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Arctic under multiple stressors - Combined effects of ocean acidification, temperature and light on Arctic phytoplankton assemblages (AMUST)

The aim of our research is to measure, understand and predict phytoplankton responses to multiple stressors, e.g. Ocean Acidification, warming and chnages in light availability, by focusing on the Arctic Ocean as one of the most sensitive areas on Earth.

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Project date

Starts
2014-03-01

Ends
2022-12-31

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Project type

  • field work

Discipline

  • marine biology
  • oceanography

Project Keywords

  • biosphere / ecological dynamics / ecosystem functions
  • biosphere / aquatic ecosystems / plankton
  • oceans / marine biology / marine microbiota
  • oceans / ocean chemistry / carbon dioxide

Fieldwork information

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Summary

Due to the fundamental role of phytoplankton in global elemental cycles, climate change research has begun to study these organisms in the context of ocean acidification (OA), increased temperatures and changes in the surface ocean light regime. Until now, these stressors have mostly been assessed in isolation and only limited process-understanding was gained. For regions most prone to the predicted changes, including the Arctic Ocean, knowledge about the effects of multiple stressors is lacking. The well studied spring bloom dynamics in the Kongsfjorden provide an ideal setting to investigate the single and combined effects of OA, temperature and light in incubation experiments with natural phytoplankton communities. Our work will examine how these variables interact to affect phytoplankton productivity and ecological dynamics. We propose to conduct in situ measurements and incubation experiments aimed at examining the response of phytoplankton assemblages from Kongsfjorden to a range of pCO2, temperatures and light regimes. In situ sampling will be used to characterize natural gradients in pCO2, light and temperature and to quantify phytoplankton biomass (Chl a) and productivity (O2 production, 14C uptake). Incubation experiments will be used to expose phytoplankton to different matrices of different CO2, temperature, and light levels. By varying these parameters independently, the combined as well as individual effects can be investigated. After incubating and monitoring the assemblages over several weeks, differences in phytoplankton biomass and species abundance, primary productivity, elemental composition and photophysiology will be determined.

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