Awards - Round 8

The AFI Moderating Panel met on 3rd April 2007 to evaluate the 17 full applications that were received in AFI Round 8. Based on the Panel's recommendations, NERC was able to award funding for 6 of the proposals; details are as given below. The Panel also approved the support of the ten additional applications submitted under the Collaborative Gearing Scheme.

Awards are listed in alphabetical order of Principal Investigator's surname.

Awarded under the Collaborative Gearing Scheme (CGS)

Abstracts of awarded AFI Round 8 proposals

(Descriptions as supplied by the proposers, in response to a request by NERC for a summary 'in a style that could be publicised to a general audience')

Dr Alberto Naveira Garabato, School of Ocean and Earth Sciences, University of Southampton
Dr Sheldon Bacon, National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton
Dr Richard Sanders, National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton
Professor Christopher Ballentine, Earth Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester
Dr Michael Meredith, Physical Sciences Division, British Antarctic Survey (NERC)
Dr Dorothea Bakker, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia
Professor Andrew Watson, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia

"Antarctic deep water rates of export (ANDREX)" [AFI8/14]

The Earth's climate is changing, as it has done in the past. One of the great challenges faced by scientists today is to understand the causes and consequences of these changes. The way many scientists seek this understanding is by running computer-based climate simulations that mimic the complex interactions between the ocean, atmosphere, ice and living beings that are thought to be responsible for driving climate change. It is partly thanks to these simulations that we now know that ocean circulation plays a key role in modulating climate. One of the most important elements of ocean circulation is what scientists know as the "meridional overturning circulation" (MOC). This term describes the cooling and resulting sinking of surface water masses in high-latitude regions, their journey through the deep ocean and their eventual warming and return to the surface, after many decades or centuries. The MOC is important to climate because the water masses involved in this long circuit through the ocean carry with them heat, carbon and other significant substances such as plant nutrients, which in this way are distributed around the planet and locked away in the deep ocean for long periods of time.

One of the stages of the MOC that puzzles scientists the most, and one of the most uncertain processes in climate simulations, is the formation near the Antarctic continent of Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW). AABW is the water mass that fills the deepest layers of the MOC, flushing the global ocean abyss and sequestering carbon and nutrients in the deep ocean. Yet in spite of its key place in the MOC and climate, AABW is surrounded by many basic questions. This is because AABW is formed in remote regions that are only rarely visited by oceanographic ships. As a result, we currently know little about how much AABW is formed, how it is exported from the Antarctic seas to the rest of the world ocean, and what quantity of carbon and nutrients is carried by AABW into the global ocean abyss.

In order to begin answering these questions, we plan to conduct an experiment in which we will measure the rate of AABW production and export, and the associated transports of carbon and nutrients, in the Weddell gyre. This is an oval-shaped current that occupies the southern rim of the South Atlantic and Southwest Indian oceans, and is believed to be the main region in which AABW is formed. We will do this by (1) measuring the distributions of temperature, salinity, current velocity, dissolved gases, nutrients and carbon along the northern rim of the Weddell gyre; and (2) teaming up with two groups of American and German scientists that will make similar measurements along the eastern rim of the gyre and across the gyre's southwestern corner, respectively. We will use this unprecedented richness of observations to construct a budget of the water masses, carbon and nutrients entering and leaving the Weddell gyre. In this way, we will be able to answer key questions such as "How much AABW is formed in the Weddell gyre?" and "What quantity of carbon and nutrients is locked away by this AABW into the global ocean abyss?". Our answers to these questions will serve as a benchmark to evaluate the skill of state-of-the-art climate and ocean models, and to identify future climate change.

Professor Karen Heywood, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia
Dr Keith Nicholls, Physical Sciences Division, British Antarctic Survey (NERC)
Mr David Meldrum, Scottish Association for Marine Science
Dr Mark Inall, Scottish Association for Marine Science

"Synoptic Antarctic shelf-slope interactions study: SASSI UK" [AFI8/17]

The oceans contain salt that makes the water denser. Fresh water does not contain salt, and usually lies on top of the denser salty water. We now know that the amount of fresh water on the margins of Antarctica affects global climate, at least in the latest climate models. These climate models are still very crude, because we have to simplify them to make them run on our fastest computers in a reasonable time. Nevertheless we think that the large-scale behaviour of the models is probably similar to that in the real world. When we add additional fresh water around Antarctica in the model, the climate of Europe changes over a time scale as short as 5 years. This means that even places we think of as remote are in fact just as important to study as those close to us. We also believe that Antarctica is an important place to study because it is one of the places where the dense cold water sinks to the sea bed and flows towards the equator in what oceanographers call the thermohaline circulation. If this thermohaline circulation slows down then global climate is affected, as was dramatised in the film 'The Day After Tomorrow'. Because Antarctica is remote, and difficult and expensive to get to, we have very little information about the oceanographic characteristics, such as temperature or current velocity, and the amount of salt in the water, which we term salinity. It is especially difficult to obtain measurements close to Antarctica in winter, because most of the ocean is covered in a thick layer of frozen seawater, called sea ice.

