochemical and sedimentological parameters (excess 210Pb, excess 234Th, 137Cs, dry bulk density, and grain size), elemental (organic carbon and nitrogen) and biochemical composition of sedimentary OM (proteins, carbohydrates, lipids), as well as its freshness (phytopigments) and degradation rates were determined in both coring locations. The untrawled site had a sedimentation rate of 0.15 cm yr−1 and presented a 6 cm thick surface mixed layer that contained siltier sediment with low excess 210Pb concentrations, possibly resulting from the resuspension, posterior advection, and eventual deposition of coarser and older sediment from adjacent trawling grounds. In contrast, the trawled site was eroded and presented compacted century-old sediment highly depleted in OM components, which were between 20 % and 60 % lower than those in the untrawled site. However, the upper 2 cm of the trawled site consisted of recently accumulated sediments enriched in excess 234Th, excess 210Pb, and phytopigments, while OM contents were similar to those from the untrawled core. This fresh sediment supported protein turnover rates of 0.025 d−1, which doubled those quantified in surface sediments of the untrawled site. The enhancement of remineralization rates in surface sediment of the trawled site was associated with the arrival of fresh particles on a chronically trawled deep-sea region that is generally deprived of OM. We conclude that the detrimental effects of bottom trawling can be temporarily and partially abated by the arrival of fresh and nutritionally rich OM, which stimulate the response of benthic communities. However, these ephemeral deposits are likely to be swiftly eroded due to the high trawling frequency over fishing grounds, highlighting the importance of establishing science-based management strategies to mitigate the impacts of bottom trawling.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Wilson, Jamie D.; Barker, Stephen; Edwards, Neil R.; Holden, Philip B.; Ridgwell, Andy;
    Project: EC | PALEOGENIE (617313), UKRI | CO2-CarbonCycle-Climate-I... (NE/H017240/1)

    The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is sensitive to changes in the depth at which sinking particulate organic matter is remineralized: often described as a change in the exponent “b” of the Martin curve. Sediment trap observations from deep and intermediate depths suggest there is a spatially heterogeneous pattern of b, particularly varying with latitude, but disagree over the exact spatial patterns. Here we use a biogeochemical model of the phosphorus cycle coupled with a steady-state representation of ocean circulation to explore the sensitivity of preformed phosphate and atmospheric CO2 to spatial variability in remineralization depths. A Latin hypercube sampling method is used to simultaneously vary the Martin curve independently within 15 different regions, as a basis for a regression-based analysis used to derive a quantitative measure of sensitivity. Approximately 30 % of the sensitivity of atmospheric CO2 to changes in remineralization depths is driven by changes in the subantarctic region (36 to 60∘ S) similar in magnitude to the Pacific basin despite the much smaller area and lower export production. Overall, the absolute magnitude of sensitivity is controlled by export production, but the relative spatial patterns in sensitivity are predominantly constrained by ocean circulation pathways. The high sensitivity in the subantarctic regions is driven by a combination of high export production and the high connectivity of these regions to regions important for the export of preformed nutrients such as the Southern Ocean and North Atlantic. Overall, regionally varying remineralization depths contribute to variability in CO2 of between around 5 and 15 ppm, relative to a global mean change in remineralization depth. Future changes in the environmental and ecological drivers of remineralization, such as temperature and ocean acidification, are expected to be most significant in the high latitudes where CO2 sensitivity to remineralization is also highest. The importance of ocean circulation pathways to the high sensitivity in subantarctic regions also has significance for past climates given the importance of circulation changes in the Southern Ocean.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Stratmann, Tanja; Lins, Lidia; Purser, Autun; Marcon, Yann; Rodrigues, Clara F.; Ravara, Ascensão; Cunha, Marina R.; Simon-Lledó, Erik; Jones, Daniel O. B.; Sweetman, Andrew K.; +2 more
    Project: FCT | SFRH/BPD/107805/2015 (SFRH/BPD/107805/2015), EC | MIDAS (603418), NWO | Structure and (mal)functi... (13403)

