Controls on Climate-Active Gases by Amundsen Sea Ice BiotaEntry ID: NSF-ANT08-36112
Abstract: Convincing evidence now confirms that polar regions are changing rapidly in response to human activities. Changes in sea ice extent and thickness will have profound implications for productivity, food webs and carbon fluxes at high latitudes, since sea ice biota are a significant source of biogenic matter for the ecosystem. While sea ice is often thought to be a barrier to gas exchange between the ... ocean and the atmosphere, it more likely functions as a source or sink for climate-active gases such as carbon dioxide and ozone-depleting organohalogens, due in part to activities of microbes embedded in the sea ice matrix. This project brings together experienced US and Swedish investigators to examine the controls by sea-ice biota on the production and degradation of key climate-active gases in the Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean. We hypothesize that 1) the physical properties of the sea-ice environment will determine the community structure and activities of the sea ice biota; 2) the productivity, biomass, physiological state and species composition of ice algae will determine the production of specific classes of organic carbon, including organohalogens; 3) heterotrophic co-metabolism within the ice will break down these compounds to some extent, depending on the microbial community structure and productivity, and 4) the sea ice to atmosphere fluxes of CO2 and organohalogens will be inversely related. This project will build close scientific collaborations between US and Swedish researchers and also train young scientists, including members of underrepresented groups. Dissemination of results will include the scientific literature, and public outreach venues including interactions with a PolarTrec teacher.
Purpose: Because of extreme isolation of the Antarctic continent since the Early Oligocene, one expects a unique invertebrate benthic fauna with a high degree of endemism. Yet some invertebrate taxa that constitute important ecological components of sedimentary benthic communities include more than 40 percent non-endemic species (e.g., benthic polychaetes). To account for non-endemic species, intermittent ... genetic exchange must occur between Antarctic and other (e.g. South American) populations. The most likely mechanism for such gene flow, at least for in-faunal and mobile macrobenthos, is dispersal of planktonic larvae across the sub- Antarctic and Antarctic polar fronts. To test for larval dispersal as a mechanism of maintaining genetic continuity across polar fronts, the scientists propose to (1) take plankton samples along transects across Drake passage during both the austral summer and winter seasons while concurrently collecting the appropriate hydrographic data. Such data will help elucidate the hydrographic mechanisms that allow dispersal across Drake Passage. Using a molecular phylogenetic approach, they will (2) compare seemingly identical adult forms from Antarctic and South America continents to identify genetic breaks, historical gene flow, and control for the presence of cryptic species. (3) Similar molecular tools will be used to relate planktonic larvae to their adult forms. Through this procedure, they propose to link the larval forms respectively to their Antarctic or South America origins. The proposed work builds on previous research that provides the basis for this effort to develop a synthetic understanding of historical gene flow and present day dispersal mechanism in South American/Drake Passage/Antarctic Peninsular region. Furthermore, this work represents one of the first attempts to examine recent gene flow in Antarctic benthic invertebrates. Graduate students and a postdoctoral fellow will be trained during this research.
Start Date: 2008-09-01Stop Date: 2010-08-31
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Email: wos at vims.edu
Biological Sciences Virginia Institute of Marine Science The College of William & Mary P.O. Box 1346
City: Gloucester Pt
Province or State: VA
Postal Code: 23062-1346
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Creation and Review Dates
DIF Creation Date: 2010-12-10
Last DIF Revision Date: 2016-01-27