Observations suggest that changes in global climate are affecting the amounts of fresh water on the continental shelf of Antarctica. It seems that the ice sheets (on the Antarctic continent) and ice shelves (the floating parts of the ice sheet, where it meets the sea) may be melting more quickly than before, at least in some locations. Under normal climate conditions, water evaporates from the ocean, falls as snow onto Antarctica and is compacted into ice. This ice then flows slowly towards the sea, where it calves into icebergs, which then melt back into the ocean. This circle of water through the ocean, atmosphere and ice is called the hydrological cycle. What may be happening now as climate changes is that some parts of this cycle are going faster than they used to, knocking the cycle out of its normal equilibrium.

This project will study what is happening to the fresh water on the Antarctic continental shelf and slope. We will deploy for one year some moored instruments on the shelf and slope, measuring ocean temperature, salinity, current speed and direction, and sea level. Two of these instruments are very novel - one of them collects a sample of water every week and stores it in a bag ready for collection when we return a year later. The other will sit on the sea bed, and every day sends a little pod up to the surface on a length of wire and down again, measuring temperature and salinity as it goes. Because it sits in the deep water, it shouldn't get mown down by icebergs as they go by! These instruments are going to sit just upstream of the largest Antarctic Ice Shelf. We're going to test the idea that the ocean water upstream influences the amount of very cold, dense water that descends to the deep ocean there.

Although studying the conditions around Antarctica is an ambitious thing to do, we are not doing it alone. Countries around the world are coming together for the International Polar Year in 2007-2009. We have agreed to all make measurements of the current velocity at the same time in different places around Antarctica. This will be the first time that this has been done and ought to tell us much more about what is happening to the oceans, ice and atmosphere around Antarctica, and why. This in turn should help us to make better climate models to predict the future of our planet.

Professor Davey Jones, School of Agricultural & Forest Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor
Professor John Farrar, School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor
Dr Kevin Newsham, Biological Sciences Division, British Antarctic Survey
Dr Richard Bardgett, Biological Sciences, University of Lancaster

"Challenging the paradigm for plant-microbial resource partitioning in Antarctic ecosystems" [AFI8/08]

The Antarctic is a uniquely important 'natural laboratory' for examining ecosystem responses to climate change, and it is vital that the biological changes being observed there are properly understood. Its uniqueness comes from a combination of the simplicity of its ecosystems, which exhibit restricted species diversity and food chain complexity, with environmental warming which is occurring at approximately twice the rate of change in temperate regions. The proposed research will develop novel experimental and modelling techniques to find out the importance in Antarctic soils of specific forms of nitrogen. In addition, we want to find out whether these forms of organic nitrogen are available to microbes and plants, and whether global warming will alter the nitrogen dynamics of Antarctic soils. We hypothesize that our research may offer an explanation for recent expansions in vascular plant populations on the Antarctic continent. The work directly underpins policy relating to climate change and biodiversity in polar regions. The work is also extremely relevant to many other low-input ecosystems around the world (e.g. boreal forest, Arctic tundra, tropical rainforest).

Dr Bernd Kulessa, School of the Environment and Society, University of Wales, Swansea
Dr Adrian Luckman, Department of Geography, University of Wales, Swansea
Professor Peter Sammonds, Department of Earth Sciences, University College London
Dr Edward King, Physical Sciences Division, British Antarctic Survey (NERC)

"Present and future stability of the Larsen C ice shelf (SOLIS)" [AFI8/05]

The widely publicised rapid disintegrations of the Larsen A and B ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula in 1995 and 2002 were extraordinary demonstrations of the dramatic impact that climatic changes can have on this region. Ice shelf break-up is of particular scientific and public concern for two main reasons:

[a] Ice shelves are sustained principally by inflow of ice from glaciers and ice streams (confined, fast-flowing 'conveyor belts' that transport ice from the interior of ice sheets to their margins). As the buttressing force is removed as a result of ice shelf collapse, these glaciers and ice streams can speed up and thus increase discharge from the ice sheet interior to the ocean. This could potentially lead to rapid and sustained shrinkage of these ice sheets and an equally dramatic increase in sea level.