    Future deep-sea mining for polymetallic nodules in abyssal plains will negatively impact the benthic ecosystem, but it is largely unclear whether this ecosystem will be able to recover from mining disturbance and if so, to what extent and at what timescale. During the “DISturbance and reCOLonization” (DISCOL) experiment, a total of 22 % of the seafloor within a 10.8 km2 circular area of the nodule-rich seafloor in the Peru Basin (SE Pacific) was ploughed in 1989 to bury nodules and mix the surface sediment. This area was revisited 0.1, 0.5, 3, 7, and 26 years after the disturbance to assess macrofauna, invertebrate megafauna and fish density and diversity. We used this unique abyssal faunal time series to develop carbon-based food web models for each point in the time series using the linear inverse modeling approach for sediments subjected to two disturbance levels: (1) outside the plough tracks; not directly disturbed by plough, but probably suffered from additional sedimentation; and (2) inside the plough tracks. Total faunal carbon stock was always higher outside plough tracks compared with inside plough tracks. After 26 years, the carbon stock inside the plough tracks was 54 % of the carbon stock outside plough tracks. Deposit feeders were least affected by the disturbance, with modeled respiration, external predation, and excretion rates being reduced by only 2.6 % inside plough tracks compared with outside plough tracks after 26 years. In contrast, the respiration rate of filter and suspension feeders was 79.5 % lower in the plough tracks after 26 years. The “total system throughput” (T..), i.e., the total sum of modeled carbon flows in the food web, was higher throughout the time series outside plough tracks compared with the corresponding inside plough tracks area and was lowest inside plough tracks directly after the disturbance (8.63 × 10−3 ± 1.58 × 10−5 mmol C m−2 d−1). Even 26 years after the DISCOL disturbance, the discrepancy of T.. between outside and inside plough tracks was still 56 %. Hence, C cycling within the faunal compartments of an abyssal plain ecosystem remains reduced 26 years after physical disturbance, and a longer period is required for the system to recover from such a small-scale sediment disturbance experiment.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Friedrich, J.; Janssen, F.; Aleynik, D.; Bange, H. W.; Boltacheva, N.; Çagatay, M. N.; Dale, A. W.; Etiope, G.; Erdem, Z.; Geraga, M.; +29 more
    Project: EC | HYPOX (226213)

    In this paper we provide an overview of new knowledge on oxygen depletion (hypoxia) and related phenomena in aquatic systems resulting from the EU-FP7 project HYPOX ("In situ monitoring of oxygen depletion in hypoxic ecosystems of coastal and open seas, and landlocked water bodies", http://www.hypox.net). In view of the anticipated oxygen loss in aquatic systems due to eutrophication and climate change, HYPOX was set up to improve capacities to monitor hypoxia as well as to understand its causes and consequences. Temporal dynamics and spatial patterns of hypoxia were analyzed in field studies in various aquatic environments, including the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, Scottish and Scandinavian fjords, Ionian Sea lagoons and embayments, and Swiss lakes. Examples of episodic and rapid (hours) occurrences of hypoxia, as well as seasonal changes in bottom-water oxygenation in stratified systems, are discussed. Geologically driven hypoxia caused by gas seepage is demonstrated. Using novel technologies, temporal and spatial patterns of water-column oxygenation, from basin-scale seasonal patterns to meter-scale sub-micromolar oxygen distributions, were resolved. Existing multidecadal monitoring data were used to demonstrate the imprint of climate change and eutrophication on long-term oxygen distributions. Organic and inorganic proxies were used to extend investigations on past oxygen conditions to centennial and even longer timescales that cannot be resolved by monitoring. The effects of hypoxia on faunal communities and biogeochemical processes were also addressed in the project. An investigation of benthic fauna is presented as an example of hypoxia-devastated benthic communities that slowly recover upon a reduction in eutrophication in a system where naturally occurring hypoxia overlaps with anthropogenic hypoxia. Biogeochemical investigations reveal that oxygen intrusions have a strong effect on the microbially mediated redox cycling of elements. Observations and modeling studies of the sediments demonstrate the effect of seasonally changing oxygen conditions on benthic mineralization pathways and fluxes. Data quality and access are crucial in hypoxia research. Technical issues are therefore also addressed, including the availability of suitable sensor technology to resolve the gradual changes in bottom-water oxygen in marine systems that can be expected as a result of climate change. Using cabled observatories as examples, we show how the benefit of continuous oxygen monitoring can be maximized by adopting proper quality control. Finally, we discuss strategies for state-of-the-art data archiving and dissemination in compliance with global standards, and how ocean observations can contribute to global earth observation attempts.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Schuster, U.; McKinley, G. A.; Bates, N.; Chevallier, F.; Doney, S. C.; Fay, A. R.; González-Dávila, M.; Gruber, N.; Jones, S.; Krijnen, J.; +12 more
    Project: EC | CARBOCHANGE (264879), EC | COCOS (212196), EC | GEOCARBON (283080), EC | GREENCYCLESII (238366)

