Biogeochemistry of major elements in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans

Biogeochemistry of major elements in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans
General information
The project aims to enhance the oceanographer toolkit for quantifying skeleton precipitation rates in marine environments, and assessing changes in ecosystem structure and functioning over very large spatial scales. This is based on analysis of changes in seawater chemistry induced by uptake of major elements by various marine organisms during the biomineralization process, and release of these elements when skeletons dissolve. The approach takes advantage of the diverse tendencies of various skeleton precipitating organisms to incorporate minor constituents in their skeletons. Analysis of the concentrations of the major elements calcium, strontium, lithium and fluorine will be done along four long ocean transects in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, that have been or will be analysed for the concentrations and isotope ratios of a large number of trace elements, nutrients, carbonate system parameters and hydrography. Presence of the trace element data alongside the major element data will allow quantification of major element contributions and removal by boundary sources and sinks (such as rivers, hydrothermal, dust and sediments), enabling corrections of the major element data to account for fluxes derived from the ecological system. This knowledge will be used to assess the state of marine ecosystems, and can be used as a baseline against changes observed in future assessments. Application of this tool on repeat spatial or temporal surveys will allow large scale assessment of the progression of the effects of, for example, ocean acidification on the abundance of calcifying organisms.
February, 2022
January, 2025
Funding (total)
Funding (GEOMAR)
Funding body / Programme
    DFG /
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel (GEOMAR), Germany