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CLIM-AMAZON Report Summary

Project ID: 295091
Funded under: FP7-INCO
Country: France

Final Report Summary - CLIM-AMAZON (Joint Brazilian-European research facility for climate and geodynamic research on the Amazon River basin sediments)

Executive Summary:
The CLIM-AMAZON project aimed at increasing the visibility and scientific excellence of the long-term Brazilian-French scientific activities supported by the current Laboratoire Mixte International Observatoire des Changements Environnementaux (LMI-OCE), a joint laboratory between the Geosciences Institute of the Federal University of Brasilia (UnB, Brazil) and the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD, France). The objective was to open the LMI-OCE to new participating researchers from European Union (EU) Member states and Associated Countries together with the Brazilian researchers in order to maximize the initial investment of France to the benefit the whole European Union. This was achieved through the increase of the already strong existing analytical facilities of UnB to develop new approaches in the geological and environmental research in the Amazon region, a world-class example for climate research. The expansion of the research activities of LMI-OCE to new EU researchers occurred by means of scientific meetings, visits of experienced EU scientists, PhD and Post-doc calls open to students from EU Universities and of new projects proposing to do research in Brazil about erosion, the long-term history of sedimentary load transport by the Amazon River and its interaction with the Atlantic Ocean. The scientific collaboration between EU and Brazil within the framework of CLIM-AMAZON had a strong impact in terms of establishment of an international laboratory based in Brazil (UnB) and also for our understanding of global transport processes involved in the world largest tropical river basin. It also consolidated the successful cooperation between South American and European countries under the Observatoire de Recherches en Environnement sur l’Hydrologie du Bassin Amazonien (ORE-HYBAM) project.
Project Context and Objectives:
The overall objective of this project was to extend the research capacities in environmental sciences in Brazil and to maximize scientific partnerships through exchange visits of students and scientists from the European Union. This was being made possible by building on the existing capacities of the Brazilian-French joint laboratory OCE based on field work and lab-based analytical facilities at UnB, Brasilia.
Four specific objectives have been defined in order to meet the scientific and political stakes:
• Open the activities of LMI-OCE to researchers from different EU Member Sates and Associated countries (MS/AC) research institutions with physical participation of researchers in Brazil;
• Enhance the research capacity of the joint institute with a view of further opening it to new participating researchers (through equipment resources, consumables and support staff);
• Increase the scientific cooperation between researchers from EU MS/AC and Brazil through the preparation and implementation of new joint projects via the organization of joint workshops, training seminars, and international scientific meetings;
• Explore the possibilities for opening the current institutional arrangement to additional EU MS/AC research organizations, using a specific feasibility study.

Project Results:
The main science and technology results obtained within the 48 months of the CLIM-AMAZON Project are described below. It is important to stress here that some of the participating senior scientists expressed their wish not to make them public until they are fully published in the scientific literature. Therefore, it is expressly requested to consult the CLIM-AMAZON coordinator, Franck Poitrasson, before any diffusion of the results presented in this section. A publicly available summary was prepared with the EC following an interview of the coordinator and is available here:

University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Prof. Carina Hoorn

Main results :
Our research provides new insights into:
a) vegetation types that occurred in the Amazon River Basin in the past 25 Ma, and with emphasis on the marked changes during the late Pliocene
b) timing of changes in primary productivity (the basis of the food chain) at the Atlantic Coast following increased (nutrient-sediment) discharge of the Amazon River, in particular during the Pliocene
c) reconfirmation of the age of onset Amazon River as late Miocene, but possibly with some changes to the age previously proposed
d) past forest dynamics under a mixed sediment regime during the Miocene Climatic Optimum

Name: Dr. Emmeline (Emmy) Ilse Lammertsma
Nationality: Dutch
Universities: University of Amsterdam, University of Brasilia
Supervisors: Dr. Carina Hoorn, Dr. Farid Chemale, Dr. Dermeval do Carmo, Dr. Elton Dantas (who organized my 3 months contract extension with FinaTec)