    The Atlantic and Arctic Oceans are critical components of the global carbon cycle. Here we quantify the net sea–air CO2 flux, for the first time, across different methodologies for consistent time and space scales for the Atlantic and Arctic basins. We present the long-term mean, seasonal cycle, interannual variability and trends in sea–air CO2 flux for the period 1990 to 2009, and assign an uncertainty to each. We use regional cuts from global observations and modeling products, specifically a pCO2-based CO2 flux climatology, flux estimates from the inversion of oceanic and atmospheric data, and results from six ocean biogeochemical models. Additionally, we use basin-wide flux estimates from surface ocean pCO2 observations based on two distinct methodologies. Our estimate of the contemporary sea–air flux of CO2 (sum of anthropogenic and natural components) by the Atlantic between 40° S and 79° N is −0.49 ± 0.05 Pg C yr−1, and by the Arctic it is −0.12 ± 0.06 Pg C yr−1, leading to a combined sea–air flux of −0.61 ± 0.06 Pg C yr−1 for the two decades (negative reflects ocean uptake). We do find broad agreement amongst methodologies with respect to the seasonal cycle in the subtropics of both hemispheres, but not elsewhere. Agreement with respect to detailed signals of interannual variability is poor, and correlations to the North Atlantic Oscillation are weaker in the North Atlantic and Arctic than in the equatorial region and southern subtropics. Linear trends for 1995 to 2009 indicate increased uptake and generally correspond between methodologies in the North Atlantic, but there is disagreement amongst methodologies in the equatorial region and southern subtropics.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Chivers, A. J.; Narayanaswamy, B. E.; Lamont, P. A.; Dale, A.; Turnewitsch, R.;
    Project: UKRI | Impact of the Geometry of... (NE/G006415/1), EC | HERMIONE (226354)

    Interest in seamount research has gathered momentum over the past five years in an effort to understand the physical, geochemical and biological characteristics as well as the interconnectedness of seamount ecosystems. The majority of biological seamount research has concentrated upon the rich and diverse suspension feeding organisms that dominate the megafauna, such as gorgonians and antipatharian corals; by comparison there have been few studies that have investigated the no less enigmatic, but possibly just as important infauna. To help fill this knowledge gap, the macrofaunal community was sampled from a total of five stations along a northerly transect (capturing water depths from ∼130 m to ∼3300 m), on Senghor Seamount (NE Atlantic). The focus of this study is on the polychaete communities. Polychaete abundance peaked at the summit and a mid-slope station (∼1500 m), a pattern mirrored by the biomass values. The polychaete community along the transect appeared to be particularly diverse, with 135 species nominally identified to putative species from a total of 954 individuals. A diversity maximum was identified on the upper slope at ∼800 m depth, with species diversity, richness and evenness also all peaking at this station. Depth is likely to be a significant factor in determining levels of similarity between stations.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Ford, David A.; Molen, Johan; Hyder, Kieran; Bacon, John; Barciela, Rosa; Creach, Veronique; McEwan, Robert; Ruardij, Piet; Forster, Rodney;
    Project: EC | PROTOOL (226880), EC | MYOCEAN2 (283367)

    Phytoplankton form the base of the marine food chain, and knowledge of phytoplankton community structure is fundamental when assessing marine biodiversity. Policy makers and other users require information on marine biodiversity and other aspects of the marine environment for the North Sea, a highly productive European shelf sea. This information must come from a combination of observations and models, but currently the coastal ocean is greatly under-sampled for phytoplankton data, and outputs of phytoplankton community structure from models are therefore not yet frequently validated. This study presents a novel set of in situ observations of phytoplankton community structure for the North Sea using accessory pigment analysis. The observations allow a good understanding of the patterns of surface phytoplankton biomass and community structure in the North Sea for the observed months of August 2010 and 2011. Two physical–biogeochemical ocean models, the biogeochemical components of which are different variants of the widely used European Regional Seas Ecosystem Model (ERSEM), were then validated against these and other observations. Both models were a good match for sea surface temperature observations, and a reasonable match for remotely sensed ocean colour observations. However, the two models displayed very different phytoplankton community structures, with one better matching the in situ observations than the other. Nonetheless, both models shared some similarities with the observations in terms of spatial features and inter-annual variability. An initial comparison of the formulations and parameterizations of the two models suggests that diversity between the parameter settings of model phytoplankton functional types, along with formulations which promote a greater sensitivity to changes in light and nutrients, is key to capturing the observed phytoplankton community structure. These findings will help inform future model development, which should be coupled with detailed validation studies, in order to help facilitate the wider application of marine biogeochemical modelling to user and policy needs.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Holt, J.; Butenschön, M.; Wakelin, S. L.; Artioli, Y.; Allen, J. I.;
    Project: EC | MEECE (212085)

