WG Water column Biogeochemistry

Open Ocean Biogeochemistry      

Our open ocean research interest lies in the study of trace metal, nutrient and carbon distributions and their interactions with physical, geochemical and biological processes. We undertake ship board expeditions in order to sample ocean waters and examine spatial and temporal variability in these nutrient compounds. We develop novel analytical techniques to improve our capability to study biogeochemical processes in the ocean.

Current projects include

1.   Pelagic transfer of iron and nutrients in the Peruvian oxygen minimum zone. Supply of organic matter to the oxygen minimum zones (SFB 754)
2.   Geotraces (DFG)
3.   AtlantOs

Biogeochemical Sensor Development

The ocean is undersampled. Observations from ships will keep providing an important insight into the oceans, but will not give the required spatial-temporal coverage required to study ocean processes and their future changes. The development, optimization and deployment of novel biogeochemical sensors for autonomous ocean observations therefore forms an important task. In collaboration with the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton (UK) we are working on new generations of sensors and their deployment on platforms including ships, gliders, moorings. We are working on sensors for pH, pCO2, alkalinity and phosphate which employ lab-on-chip or optode technologies.

Process Studies

Our process studies focus on laboratory or field based manipulations of ocean waters in order to unpick the influence of biological and geochemical factors driving the observed distributions of carbon, nutrients and trace elements. We examine how marine microbes (phytoplankton and bacteria), and geochemistry (pH, particles such as atmospheric dust) influence the abundance and cycling of nutrients and trace elements and thus in turn, how nutrients and trace elements influence carbon cycling.

1.   Ocean Food-web Patrol – Climate Effects: Reducing Targeted Uncertainties with an Interactive Network (Ocean Certain EU FP7
2. Mesocosms

Contaminants and nanoparticles

The release of chemicals from dumping sites and the use of new materials, such as nanoparticles, in consumer products is leading to great concerns about the fate, behaviour and toxicological effects of contaminants once released into the environment. In our group we investigate the stability of engineered nanoparticles in coastal and offshore seawaters and follow the aggregation/dissolution processes that determine their ultimate fate. We are also investigating the fate of explosive residues and their degradation products in the Baltic Sea. 

Ammo project