CArbon and Nutrient DYnamics and FLuxes Over Shelf Systems (CANDYFLOSS)

Lead Research Organisation: University of East Anglia
Department Name: Environmental Sciences

Abstract

The large continental land masses are surrounded by extensive shallow (ca 100m depth) seas known as the 'shelf seas'. These act as the boundary between the massively perturbed terrestrial environment and the vast open ocean marine system, and have huge socio-economic importance. They are the primary regions of human marine resource exploitation, including both renewable and fossil fuel energy sources, recreation, trade and food production. Although comprising only about 5% of the global ocean surface area, the shelf seas provide 90% of the global fish catches which form an important source of food to much of the global population. They also play an important role in the ecosystem services provided by the oceans as a whole, in particular in storing carbon away from the atmosphere.

Physical and biochemical processes in shelf seas influence the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere and the subsequent storage of carbon in the deep ocean. Biological growth draws carbon out of the water, which is then replaced by carbon in CO2 from the atmosphere. In the shelf seas this growth is supported by terrestrial and open ocean sources of nutrients, implying intimate roles for both the terrestrial biosphere and the open ocean environment in regulating shelf sea climate services. The oceans can also be a major source or sink for other greenhouse gases, including nitrous oxide (N2O), with the shallow shelf seas thought to play a key role.

The spatial extent of the submerged continental shelves varies greatly. The NW European shelf sea is one of the largest and hence is likely to play a significant role in marine biogeochemical cycling, alongside providing a useful model for other systems However, even in this relatively well studied region, we lack a good understanding of the principal controls on the cycling of carbon and the major nutrient elements, nitrogen, phosphorous and silicon. Consequently it is also difficult to predict how the cycling of these elements and hence the carbon removal they support may be altered by ongoing and potential future global change. Our proposal aims to address these uncertainties through a comprehensive study of the cycling of the major nutrients and carbon throughout the water column over the NW European shelf sea system.

Through close collaboration with a range of partners, we will undertake a year-long observation programme of the whole NW European continental shelf. We will measure the seawater concentrations of the major forms of carbon and nutrients. Combining these with physical water transports and measured transfer of gases (specifically CO2 and N2O) between the air and sea surface, we will quantify the major fluxes of nutrients and carbon between the shelf sea and both the adjacent deep ocean and atmosphere. This will definitively establish the role of this shelf system in the global carbon and nutrient cycles.

We will also undertake 4 dedicated research cruises focused on understanding the seasonal cycle of biological and chemical processing of the different forms of the nutrients and carbon. We will measure the rates at which both the photosynthetic and consumer plankton incorporate nutrients and carbon into their cellular material, and subsequently how the combined activity of this biological/chemical system influences the cycling of the major elements. This will allow us to understand the ways in which the role of the shelf system in global cycles is maintained.

The combined work delivered by both this proposal and the other programme workpackages will allow us to identify aspects of the NW European shelf system which may be susceptible to ongoing or future environmental changes. Such knowledge will provide both enhanced scientific understanding and improved predictive tools for policy makers and other stakeholders.

Planned Impact

See Lead Proposal

Publications

10 25 50

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García-Martín E (2014) Plankton metabolism and bacterial growth efficiency in offshore waters along a latitudinal transect between the UK and Svalbard in Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers

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García-Martín E (2014) Plankton community and bacterial metabolism in Arctic sea ice leads during summer 2010 in Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers

 
Title Interactions between the marine biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus 
Description Infographic to represent marine biogeochemical cycles, published on figshare 
Type Of Art Image 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact Won first prize in infohackit. Published on figshare. Used in book chapter - Marine Plankton handbook published in 2017 
URL https://figshare.com/articles/Interactions_between_the_marine_biogeochemical_cycles_of_carbon_nitrog...
 
Description NERC standard grant
Amount £630,700 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/R000956/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2017 
End 11/2020
 
Description ASLO New Orleans 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 21-27/02/ 2016: ASLO 2016 New Orleans, (USA). García-Martín E.E., Purdie D., Mahaffey C, Davis, C., Robinson C. Seasonal variability of microplankton community respiration in the Celtic Sea, UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description British Council Workshop (Brazil) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 17-20/03/2015 Oral short talk and poster at the FAPESP - British Council Workshop: "Global change in coastal marine ecosystems: science, policy and sustainable development" Santos (Brazil). García-Martín E.E., Purdie D., Robinson C. Remineralization of organic carbon in the Celtic sea, UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Introduction to Oceanography course 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Weekend Introduction to Oceanography course - 15 attendees - divers from around the country and undergraduate students from other universities (Plymouth)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Introduction to Oceanography course 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Weekend Introduction to Oceanography course - 25 attendees - streamed to 70 viewers. Participants included A level students, undergraduates, retired journalists and local divers, kayakers and sailors. A level students went on to apply for University place in oceanography. Increased interest in oceanography - able to run course again in 2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Keynote presentation Gordon Research Conference Hong Kong 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote presentation to an international conference - Gordon Research Conference on Ocean Biogeochemistry (The biologically driven ocean carbon pumps) in Hong Kong, China. Sparked discussion and led to improved scientific network - request to participate in further scientific activities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.grc.org/programs.aspx?id=17297
 
Description Keynote presentation Royal Society Deoxygenation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote presentation at Royal Society Ocean deoxygenation workshop
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://royalsociety.org/science-events-and-lectures/2016/09/ocean-ventilation/
 
Description Presentation at Ocean Sciences February 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Oral presentation at international conference. Led to discussion with new international collaborators. Ideas for new experiments. García-Martín EE, Robinson C. Estimation of plankton respiration rates by the INT reduction method: evaluation and validation. Ocean Sciences Meeting February 2018 (Portland, USA).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Presentation at Yanqi conference, Beijing - PICES working group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation at the Yan-qi Lake conference; Climate Change and Ocean Carbon Sequestration, Beijing and working group meeting of the PICES/ICES working group on the biological carbon pump Robinson,C., Garcia-Martin,EE. Plankton respiration - the known unknown.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.ices.dk/community/groups/Pages/WGCCBOCS.aspx
 
Description Qingdao National Laboratory, China 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 06/12/2016: Microbial Oceanography Workshop; Quingdao National Lab, China. Garcia Martin E.E, Robinson C. Plankton respiration and its link to the biological carbon pump: What do we know?
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Shelf sea biogeochemistry 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation at an international workshop with the aim of developing collaboration with the State Key Laboratory for Estuarine and Coastal Research at East China Normal University, Shanghai and international participants at the workshop. Led to discussion with USA estuarine colleagues, improved scientific network.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Xiamen University (China) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 05/12/2016: Lingfeng Forum; Xiamen University, China. Garcia Martin E.E, Robinson C. Microbial respiration and bacterial growth efficiencies in a temperate Shelf Sea
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016