    In this paper we clearly demonstrate that changes in oceanic nutrients are a first order factor in determining changes in the primary production of the northwest European continental shelf on time scales of 5–10 yr. We present a series of coupled hydrodynamic ecosystem modelling simulations, using the POLCOMS-ERSEM system. These are forced by both reanalysis data and a single example of a coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation model (OA-GCM) representative of possible conditions in 2080–2100 under an SRES A1B emissions scenario, along with the corresponding present day control. The OA-GCM forced simulations show a substantial reduction in surface nutrients in the open-ocean regions of the model domain, comparing future and present day time-slices. This arises from a large increase in oceanic stratification. Tracer transport experiments identify a substantial fraction of on-shelf water originates from the open-ocean region to the south of the domain, where this increase is largest, and indeed the on-shelf nutrient and primary production are reduced as this water is transported on-shelf. This relationship is confirmed quantitatively by comparing changes in winter nitrate with total annual nitrate uptake. The reduction in primary production by the reduced nutrient transport is mitigated by on-shelf processes relating to temperature, stratification (length of growing season) and recycling. Regions less exposed to ocean-shelf exchange in this model (Celtic Sea, Irish Sea, English Channel, and Southern North Sea) show a modest increase in primary production (of 5–10%) compared with a decrease of 0–20% in the outer shelf, Central and Northern North Sea. These findings are backed up by a boundary condition perturbation experiment and a simple mixing model.

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The following results are related to European Marine Science. Are you interested to view more results? Visit OpenAIRE - Explore.
19 Research products, page 1 of 2
  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Vries, Joost; Monteiro, Fanny; Wheeler, Glen; Poulton, Alex; Godrijan, Jelena; Cerino, Federica; Malinverno, Elisa; Langer, Gerald; Brownlee, Colin;
    Project: UKRI | GW4+ - a consortium of ex... (NE/L002434/1), UKRI | NSFGEO-NERC An unexpected... (NE/N011708/1), MZOS | Mechanism of long-term ch... (098-0982705-2731), EC | MEDSEA (265103), EC | SEACELLS (670390)

    Coccolithophores are globally important marine calcifying phytoplankton that utilize a haplo-diplontic life cycle. The haplo-diplontic life cycle allows coccolithophores to divide in both life cycle phases and potentially expands coccolithophore niche volume. Research has, however, to date largely overlooked the life cycle of coccolithophores and has instead focused on the diploid life cycle phase of coccolithophores. Through the synthesis and analysis of global scanning electron microscopy (SEM) coccolithophore abundance data (n=2534), we find that calcified haploid coccolithophores generally constitute a minor component of the total coccolithophore abundance (≈ 2 %–15 % depending on season). However, using case studies in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, we show that, depending on environmental conditions, calcifying haploid coccolithophores can be significant contributors to the coccolithophore standing stock (up to ≈30 %). Furthermore, using hypervolumes to quantify the niche of coccolithophores, we illustrate that the haploid and diploid life cycle phases inhabit contrasting niches and that on average this allows coccolithophores to expand their niche by ≈18.8 %, with a range of 3 %–76 % for individual species. Our results highlight that future coccolithophore research should consider both life cycle stages, as omission of the haploid life cycle phase in current research limits our understanding of coccolithophore ecology. Our results furthermore suggest a different response to nutrient limitation and stratification, which may be of relevance for further climate scenarios. Our compilation highlights the spatial and temporal sparsity of SEM measurements and the need for new molecular techniques to identify uncalcified haploid coccolithophores. Our work also emphasizes the need for further work on the carbonate chemistry niche of the coccolithophore life cycle.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Marron, Alan; Cassarino, Lucie; Hatton, Jade; Curnow, Paul; Hendry, Katharine R.;
    Project: WT , EC | BIOCOMPLEX (247333), EC | ICY-LAB (678371)