[b] In addition to accelerated input of cold melt water as a result of [a], ice shelf disintegration may also lead to modification of regional patterns of ocean circulation and the formation of Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW). AABW is an important contributor to the global ocean circulation which in turn regulates world-wide climate. If modification of AABW formation can trigger changes in this circulation, ice shelf collapse could indirectly contribute to alterations of world-wide climate patterns.

If rates of climatic warming on the Antarctic Peninsula continue to be anomalously high (presently ~ 4°C per century), the stability of the remaining ice shelves in this region comes into question. Larsen C, as the largest ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula and the southern neighbour of Larsen B which collapsed in 2002, has thinned progressively over the past 15 years. This could indicate that the Larsen C ice shelf has already entered a process of retreat or possibly collapse. If the ice shelf were to disintegrate (even partially), it is likely that more shelf ice would be lost in this single incident than has been lost by all previous incidents on the Antarctic Peninsula taken together. The key question is therefore: Is the Larsen C ice shelf likely to collapse in the future? The proposed project aims to answer that question.

The stability of an ice shelf is controlled by a range of ice-internal controls, including [a] ice composition and structure; [b] the balance between stress intensity (acting as a de-stabilising force) and ice fracture toughness (the ability of ice to resist stress, thus acting as a stabilising force); and [c] patterns and processes of rifting. Climatic changes can force the internal controls not only directly but also indirectly via a range of external controls (mass balance and thus total ice shelf thickness; ice shelf geometry; oceanographic and sea ice processes; meteorology). In characterising the internal controls and modelling direct and indirect (via the external controls) forcing by climatic conditions, we propose to adopt a three-tier strategy: [a] field-based investigations using standard geophysical methods as the core activity of the project providing the required ground control; [b] upscaling of the field data to the whole ice shelf using established remote sensing techniques; and [c] forcing of an adapted computer model (previously applied successfully to the Filchner-Ronne and Larsen B ice shelves) using the upscaled data.

The model outputs will allow [a] identification of how stable the Larsen C ice shelf is at present; [b] simulation of a range of future scenarios including rapid ice shelf retreat or disintegration; and [c] identification of the most realistic future scenario. This will enable us to conclude whether the Larsen C ice shelf is likely to collapse in the future.

Professor Peter Liss, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia
Dr Gillian Malin, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia
Dr Roland von Glasow, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia
Professor Andrew Clarke, Biological Sciences Division, British Antarctic Survey (NERC)

"The production of ozone-depleting bromocarbon gases in near-shore Antarctic waters" [AFI8/22]

There is a continual two-way exchange of chemicals between the sea-surface and the atmosphere. The bromocarbons are a group of volatile compounds that are produced naturally in seawater and carry the element, bromine from the ocean reservoir in to the atmosphere. Once in the atmosphere bromine has an important influence on the chemistry taking place there. The major impact of this flux is a reduction in the amount of ozone in the air, which can reduce the potential for the breakdown of harmful greenhouse gases and lead to an increase in the amount of harmful UV light reaching the Earth's surface. Understanding how, when and where these bromocarbon compounds are produced in the marine environment is essential to allow us to predict their impact on the Earth's system. Results from our recent study in the Antarctic show that the bromocarbon compounds bromoform (CHBr3) and dibromomethane (CH2Br2) are produced during a phytoplankton bloom that occurs as the sea-ice breaks up during the summer months (October to May). Blooms such as the one we studied occur all along the area of the Antarctic known as the Western Antarctic Peninsula during the summer. If bromocarbon production occurs in all of these blooms, there could be a large sea-to-air flux of bromine during the Antarctic summer which could have an important influence on atmospheric chemistry. In this study, we propose to identify the main biological, chemical and physical processes influencing bromocarbon concentrations in the sea-ice edge phytoplankton blooms and use this knowledge to estimate the potential impact of sea-air bromine flux using mathematical models.

