Partner 1 (Coordinator) : ULB
PI : Lei CHOU
Collaborators : Jérôme HARLAY, Nathalie ROEVROS, Caroline DE BODT
The Laboratory of Chemical Oceanography and Water Geochemistry is part of the Department of Environmental and Earth Sciences at the University of Brussels. The group has a long-standing expertise in biogeochemical cycles of organic carbon, carbonate, and (macro- and micro-) nutrients in freshwater, estuarine and marine environments. The laboratory also has an enduring experience in coordinating interdisciplinary projects at national and EU levels. Recent research activities focus on marine calcification, silicon and phosphorus biogeochemistry in relation to coastal eutrophication, and iron biogeochemistry in sea ice. The approaches of the laboratory involve two aspects of research both related to environmental and global change issues. The first one is the study of the mechanisms and kinetics of fundamental biogeochemical processes in aquatic environments which are essential for the development of a more applied research related to phenomena at larger space and time scales. This aspect includes, for example, studies of the rate of dissolution or weathering of minerals, of thermodynamics of water-mineral interactions, developments of analytical techniques and methodologies in the field of aquatic and sedimentary geochemistry. The second aspect covers the study of the biogeochemical processes affecting the cycle of various elements such as carbon, nutrients, major or minor trace elements either on a local or global scale mainly in aquatic and sedimentary environments. We are especially interested in the evaluation of anthropogenic perturbations, the comparison of man's induced fluxes to the natural pristine ones and their effects on the considered environment (local or global). Jérôme Harlay from the group participated recently in two mesocosm experiments studying the effects of CO2 on natural plankton communities that took place at the Large Scale Facility for Marine Pelagic Food Chain Research in Bergen, Norway. The laboratory also belongs to several international networks devoted to ocean carbon studies, such as SOLAS, EUR-OCEANS and CARBOOCEAN
Partner 2 : ULg
PI : Alberto V. BORGES
Collaborators : Marilaure GREGOIRE, Kim SUYKENS, Bruno DELILLE
The Chemical Oceanography Unit (COU) is part of the Astrophysic, Geophysic and Oceanography Department of the University de Liège. The group has a broad expertise in the inorganic carbon cycle and related air-sea CO2 fluxes in the coastal and open oceanic zones. Since the early 80's the group has carried out pioneering studies of the coastal zone and contributed significantly to the recognition of its global significance in CO2 budgets. Recent research also focuses on the potential biological feedbacks (primary production and calcification) of raising atmospheric CO2 content (under mesocosm conditions), carried out in particular by Bruno Delille, member of the group, and on the assessment of trophic status at ecosystem level. The approach of the group is essentially experimental but ranges from mesocosm experiments to exploitation of remote sensing products. The group has the capabilities for measurement of the main biogeochemical parameters (salinity, Chl a, nutrients, O2, …) but its core activity is the measurement of dissolved inorganic carbon (pCO2 , DIC, Total Alkalinity and pH). To achieve these objectives, the group has developed a panel of innovative and versatile CO2 measurement units complying with particularities and constrains of the coastal environments, that can be applied continuously or discretely. COU carries out VOS (Voluntary Observing Ship) observations onboard the R.V. Belgica (since 2000) and is operating a fixed autonomous pCO2 measurement unit in the most polluted European estuary, the Scheldt (since 2002). On the whole, the unit has co-ordinated three EU projects, participated in three other EU projects, published more than 80 articles in international peer-reviewed journals (two of them in periodicals with impact factor over 20), presented about 150 contributions at international meetings, and Dr. Borges earned in 2003 the European Geosciences Union Outstanding Young Scientist Award. COU belongs to the main networks dedicated to oceanic climatologically active trace gases and to ocean biogeochemistry (SOLAS, CARBOOCEAN, CARBOEUROPE GHG, EUR-OCEAN). COU is part of the interfaculty research centre of the Liege University (MARE) that gathers 24 laboratories in the domain of marine science. COU closely collaborates in the framework of MARE with Marilaure Grégoire whose group specializes in the development and parameterization of mathematical models (1-D, 2-D and 3-D) of the environment coupling the hydrodynamics and the ecosystem dynamics and is also interested in the development of data assimilation tools to improve model outputs reliability.