    The marine silicon cycle is intrinsically linked with carbon cycling in the oceans via biological production of silica by a wide range of organisms. The stable silicon isotopic composition (denoted by δ30Si) of siliceous microfossils extracted from sediment cores can be used as an archive of past oceanic silicon cycling. However, the silicon isotopic composition of biogenic silica has only been measured in diatoms, sponges and radiolarians, and isotopic fractionation relative to seawater is entirely unknown for many other silicifiers. Furthermore, the biochemical pathways and mechanisms that determine isotopic fractionation during biosilicification remain poorly understood. Here, we present the first measurements of the silicon isotopic fractionation during biosilicification by loricate choanoflagellates, a group of protists closely related to animals. We cultured two species of choanoflagellates, Diaphanoeca grandis and Stephanoeca diplocostata, which showed consistently greater isotopic fractionation (approximately −5 ‰ to −7 ‰) than cultured diatoms (−0.5 ‰ to −2.1 ‰). Instead, choanoflagellate silicon isotopic fractionation appears to be more similar to sponges grown under similar dissolved silica concentrations. Our results highlight that there is a taxonomic component to silicon isotope fractionation during biosilicification, possibly via a shared or related biochemical transport pathway. These findings have implications for the use of biogenic silica δ30Si produced by different silicifiers as proxies for past oceanic change.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Paradis, Sarah; Pusceddu, Antonio; Masqué, Pere; Puig, Pere; Moccia, Davide; Russo, Tommaso; Iacono, Claudio;
    Project: EC | EUROFLEETS2 (312762)

    Bottom trawling in the deep sea is one of the main drivers of sediment resuspension, eroding the seafloor and altering the content and composition of sedimentary organic matter (OM). The physical and biogeochemical impacts of bottom trawling were studied on the continental slope of the Gulf of Castellammare, Sicily (southwestern Mediterranean), through the analysis of two triplicate sediment cores collected at trawled and untrawled sites (∼550 m water depth) during the summer of 2016. Geochemical and sedimentological parameters (excess 210Pb, excess 234Th, 137Cs, dry bulk density, and grain size), elemental (organic carbon and nitrogen) and biochemical composition of sedimentary OM (proteins, carbohydrates, lipids), as well as its freshness (phytopigments) and degradation rates were determined in both coring locations. The untrawled site had a sedimentation rate of 0.15 cm yr−1 and presented a 6 cm thick surface mixed layer that contained siltier sediment with low excess 210Pb concentrations, possibly resulting from the resuspension, posterior advection, and eventual deposition of coarser and older sediment from adjacent trawling grounds. In contrast, the trawled site was eroded and presented compacted century-old sediment highly depleted in OM components, which were between 20 % and 60 % lower than those in the untrawled site. However, the upper 2 cm of the trawled site consisted of recently accumulated sediments enriched in excess 234Th, excess 210Pb, and phytopigments, while OM contents were similar to those from the untrawled core. This fresh sediment supported protein turnover rates of 0.025 d−1, which doubled those quantified in surface sediments of the untrawled site. The enhancement of remineralization rates in surface sediment of the trawled site was associated with the arrival of fresh particles on a chronically trawled deep-sea region that is generally deprived of OM. We conclude that the detrimental effects of bottom trawling can be temporarily and partially abated by the arrival of fresh and nutritionally rich OM, which stimulate the response of benthic communities. However, these ephemeral deposits are likely to be swiftly eroded due to the high trawling frequency over fishing grounds, highlighting the importance of establishing science-based management strategies to mitigate the impacts of bottom trawling.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Wilson, Jamie D.; Barker, Stephen; Edwards, Neil R.; Holden, Philip B.; Ridgwell, Andy;
    Project: EC | PALEOGENIE (617313), UKRI | CO2-CarbonCycle-Climate-I... (NE/H017240/1)