Dr Andy Shepherd, School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh
Dr Adrian Jenkins, Physical Sciences Division, British Antarctic Survey

"Isolating the Larsen-C ice shelf mass instability" [AFI8/25]

In 1988, the World Meteorological Organisation and the United Nations set up an international panel of expert scientists to collect information about climate change, in response to growing public concerns about issues such as global warming and the hole in Earth's ozone layer. Since then, the panel's major findings have shown that air temperatures and sea levels are rising faster than can be explained through natural changes, and that pollutants from 20th Century industrialisation are a likely factor. Earths' present-day climate changes are closely related to the ice frozen in its polar regions. As air temperatures rise, ice melts and drains into the oceans, causing sea level rise. The costs of this simple relationship could be enormous. There is enough ice frozen in Antarctica to raise global sea levels by 65 m if it were to rapidly melt, a change that would flood 13 of the worlds 20 largest cities including London.

Some of the fastest climate changes on Earth have taken place at the Antarctic Peninsula, the warmest sector of Antarctica, due south of Chile and Argentina. Air temperatures measured there since early explorations in the 19th Century, show a warming of more than 5°C during the past. 100 years. Perhaps the most dramatic climate changes ever witnessed have occurred during the last decade, when, in 1995 and 2002, giant sections of the floating Larsen Ice Shelf - Larsen-A and -B, each about the size of Cornwall - disintegrated into thousands of icebergs, causing widespread alarm. These events, depicted as a solitary crevasse fracture in the opening scene of last year's blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow, were truly catastrophic, and are probably the only natural disaster ever to be understated in a Hollywood movie. More importantly, the collapses have left scientists unsure as to what caused them and how they might affect our future climate.

In the wake of each collapse, new embayments have been revealed where the floating Larsen Ice Shelf used to exist, and glaciers inland of these bays have accelerated, calving enough extra ice to raise global sea levels by 0.1 mm each year. Although this amount seems small, scientists are now concerned about the much larger ice field upstream of the remaining Larsen-C section, which contains enough ice to raise global sea levels by over 50 mm. That ice would be seriously at risk if the Larsen-C section were to collapse.

We have designed a series of experiments, combining satellites and field exploration, to solve the mystery of Larsen Ice Shelf collapses. Our measurements will identify whether changes in the ocean or the atmosphere were to blame. We will use a sensitive radar system - similar to road speed cameras - to measure extremely slow changes in the ice shelf thickness of about 0.1 mm per hour. We will also drill through the top layers of the ice shelf and extract cores of ice, which, like tree rings, tell us how climate has changed over the past century. When combined with new satellite measurements of ice flow and thinning, our field measurements will allow us to detect whether the ocean beneath the floating Larsen Ice Shelf is warmer than expected, or whether summertime ice melting at the surface is greater than expected. Once the cause of the collapses has been identified, we will build a computer model of the ice shelf to investigate how it might fracture in the future.

Our experiments will identify the cause of the catastrophic Larsen Ice Shelf collapses in 1995 and 2002. They will also determine whether the remaining Larsen-C section will become vulnerable in the coming years. And, most important of all, we will predict how fast global sea levels will rise if the Larsen-C collapses at some time in the future.

Further information on individual CGS Awards

Dr John Smellie, Geological Sciences Division, British Antarctic Survey (NERC)
Professor Mike Hambrey, Director, Centre for Glaciology, University of Wales, Aberystwyth
Dr Anna Nelson, Geological Sciences Division, British Antarctic Survey (NERC)

"Neogene Environmental History of James Ross Island, Antarctic Peninsula" [CGS7/20]

The Neogene period (< 25 m.yr.) includes the transition from a warm (temperate) to the present cold (polar) ice sheet in Antarctica. Yet the timing and global consequences of that transition are controversial. Resolving this question requires investigation of geographically widely separated parts of the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS), especially those most sensitive to climatic fluctuations, such as the Antarctic Peninsula. The aim of this proposal is to undertake sedimentological studies of the well-dated and well-preserved Neogene glacial deposits on James Ross Island, northern Antarctic Peninsula, in order to reconstruct glacial environments and palaeoclimates. The results of the study will be combined with data from other parts of Antarctica obtained by the PIs. The combination will considerably enhance our understanding of the cryosphere in Neogene time and our ability to forward model the effects of global change over the next few centuries.

Dr Dominic Hodgson, Biological Sciences Division, British Antarctic Survey (NERC)
Dr Claire Allen, Geological Sciences Division, British Antarctic Survey (NERC)
Dr Jennifer Pike, School of Earth, Ocean & Planetary Sciences, University of Wales, Cardiff

"Natural climate variability - extending the Americas palaeoclimate transect through the Antarctic Peninsula to the pole (CACHE-PEP)" [CGS7/21]

This CGS proposal seeks 'in principle' support from the AFI panel for a fully funded BAS/Cardiff CASE PhD student to occupy an existing BAS berth on a marine geology cruise. During this cruise the student will receive practical training from her BAS supervisor (C. Allen) in marine geology and survey, and training in the use of piston corers by an NOC technician. The student will have the challenging opportunity to collect some of the material that will support her PhD. Participation in this cruise is fully supported by the other supervisors (D. Hodgson, J. Pike) and the BAS PI (Eric Wolff) and forms an important component of the student's training. The cruise is part of the approved BAS core programme. No additional finances are requested.