New insights on the evolution of the Amazon drainage basin and its effects on algal blooming at the Brazilian Atlantic coast: an integrated palynological study

1. Outline
The Amazon River and its associated floodplains form the main artery in the biodiverse Amazonian landscape and its influence extends along deep into the Atlantic. The recent disclosure of borehole data from the Amazon Fan by the Brazilian oil company Petrobras offers an exciting new possibility to study a relatively continuous Amazonian terrestrial signal in a well-constrained age framework comprising c. 25 million years. This marine record will enable us to expose: a) the sources of terrestrial input into the Amazon Fan system (i.e. lowland versus Andes) and the overall vegetation changes over time in Andes and Amazonia, b) the effects of the evolution of the Amazon River on primary productivity in the Atlantic (i.e. algal blooming in the Amazon Plume). The latter will be studied using fossil assemblages of organic-walled dinoflagellaten cysts and of both foraminifera (in collaboration with the VU Amsterdam) that are preserved in the drill-core sediments. These microfossil assemblages serve as strong proxies for surface water conditions, and bottom water conditions, including nutrient availability and oxygenation. This multi-proxy approach allows for a detailed reconstruction of marine environmental changes in the Amazon Fan area in relation to the fluvial development of the transcontinental Amazon River.
2. Activities

Jan-May 2013: Fixed term Postdoc position at the IBED, UvA, the Netherlands (january + may), and Paleontologia, Universidade de Brasilía, Brazil (february-april). Collecting literature and samples, generating data.
June-Aug 2013: Guest employee at the IBED, UvA (unemployed). Continuation of Postdoc activities within Clim-Amazon project. Generating data, analysis data.
Sept-Nov 2013: Fixed term Postdoc at the Universidade de Brasilía, Brazil (funded by UnB). Continuation of paleo-environmental research within the international project Clim-Amazon. Generating data, analysis data, visiting conferences.
Jan-April 2014: Fixed term Postdoc position at the IBED, UvA, the Netherlands. Continuation of paleo-environmental research within the project Clim-Amazon. Generating data, analysis data, writing of manuscript.
May-June 2014 Guest employee (unemployed) at the Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED), University of Amsterdam (UvA). Continuation of Postdoc activities within the international Clim-Amazon project ( Final analysis data, writing of manuscript.
3. Main Achievements
Analysis output includes assemblages and quantities of fossil organic-walled dinoflagellates, pollen/ spores and freshwater algae. Based on the palynological analysis performed by myself, combined with benthic and planktic foraminífera (Simon Troelstra, VU Amsterdam) we were able to determine long-term trends in primary productivity in the ocean surface water, and oxygenation of the ocean bottom water. This data has been presented at various conferences and a manuscript has been written and submitted to the high-rank journal Geology (see 5.).