    The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is sensitive to changes in the depth at which sinking particulate organic matter is remineralized: often described as a change in the exponent “b” of the Martin curve. Sediment trap observations from deep and intermediate depths suggest there is a spatially heterogeneous pattern of b, particularly varying with latitude, but disagree over the exact spatial patterns. Here we use a biogeochemical model of the phosphorus cycle coupled with a steady-state representation of ocean circulation to explore the sensitivity of preformed phosphate and atmospheric CO2 to spatial variability in remineralization depths. A Latin hypercube sampling method is used to simultaneously vary the Martin curve independently within 15 different regions, as a basis for a regression-based analysis used to derive a quantitative measure of sensitivity. Approximately 30 % of the sensitivity of atmospheric CO2 to changes in remineralization depths is driven by changes in the subantarctic region (36 to 60∘ S) similar in magnitude to the Pacific basin despite the much smaller area and lower export production. Overall, the absolute magnitude of sensitivity is controlled by export production, but the relative spatial patterns in sensitivity are predominantly constrained by ocean circulation pathways. The high sensitivity in the subantarctic regions is driven by a combination of high export production and the high connectivity of these regions to regions important for the export of preformed nutrients such as the Southern Ocean and North Atlantic. Overall, regionally varying remineralization depths contribute to variability in CO2 of between around 5 and 15 ppm, relative to a global mean change in remineralization depth. Future changes in the environmental and ecological drivers of remineralization, such as temperature and ocean acidification, are expected to be most significant in the high latitudes where CO2 sensitivity to remineralization is also highest. The importance of ocean circulation pathways to the high sensitivity in subantarctic regions also has significance for past climates given the importance of circulation changes in the Southern Ocean.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Stratmann, Tanja; Lins, Lidia; Purser, Autun; Marcon, Yann; Rodrigues, Clara F.; Ravara, Ascensão; Cunha, Marina R.; Simon-Lledó, Erik; Jones, Daniel O. B.; Sweetman, Andrew K.; +2 more
    Project: FCT | SFRH/BPD/107805/2015 (SFRH/BPD/107805/2015), EC | MIDAS (603418), NWO | Structure and (mal)functi... (13403)

    Future deep-sea mining for polymetallic nodules in abyssal plains will negatively impact the benthic ecosystem, but it is largely unclear whether this ecosystem will be able to recover from mining disturbance and if so, to what extent and at what timescale. During the “DISturbance and reCOLonization” (DISCOL) experiment, a total of 22 % of the seafloor within a 10.8 km2 circular area of the nodule-rich seafloor in the Peru Basin (SE Pacific) was ploughed in 1989 to bury nodules and mix the surface sediment. This area was revisited 0.1, 0.5, 3, 7, and 26 years after the disturbance to assess macrofauna, invertebrate megafauna and fish density and diversity. We used this unique abyssal faunal time series to develop carbon-based food web models for each point in the time series using the linear inverse modeling approach for sediments subjected to two disturbance levels: (1) outside the plough tracks; not directly disturbed by plough, but probably suffered from additional sedimentation; and (2) inside the plough tracks. Total faunal carbon stock was always higher outside plough tracks compared with inside plough tracks. After 26 years, the carbon stock inside the plough tracks was 54 % of the carbon stock outside plough tracks. Deposit feeders were least affected by the disturbance, with modeled respiration, external predation, and excretion rates being reduced by only 2.6 % inside plough tracks compared with outside plough tracks after 26 years. In contrast, the respiration rate of filter and suspension feeders was 79.5 % lower in the plough tracks after 26 years. The “total system throughput” (T..), i.e., the total sum of modeled carbon flows in the food web, was higher throughout the time series outside plough tracks compared with the corresponding inside plough tracks area and was lowest inside plough tracks directly after the disturbance (8.63 × 10−3 ± 1.58 × 10−5 mmol C m−2 d−1). Even 26 years after the DISCOL disturbance, the discrepancy of T.. between outside and inside plough tracks was still 56 %. Hence, C cycling within the faunal compartments of an abyssal plain ecosystem remains reduced 26 years after physical disturbance, and a longer period is required for the system to recover from such a small-scale sediment disturbance experiment.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Friedrich, J.; Janssen, F.; Aleynik, D.; Bange, H. W.; Boltacheva, N.; Çagatay, M. N.; Dale, A. W.; Etiope, G.; Erdem, Z.; Geraga, M.; +29 more
    Project: EC | HYPOX (226213)