Dr Jon Watkins, Biological Sciences Division, British Antarctic Survey (NERC)
Dr Andrew Brierley, Gatty Marine Laboratory, University of St Andrews
Dr Keith Reid, Biological Sciences Division, British Antarctic Survey (NERC)

"Southern Ocean predator-prey interactions: the importance of krill in the surface zone?" [CGS7/22]

This CGS proposal seeks support from the AFI panel for a fully funded BAS/St Andrews CASE PhD student to occupy an existing BAS berth on a Discovery-2010 / BSD LTMS cruise. During this cruise the student will receive practical training from one of his BAS supervisors (J. Watkins) in marine ecology and acoustic survey techniques. The student (M. Cox) will have the challenging opportunity to collect new acoustic survey data that will support his PhD. Participation in this cruise is fully supported by the other PhD supervisors (K. Reid, A. Brierley and P. Trathan) and the BAS PI (E. Murphy) and forms an important part of the student's training and development. The cruise is part of the approved BAS core programme.

Dr Alex Rogers, Biological Sciences Division, British Antarctic Survey (NERC)
Dr David Pearce, Biological Sciences Division, British Antarctic Survey (NERC)
Dr David Billett, National Oceanographic Centre, University of Southampton

"Microbial diversity in Antarctic marine ecosystems" [CGS7/23]

This CGS proposal seeks support for a BAS/Southampton CASE PhD student, Rachael Malinowska, to participate in the 2005/06 BIOFLAME core programme marine biology cruise (JR144/149). During this cruise, the student will receive practical training from her BAS supervisor (Dr David Pearce) in marine microbiology and survey, together with training in the use of oceanographic sampling equipment by BAS scientists. The student will have the challenging opportunity to collect some of the material that will support her PhD. Participation in this cruise is fully supported by the other supervisors (Dr A. D. Rogers, Dr D. Billett) and forms an important component of the student's training.

Professor Lloyd Peck, Biological Sciences Division, British Antarctic Survey (NERC)
Professor Paul Tyler, National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton

"Calcium content of Antarctic and non-Antarctic marine invertebrates" [CGS7/24]

There exists a long-standing hypothesis in marine biology that shells of bivalve and gastropod molluscs are thinner at high latitudes because calcium ions are more energetically expensive to remove from seawater at low temperatures (Nicol, 1967; Graus, 1974; Clarke, 1990). Experiments on the cost of skeleton deposition relative to standard metabolic rate and effects of pH and predation pressure will determine factors controlling shell thickness and skeleton composition. Comparisons will be made with species from low latitudes and the results interpreted in relation to the consequences of environmental change. If thinner shells and substitutions of alternative ions into the skeleton is a function of temperature and pH, Southern Ocean species may be amongst the first calcifying organisms affected by climate change or ocean acidification.

Dr Ian Renfrew, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia
Dr Tom Lachlan-Cope, Physical Sciences Division, British Antarctic Survey (NERC)

"Air-sea interactions within coastal polynyas in the southern Weddell Sea" [CGS7/25]

Air-sea-ice interactions within coastal polynyas (areas of persistent open water generated along the coast due to wind forcing or oceanic heating) are an important component of the water mass modification processes that take place on the continental shelves around Antarctica. At present observations of such interactions in the Antarctic sea-ice zone are rare. One component of BAS's core project ACES-FOCAS aims to address this by making use of the newly-instrumented Twin Otter (MASIN) to measure atmospheric variables and remotely-sense the underlying surface. Measurements over the sea-ice zone will include turbulent fluxes of heat, moisture and momentum, surface temperature, flight-level air temperature, winds, etc. This CGS proposal is to allow a full collaboration of the PI and PhD student with the ACES-FOCAS scientists and to allow the PhD student to take part in the measurement campaign of 2006/7.