4. Faced difficulties
The sediments (drill cuttings) provided by Petrobras were of a type that was polluted with drilling mud, that made chemical preparation for palynological samples very difficult. Different techniques at 2 laboratories had to be tested to get suitable microscope slides. This has cost some valuable time and money in the beginning of the project. Despite the difficulty getting the sediment samples ready for palynological analysis, a sufficient number of samples were analysed to reasonable quantities.
We were to large extend dependent on Petrobras for the supply of data on the well, including lithology, biostratigraphy, coordinates etc. Although we have been asking for this crucial basic data, and have visited them in Rio de Janeiro to do so several times, we only received the report last month from the ANP(!). The uncertainty on these topics led to delay over the course of the project.
Giovanni and I were very welcome at the group of Paleontologia at the UnB, particularly Ricardo Pinto was key in making sure we had all the equipment we needed (microscopes). But at the UnB, there is no specific palynological knowledge in the type of research I performed, and there was no in depth discussion possible on the palynological analysis or the interpretation. I was not familiar with all taxa of this timeslice and regions, so I missed having dinocyst experts around.. Dinocyst experts are located at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. I kept in contact with them via mail, but in many cases sitting behind the microscope in the Netherlands together with the experts would have been more efficient.
In addition to this (speaking for the others too), there seemed to be very little scientific interest from the UnB staff or students for the group of ClimAmazon European PhDs and Postdocs as a whole, and vice versa (in part, again the language barrier). Again Ricardo Pinto being the exception. I presented one class at Paleontologia about palynology and my (former) research, but I think I was the only one of all European PhDs and Postdocs. I think much more could have been gained from more scientific interaction.
A lot of time was lost with arranging housing, bank account, registration at the UnB, visa and many other administrative issues (particularly when organizing my Brazilian contract and bank account). My estimate is that I lost 20% of my time during my entire stay due to these issues. I had the impression that UnB as a whole, or Geologia as a group, were not used to have foreigners over, and they were not ready for the questions we had (in English or Portuguese). Not speaking the Portuguese language was a big part of this problem. My research time was too short to take a course while in Brasilia, and there was no time to do so before I travelled to Brasilia. Pauline was an absolute saviour in these matters, she and Ricardo Pinto helped out in many ways.
So overall, I am very grateful for the research funding that was offered to me and I had a very special life experience, but in retrospect I think having a non-Portuguese speaking researcher over in a group that does not have expertise the type of research performed, for a relatively short period (2x 3 months) was not efficient. More could have been done if I stayed working in the Netherlands.
My main recommendation is to have all future researchers take a Portuguese language course before they travel to Brazil.
5. Publications and Communications

5.1 Publications

Co-evolution of Amazon River and phytoplankton blooms in the western tropical Atlantic Ocean?
E.I. Lammertsma1,2, S.R. Troelstra3,4, J-A. Flores5, F. Sangiorgi6, F. Chemale Jr.2, D.A. do Carmo2, C. Hoorn1
Submitted to Geology, (march 2015); reject/ invite resubmission (june 2015); in progess.
5.2 Communications
Lammertsma, E.I., S.R. Troelstra, F. Sangiorgi, F. Chemale Jr., D.A. do Carmo, R. d’Avilia, E. Soares, C. Hoorn. Neogene marine environmental changes at the Brazilian equatorial margin related to the development of the Amazon River. Nederlands Aardwetenschappelijk Congres 10, Veldhoven, the Netherlands. (oral presentation)
Lammertsma, E.I., S.R. Troelstra, F. Sangiorgi, F. Chemale Jr., D.A. do Carmo, R. d’Avilia, E. Soares, C. Hoorn. Marine environmental changes at the Brazilian equatorial margin related to Amazon River evolution during the Neogene. EGU General Assembly 2014, Vienna, Austria. (oral presentation)
Lammertsma E.I., Sangiorgi, F., Chemale Jr., F., Carmo, D.A. do, Pinto, R., Neto, O., Soares, E., Hoorn, C. (2013). The Amazon fan as key to the Neogene evolution of algal blooms in the equatorial western Atlantic Ocean: preliminary results of a dinoflagellate cyst study. Simposio de Geologia da Amazônia, Belem, Brazil. (oral presentation)

Lammertsma, E.I., R.G. Bogota-Angel, F. Sangiorgi, F. Chemale Jr, D. A. do Carmo, R. Pinto, O. Neto, E. Soares, C. Hoorn (2013). Insights on Neogene evolution of the Amazon drainage basin and algal blooms at the Brazilian Atlantic coast. Congresso Brasileiro de Paleontologia, Gramado, Brazil. (oral presentation)