    In this paper we provide an overview of new knowledge on oxygen depletion (hypoxia) and related phenomena in aquatic systems resulting from the EU-FP7 project HYPOX ("In situ monitoring of oxygen depletion in hypoxic ecosystems of coastal and open seas, and landlocked water bodies", http://www.hypox.net). In view of the anticipated oxygen loss in aquatic systems due to eutrophication and climate change, HYPOX was set up to improve capacities to monitor hypoxia as well as to understand its causes and consequences. Temporal dynamics and spatial patterns of hypoxia were analyzed in field studies in various aquatic environments, including the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, Scottish and Scandinavian fjords, Ionian Sea lagoons and embayments, and Swiss lakes. Examples of episodic and rapid (hours) occurrences of hypoxia, as well as seasonal changes in bottom-water oxygenation in stratified systems, are discussed. Geologically driven hypoxia caused by gas seepage is demonstrated. Using novel technologies, temporal and spatial patterns of water-column oxygenation, from basin-scale seasonal patterns to meter-scale sub-micromolar oxygen distributions, were resolved. Existing multidecadal monitoring data were used to demonstrate the imprint of climate change and eutrophication on long-term oxygen distributions. Organic and inorganic proxies were used to extend investigations on past oxygen conditions to centennial and even longer timescales that cannot be resolved by monitoring. The effects of hypoxia on faunal communities and biogeochemical processes were also addressed in the project. An investigation of benthic fauna is presented as an example of hypoxia-devastated benthic communities that slowly recover upon a reduction in eutrophication in a system where naturally occurring hypoxia overlaps with anthropogenic hypoxia. Biogeochemical investigations reveal that oxygen intrusions have a strong effect on the microbially mediated redox cycling of elements. Observations and modeling studies of the sediments demonstrate the effect of seasonally changing oxygen conditions on benthic mineralization pathways and fluxes. Data quality and access are crucial in hypoxia research. Technical issues are therefore also addressed, including the availability of suitable sensor technology to resolve the gradual changes in bottom-water oxygen in marine systems that can be expected as a result of climate change. Using cabled observatories as examples, we show how the benefit of continuous oxygen monitoring can be maximized by adopting proper quality control. Finally, we discuss strategies for state-of-the-art data archiving and dissemination in compliance with global standards, and how ocean observations can contribute to global earth observation attempts.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Schuster, U.; McKinley, G. A.; Bates, N.; Chevallier, F.; Doney, S. C.; Fay, A. R.; González-Dávila, M.; Gruber, N.; Jones, S.; Krijnen, J.; +12 more
    Project: EC | CARBOCHANGE (264879), EC | COCOS (212196), EC | GEOCARBON (283080), EC | GREENCYCLESII (238366)

    The Atlantic and Arctic Oceans are critical components of the global carbon cycle. Here we quantify the net sea–air CO2 flux, for the first time, across different methodologies for consistent time and space scales for the Atlantic and Arctic basins. We present the long-term mean, seasonal cycle, interannual variability and trends in sea–air CO2 flux for the period 1990 to 2009, and assign an uncertainty to each. We use regional cuts from global observations and modeling products, specifically a pCO2-based CO2 flux climatology, flux estimates from the inversion of oceanic and atmospheric data, and results from six ocean biogeochemical models. Additionally, we use basin-wide flux estimates from surface ocean pCO2 observations based on two distinct methodologies. Our estimate of the contemporary sea–air flux of CO2 (sum of anthropogenic and natural components) by the Atlantic between 40° S and 79° N is −0.49 ± 0.05 Pg C yr−1, and by the Arctic it is −0.12 ± 0.06 Pg C yr−1, leading to a combined sea–air flux of −0.61 ± 0.06 Pg C yr−1 for the two decades (negative reflects ocean uptake). We do find broad agreement amongst methodologies with respect to the seasonal cycle in the subtropics of both hemispheres, but not elsewhere. Agreement with respect to detailed signals of interannual variability is poor, and correlations to the North Atlantic Oscillation are weaker in the North Atlantic and Arctic than in the equatorial region and southern subtropics. Linear trends for 1995 to 2009 indicate increased uptake and generally correspond between methodologies in the North Atlantic, but there is disagreement amongst methodologies in the equatorial region and southern subtropics.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Chivers, A. J.; Narayanaswamy, B. E.; Lamont, P. A.; Dale, A.; Turnewitsch, R.;
    Project: UKRI | Impact of the Geometry of... (NE/G006415/1), EC | HERMIONE (226354)

