February 25, 2024

Transport to the depths – forschung.de

It looks like snow and is called that, but it’s not: Sea snow is made up of dead algae and fecal particles. With it, stored carbon dioxide also sinks to the depths.
© Henk-Jan Hoving/GEOMAR

Marine biologist Morten Iversen from the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) in Bremerhaven looks at sea ice through a microscope.
© Tim Kalvilage

Micrograph of sea ice. Iversen studies not only marine carbon dioxide storage, but also the cycles of nutrients such as nitrate, zinc, cadmium and iron.
© Morten Iversen / AWI

A swarm of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) larvae under Weddell Sea sea ice.
© Ulrich Freer

The crustaceans have recently faced competition from sclerites (Salpa thompsoni, pictured). Researchers have found that this development reduces the ecosystem’s ability to pump biological carbon dioxide.
© Jan Michels

Close-up of Antarctic krill
© Alfred Wegener Institute

Morten Iversen (center) and his team deploy so-called sediment traps in the sea to capture marine snow and determine how much organically bound carbon reaches the depths.
© Tim Kalvilage

Experts refer to tiny underwater growths as phytoplankton, such as single-celled algae (micrograph). Researchers are currently trying to evaluate the importance of phytoplankton migration between ocean layers for carbon storage.
© Annegret Store, GEOMAR

See also  Astronauts prepare for two upcoming flights in space