Biogenic carbonate production by benthic skeletal organisms on the shelf and in coastal waters of the Arctic Svalbard Archipelago supports the northernmost cold-water carbonate factories known to date. However, their genesis and biosedimentary dynamics, and their sensitivity to environmental change are still poorly known. Scientists from Senckenberg am Meer (Wilhelmshaven, Germany), GEOMAR (Kiel, Germany), GeoZentrum Nordbayern (Erlangen, Germany), University of Toronto (Canada), Goethe-University Frankfurt (Germany), Naturalis Biodiversity Center (Leiden, The Netherlands) and University of Fribourg (Switzerland) explored these Arctic Carbonate Factories (ARCA) during cruise MSM 55 of the German Research Vessel MARIA S. MERIAN.
The cruise set out for a multi-disciplinary characterization and comparison of two contrasting working areas, the rhodolith beds in Mosselbukta in the far north of the Svalbard and the extensive biogenic carbonate sediments accumulating on the Spitsbergen- and Bjørnøy-Banken in the South. The applied suite of methods comprises GIS-based habitat mapping, carbonate facies analyses, macrobenthos inventory, characterization of the aqueous carbonate system, carbonate budget assessment via recovery of a 10-year settlement experiment, on-board acidification and temperature stress experiments with key calcifiers (calcareous red algae), and sampling of long-lived rhodophytes for geochemical establishment of calibrated sea-ice proxy time series. Results from this cruise will foster our knowledge on carbonate production and re-cycling in polar carbonate factories under Holocene and projected environmental change.
For more information on the cruise: click here
(Both pictures: courtesy by Karen Hissman, JAGO-Team, GEOMAR Kiel)