    Interest in seamount research has gathered momentum over the past five years in an effort to understand the physical, geochemical and biological characteristics as well as the interconnectedness of seamount ecosystems. The majority of biological seamount research has concentrated upon the rich and diverse suspension feeding organisms that dominate the megafauna, such as gorgonians and antipatharian corals; by comparison there have been few studies that have investigated the no less enigmatic, but possibly just as important infauna. To help fill this knowledge gap, the macrofaunal community was sampled from a total of five stations along a northerly transect (capturing water depths from ∼130 m to ∼3300 m), on Senghor Seamount (NE Atlantic). The focus of this study is on the polychaete communities. Polychaete abundance peaked at the summit and a mid-slope station (∼1500 m), a pattern mirrored by the biomass values. The polychaete community along the transect appeared to be particularly diverse, with 135 species nominally identified to putative species from a total of 954 individuals. A diversity maximum was identified on the upper slope at ∼800 m depth, with species diversity, richness and evenness also all peaking at this station. Depth is likely to be a significant factor in determining levels of similarity between stations.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Ford, David A.; Molen, Johan; Hyder, Kieran; Bacon, John; Barciela, Rosa; Creach, Veronique; McEwan, Robert; Ruardij, Piet; Forster, Rodney;
    Project: EC | PROTOOL (226880), EC | MYOCEAN2 (283367)

    Phytoplankton form the base of the marine food chain, and knowledge of phytoplankton community structure is fundamental when assessing marine biodiversity. Policy makers and other users require information on marine biodiversity and other aspects of the marine environment for the North Sea, a highly productive European shelf sea. This information must come from a combination of observations and models, but currently the coastal ocean is greatly under-sampled for phytoplankton data, and outputs of phytoplankton community structure from models are therefore not yet frequently validated. This study presents a novel set of in situ observations of phytoplankton community structure for the North Sea using accessory pigment analysis. The observations allow a good understanding of the patterns of surface phytoplankton biomass and community structure in the North Sea for the observed months of August 2010 and 2011. Two physical–biogeochemical ocean models, the biogeochemical components of which are different variants of the widely used European Regional Seas Ecosystem Model (ERSEM), were then validated against these and other observations. Both models were a good match for sea surface temperature observations, and a reasonable match for remotely sensed ocean colour observations. However, the two models displayed very different phytoplankton community structures, with one better matching the in situ observations than the other. Nonetheless, both models shared some similarities with the observations in terms of spatial features and inter-annual variability. An initial comparison of the formulations and parameterizations of the two models suggests that diversity between the parameter settings of model phytoplankton functional types, along with formulations which promote a greater sensitivity to changes in light and nutrients, is key to capturing the observed phytoplankton community structure. These findings will help inform future model development, which should be coupled with detailed validation studies, in order to help facilitate the wider application of marine biogeochemical modelling to user and policy needs.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Holt, J.; Butenschön, M.; Wakelin, S. L.; Artioli, Y.; Allen, J. I.;
    Project: EC | MEECE (212085)

    In this paper we clearly demonstrate that changes in oceanic nutrients are a first order factor in determining changes in the primary production of the northwest European continental shelf on time scales of 5–10 yr. We present a series of coupled hydrodynamic ecosystem modelling simulations, using the POLCOMS-ERSEM system. These are forced by both reanalysis data and a single example of a coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation model (OA-GCM) representative of possible conditions in 2080–2100 under an SRES A1B emissions scenario, along with the corresponding present day control. The OA-GCM forced simulations show a substantial reduction in surface nutrients in the open-ocean regions of the model domain, comparing future and present day time-slices. This arises from a large increase in oceanic stratification. Tracer transport experiments identify a substantial fraction of on-shelf water originates from the open-ocean region to the south of the domain, where this increase is largest, and indeed the on-shelf nutrient and primary production are reduced as this water is transported on-shelf. This relationship is confirmed quantitatively by comparing changes in winter nitrate with total annual nitrate uptake. The reduction in primary production by the reduced nutrient transport is mitigated by on-shelf processes relating to temperature, stratification (length of growing season) and recycling. Regions less exposed to ocean-shelf exchange in this model (Celtic Sea, Irish Sea, English Channel, and Southern North Sea) show a modest increase in primary production (of 5–10%) compared with a decrease of 0–20% in the outer shelf, Central and Northern North Sea. These findings are backed up by a boundary condition perturbation experiment and a simple mixing model.