Nationatility: COLOMBIAN
Supervisors: Pr. CARINA HOORN

1. Outline

Origen and evolution of the highly diverse Amazon tropical forest has mostly inferred from continental sites. Sediment records in the marine Foz do Amazonas can provide important information to better understand the influence of the Andes uplift and climate change on its plants biomes evolution since the Neogene. We have performed pollen analyses of 123 ditch cutting samples (the upper 4165 m sediments) of PB-Petrobras well -2 covering the period10.5 – 0.4 Ma to infer floral composition changes in the Amazon Basin. The palynological spectra across this interval (nannofossil based age model) include pollen, ferns spores, dynocist, and foram linings. Pollen and fern spores were grouped into 14 categories: Mangrove vegetation, tropical lowland forest, savannah – cerrado vegetation, tropical lower mountain forest, tropical mountain forest, open Andean vegetation, indistinct tropical forest-savannah taxa, lower to mountain tropical forest, tropical lowland freshwater communities, other freshwater communities. Palynomorphs are usually corroded reflecting the effect of sediment transportation while reworked material is also common. Pollen of Poaceae, Asteraceae, and Cyperaceae are common. Rhizophora/zonocostites spp. indicate “close-distance” mangrove development. The pollen resembling Moracea-Urticaceae, Malelastomataceae-Combretaceae, Sapotacea, Alchornea, Euphorbiaceae, Rubiaceae, Bignoniaceae, Mauritia and Arecaceae reflects tropical forest. Morella, with sporadic occurrences of Lophosoria and Cyathea suggest the development of Andean forest above 1000 m. High altitude open vegetation taxa appear since last part of late Miocene with elements such as Valeriana and Polylepis (a neotropical taxon common along the Andean fluvial system at 2000 – 4800 m). In summary, the Neogene palynological record of the Amazon Fan strongly reflects and confirms the influence of the Andes uplift and the transcontinental character of the river from late Miocene onwards

2. Activities

Pollen analysis was performed both in Brasilia University (UnB) and Amsterdam University (UvA): Two periods of three months (January –April and July – October 2013) in UnB Lab of Geosciences (full time work), three periods of three months (half time contract) were spend in the Lab of Palynology at the IBED-UvA.

3. Main Achivements

Pollen analysis was successfully perfomed, preliminary results have been presented in local and international meetings.

4. Faced difficulties
Here you should explain why the initial scientific objective(s) has not been reached, if any.
5. Publications and Communications

5.1 Publications
-In preparation-
Hoorn, C., Bogota-Angel, G.R., Romero-Baez, M., M., Lammertsma, E.I., Troelstra, S., do Carmo, D.A., Chemale Jr, F.(IN PREP) Grass expansion in the Amazon drainage basin: New insights from palynological and geochemical data of the Foz do Amazonas Basin (Brazilian Equatorial Margin).
Raul Bogota-Angel, FArid Chemale Junior, Roberto Davila, Emilson Soares, Ricardo Pinto, and Demerval Do Carmos. 2014. Neogene vegetation development in the Amazon Basin: evidence from marine well-2, Foz do Amzonas (Brazil). Geophysical Research Abstracts. 16, EGU2014-4710-1.
Bogota-A, R.G, Pinto, R.L., Do Carmo, D.A., Chemale, F., Neto, O., Soares, E., Hoorn, C. 2013. Neogene plant biome evolution in the the Amazon drainage basin: evidence from marine well-2, foz do amazonas (Brazil). Resumos 13 Simposio de Geologia da Amazonia
5.2 Communications
Raul Bogota-Angel, Farid Chemale Junior, Roberto Davila, Emilson Soares, Ricardo Pinto, and Demerval Do Carmos. 2014. Neogene vegetation development in the Amazon Basin: evidence from Amrine well-2, Foz do Amzonas (Brazil). EGU General Assembly 2014
Bogota-A, R.G, Pinto, R.L., Do Carmo, D.A., Chemale, F., Neto, O., Soares, E., Hoorn, C. 2013. Neogene plant biome evolution in the the Amazon drainage basin: evidence from marine well-2, foz do amazonas (Brazil). 13 Simposio de Geologia da Amazonia