Dr Roger Worland, Biological Sciences Division, British Antarctic Survey (NERC)
Dr Tim Hawes, Department of Biosciences, University of Birmingham

"Low temperature adaptation in non-model Antarctic taxa: antifreeze mechanisms in freshwater and intertidal invertebrates" [CGS7/26]

Antifreeze proteins lower the freezing point of water without significantly affecting its melting point, to produce a difference between the freezing and melting points that is known as thermal hysteresis. This project will 'prospect' for antifreeze proteins in a selection of Antarctic aquatic invertebrates in order to both provide a comparison with well-known taxa and to document the diversity of thermal hysteresis activity in novel taxa. It will consist of 2 components: 1) a study of freeze avoidance in the freshwater fairy shrimp, Branchinecta gaini; and 2) a survey of thermal hysteresis activity in Maritime Antarctic intertidal invertebrates to assay the diversity of taxa that express antifreeze proteins.

Dr Rebecca Korb, Biological Sciences Division, British Antarctic Survey (NERC)
Dr Eric Achterberg, National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton
Dr Tom Bibby, National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton
Dr Mark Moore, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex
Michael Whitehouse, Biological Sciences Division, British Antarctic Survey (NERC)
Maria Nielsdottir, National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton

"Iron availability and effects on phytoplankton communities in contrasting production regimes of the Scotia Sea" [CGS8/27]

Much of the Southern Ocean is characterised as High Nutrient, Low Chlorophyll (HNLC) water. Fe is a key factor limiting phytoplankton production in HNLC waters as demonstrated by Fe-addition bioassays and, more recently, in situ Fe-fertilisation experiments. Within the Southern Ocean there are also areas that are naturally enriched with Fe, highly productive and support vast phytoplankton blooms. The Scotia Sea contains both Fe-poor and Fe-rich waters over geographically short distances. Along the Scotia Arc, complex local bathymetry may introduce Fe into the surface waters where it can be utilised by phytoplankton. Indirect evidence in the form of nitrate and ammonium depletion ratios near to the island of South Georgia point to high nitrate utilisation indicative of a Fe replete system. The bloom downstream from South Georgia is one of the largest in the open Southern Ocean and in turn supports high secondary production. Despite the importance of this bloom to Scotia Sea food webs and carbon cycling, little is known about the role of Fe in regulating the bloom. To date there are few measurements of the concentrations and speciation of dissolved Fe in the Scotia Sea and its availability to phytoplankton in the photic zone. The first major BAS cruise (JR161) of the Discovery 2010 programme is designed to study contrasting production regimes in the Scotia Sea. It will provide a unique opportunity to map concentrations of Fe across the Scotia Sea and to investigate how this nutrient effects and shapes phytoplankton communities. Thus the work of this proposal will complement the Discovery 2010 programme.

Dr Nick Hardman-Mountford, NERC Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Dr Angus Atkinson, Biological Sciences Division, British Antarctic Survey (NERC)
Dr Dorothee Bakker, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia

"Carbon drawdown in contrasting production regimes of the Southern Ocean" [CGS8/28]

The Southern Ocean (SO) is important in the earth's climate system, but lack of sampling for CO2 (carbon dioxide) parameters in this region means that we know little of its potential for mitigating the build up of CO2. Atmospheric CO2 drawdown into the ocean is driven by the difference in the partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) between atmosphere and ocean. Novel pCO2 instruments are being fitted onto the NERC ships for measurement of the variables dictating CO2 drawdown. This proposal is to send a SO pCO2 researcher, plus an expert in the pCO2 instrument, on the first voyage of James Clark Ross with this instrument. The aims of this 3-week cruise, JR159 is a) provision of validation data for BAS modelling activities (LeQuéré), b) tailoring the system to JCR for use in specific SO conditions (i.e. large diatoms), c) to enhance BAS core science by linking to a University group of excellence and d) to teach BAS and shipside the simple checks for future near-autonomous operation.

Dr Jan Kaiser, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia
Dr Adrian Jenkins, Physical Sciences Division, British Antarctic Survey (NERC)

"Marine productivity estimates in the Bellingshausen Sea from continuous O2/Ar ratio measurements and oxygen triple isotopes" [CGS8/29]

The ocean carbon cycle is a key component of the earth system, because it regulates atmospheric CO2 levels and thus influences global climate. The Southern Ocean plays a major role, because there the interplay of physical and biological processes link deep and surface waters and strongly affect the air-sea balance of CO2. An important aspect of these processes is the rate of photosynthesis and the amount of carbon that is exported to the deep ocean. We propose to use dissolved oxygen (DO) as a geochemical tracer to study photosynthesis in the Bellingshausen Sea. The results will benefit ACES-FOCAS, which plans to use the low DO signature of Circumpolar Deep Water as a tracer of this water mass.