Partner 3 : UGent
PI : Koen SABBE
The research group Protistology and Aquatic Ecology of the Department of Biology at Ghent University studies a) microbial biodiversity and its role in freshwater and marine ecosystem functioning; b) the biology of protists, in particular of diatoms and c) protist remains (microfossils, pigments and fossil DNA) as biological indicators to understand past environmental changes from sedimentary records. This research is carried out in the framework of national and international collaborations (BOF, FWO, BELSPO, EU-FP 5&6, …). The laboratory has a long-standing expertise in several protist groups, in particular diatoms. Ecophysiological, molecular and genetic studies of laboratory cultures and microcosmos experiments complement field-based approaches. To this end, a culture collection of diatoms and other protists is maintained at the laboratory. The research group has in recent years been optimizing HPLC-based methods to quantify algal biomass (partitioned among major algal groups) based on fossil pigments. Microcosm approaches and in situ experiments are used to unravel trophic interactions in microbial food webs. Molecular methods are applied to studies of microbial community composition, dynamics and interactions in aquatic environments including freshwater plankton, estuarine sediments and micobial mats in Antarctic lakes. Among these techniques are DGGE fingerprinting of PCR amplified rRNA genes, the use of clone libraries for characterising prokaryotic and eukaryotic communities in lakes and ponds, and real-time PCR. Recently, we started to use molecular tools (cDNA-AFLP) to unravel the genetic basis of key processes in the life cycle of microalgae (diatoms, green algae), such as the cell cycle, sexual reproduction and cell wall morphogenesis.
Partner 4 : AWI
PI : Anja ENGEL
Dr. Engel is the leader of the HGF young investigators group "Global change and the future marine carbon cycle". The group is located at the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) for Polar and Marine Research and studies how environmental factors that are susceptible to global change, such as temperature, CO2 and the supply and stoichiometry of nutrients, will affect the marine carbon cycle, specifically the partitioning between dissolved and particulate organic carbon. To study the kinetics of temperature, CO2 and nutrient dependent processes, the group perform laboratory experiments with phytoplankton grown at equilibrium in pH and temperature-controlled chemostats. Furthermore, the group investigate the effects of high CO2 and warming on carbon partitioning during phytoplankton blooms created in artificial ecosystems (mesocosms), e.g. at the EU-Large-Scale-Facilities in Bergen, Norway, and at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences (IfM-GEOMAR) at the University of Kiel. The group has the capabilities for measurement of the main biogeochemical and biological variables (Pigments, nutrients, cell abundance, POC, PON …) but its core activities are the measurement of dissolved organic matter and exopolymer particles ( e.g. polysaccharides, proteins, TEP, CSP ) and the investigation of particle aggregates (coagulation efficiency, size, sinking velocity, porosity).
Dr. Jean-Pierre GATTUSO is a senior scientist at the Laboratoire d'Océanographie de Villefranche and head of the Diversity, Biogeochemistry, and Microbial Ecology group. He specialises in carbon and carbonate cycling in coastal environments. Marine calcification both in corals and in coccolithophores is among his research themes. He conducted the DOREMI chemostat experiments on coccolithophores (November 2000) and could make his expertise and previous data available to the PEACE network. In addition, several members of the present network have collaborated with Dr. Gattuso in calcification and net ecosystem production studies. Dr. Gattuso is involved in the CARBOOCEAN-IP, to construct a database on carbonate production and dissolution over the European continental shelf, with obvious connections to the PEACE project.
Dr. Marion GEHLEN from the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement is the leader of the CARBOOCEAN-IP Core Theme "Biogeochemical feedbacks on the ocean carbon sink" and is member of CARBOOCEAN Steering Committee and Executive Board. Her current research interests focus on biogeochemical modelling of the future evolution of the ocean carbonate system (pelagic calcification, shallow pelagic carbonate dissolution, export), with special emphasis on the fate of export production in the mesopelagic and associated feedbacks on climate. Dr. Gehlen has been collaborating with ULB on carbonate dissolution studies. She has expressed the desire to use the field and experimental data acquired during the PEACE project to derive improved parameterisations of calcification, shallow pelagic carbonate dissolution, TEP production and aggregation processes.
Mr. Steve GROOM is head of the Remote Sensing Group at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory. He collaborated with the CCCC project by providing remote sensing images during the cruises conducted in the Gulf of Biscay. Mr. Groom is also interested in acquiring the PEACE data concerning the concentrations of calcite, coccolith and chlorophyll to compare with satellite ocean colour data from SeaWiFS and MODIS. Conversely, he has agreed to provide remote sensing image products during the PEACE cruises. Mr. Groom previously collaborated with ULB and ULg in the framework of the OMEX project.
Prof. Christoph HEINZE is head of the Ocean Carbon Cycle and Biogeochemistry Group at the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research. His research interests include 3-D prognostic simulations of marine biogeochemical cycles, quantifications of the global carbon cycle, feedbacks between climate and biogeochmical cycles, and understanding and interpreting the paleoclimate record. He is the coordinator of the CARBOOCEAN-IP and leader of the CARBOOCEAN-IP Core Theme "Future scenarios for marine carbon sources and sinks". Among other things, the input and expertise of Prof. Heinze will be invaluable for the modelling tasks of PEACE. He is also on the drafting team of the Fourth IPCC Assessment report and could provide the interface between PEACE and IPCC.
Dr. Maria HOOD is a chemical oceanographer serving as a programme specialist in the Ocean Sciences Section of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO. Her most recent research has focused on annual-to-interannual variability of surface ocean pCO2 measured from autonomous drift buoys. At IOC, she serves as the technical officer for the SCOR-IOC Advisory Panel on Ocean CO2 and its pilot project with the Global Carbon Project, the International Ocean Carbon Coordination Project. Dr. Hood could help promote the information and data exchange between PEACE and other international projects.
Prof. Peter LISS is responsible for Trace Gas Biogeochemistry group at the University of East Anglia. His research interests focus on air-sea exchange of trace gases such as DMS, organo-halogens, non-methane hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ammonia and methylamines and of some volatile trace metals. He is also the chair of the scientific steering committee of SOLAS. The Focus 1 of SOLAS concerns the biogeochemical interactions and feedbacks between ocean and atmosphere. PEACE could thus very well contribute to the goals of SOLAS. Prof. Liss could provide us with his expertise in air-sea exchange and the biogeochemical drivers of gases of climatic significance, such as CO2 and DMS.
Prof. Fred MACKENZIE from the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii, is the world's leading expert in carbonate geochemistry, spanning experimental, theoretical and modelling aspects. His research interests focus on the marine and sedimentary geochemistry, biogeochemical processes and cycling, global environmental change and history of the Earth's surface environment. His expertise in the global carbon and carbonate cycles and in ecosystem dynamics could provide the PEACE network with great support and advise in field, experimental and modelling studies. Prof. Mackenzie has been a close collaborator of ULB since more than three decades.
Prof. Ulf RIEBESELL from the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences is a marine biogeochemist interested in the role of marine biota in biogeochemical cycling and their responses to global change. One of his recent research interests concerns the effect of increasing pCO2 on marine calcification. Prof. Riebesell has agreed to make available to PEACE the data obtained during the mesocosm studies that he recently coordinated, and in which ULB and ULg were involved. PEACE could benefit from his expertise in calcification studies. Prof. Riebesell also expressed interests in the results to be acquired by PEACE.
Dr. Sabine SCHMIDT is an isotope geochemist specialised in particle dynamics at the Département de Géologie et Océanographie of the University of Bordeaux 1. Her group is involved in the development and application of the use of isotope tracers as a tool for marine biogeochemical cycle studies. Dr. Schmidt has agreed to participate in the PEACE cruises in the Gulf of Biscay area to evaluate the particle residence time using the 234Th as a tracer, in continuation of previous collaboration during the CCCC project. She previously collaborated with ULB and ULg in the framework of the OMEX project.
Dr. Jeremy YOUNG is head of the Micropaleontology Department of the Natural History Museum of London. He specialises in the evolution, taxonomy, ultrastructure and biomineralisation of coccolithophores. He is interested in all aspects of coccolithophore biology and palaeontology and use of coccolithophores as models for multidsciplainary global change research. The expertise of Dr. Young, especially in the taxonomy of coccolithophores, could help PEACE to identify the natural assemblage of this plankton group during the field studies. He is also interested to take part in the PEACE cruises.