GFZ Institute, Germany

Name: Dr. Marcus Oelze; (formerly employed as PhD student within project: Annette Süssenberger)
Nationality: German
Universities: GFZ Potsdam, Germany and University of Brasilia, Brasil
Supervisors: Prof. F. von Blanckenburg, Dr. H. Wittmann-Oelze

Initial title of subproject:
Sedimentary load estimates for the past 5 Myr based on cosmogenic 10Be and 26Al in the lower Amazon basin

1. Outline

The relationship between climate via the hydrology of rivers, and erosion via the production, transport and deposition of sediment is one of the most important issues in earth sciences. Terrestrial and meteoric cosmogenic nuclides are the state-of-the-art tool in order to quantify these important issues. For example, by analysis of the terrestrially-produced (within sandy quartz minerals) 10Be in sedimentary archives located with the Amazon lowlands, it is possible to monitor changes in the erosion rate of the Andes. From these changes, the feedbacks between climatic and tectonic forcing shaping our Earth surface can be deciphered over long time scales. The half-life of 10Be is 1.4 Myr, and thus the nuclide is sensitive to depositional age. If too old, however, as it mainly was the case for initially targeted sediment core material in the Amazon plain, the erosional signal contained in the archive fades. Thus a second novel method, based on the meteoric (produced in the atmosphere and attached to fine-grained particles) variety of 10Be was also employed. Meteoric 10Be can be measured on suspended sediment and water samples and thus can be used to quantify the interaction of the Amazon channel with its floodplain by transport and deposition of sediment and release of water from the floodplains. Along with analysis of the stable trace metal 9Be that is a recorder of weathering, resulting 10Be/9Be ratios record Earth surface change. Our data shows a close similarity between 10Be/9Be measured in river water and 10Be/9Be measured on the sedimentary fraction filtered from this water fraction within a hydrological cycle. Thus, we observe equilibrium of the two compartments and temporal stability of sediment fluxes within the hydrological cycle. Using this meteoric system, we can now quantify sediment transport in large lowland basins over Holocene time scales on sub-gram sample sizes.

1) Depth-independent meteoric 10Be recorded in suspended sediment of Amazon River
2) Meteoric 10Be concentrations scale with sediment residence time in Amazon lowlands
3) Meteoric cosmogenic 10Be to stable 9Be ratios record sediment load of Amazon River
4) 10Be/9Be ratios in sediment and water agree, showing equilibrium between phases

2. Activities

12/2012: Employment of Annette Süssenberger as shared PhD student at GFZ Potsdam and University of Brasilia (UNB). In the first months at GFZ, Ms. Süssenberger learned terrestrial in situ (produced by cosmic rays in minerals) and meteoric (produced in atmosphere and adsorbed to fine-grained particles or contained in water) cosmogenic nuclides methods, including lab routines like mineral separation and column chemistry, lab and field sample treatment, and data evaluation (supervision: Dr. H. Wittmann-Oelze). Ms. Süssenberger also helped to process a first batch of samples that were part of the project of Wittmann et al. published in JGR-ES 2015 (see section 5).
05/2013 to 11/2013: Stay of Ms. Süssenberger in Brasil at UNB, in order to set up the lab routines needed to process cosmogenic nuclide samples in the lab at UNB. Ms. Süssenberger also visited the Federal University of Manaus in order to sample core material obtained through Prof. Henrique Roig. These in situ cosmogenic nuclide samples were from three coring locations within the Amazon basin. From in situ 26Al and 10Be concentrations measured in these sandy cores, paleo-denudation rates from the sediment source areas (Andes, upper Negro) can be obtained and the history of erosion can be reconstructed.
07/2013; 11/2013: Ms. Süssenberger participated in the two sampling cruises on the Amazon River (Manaus- Macapa), to sample depth profiles for paired suspended sediment and water samples. These samples form the basis for the meteoric subproject in order to perform testing of e.g. equilibrium conditions between reactive (attached to sediment) and dissolved (in water) meteoric 10Be and 9Be metals.
12/2014 to 01/2014: Ms. Süssenberger returned to GFZ and continued to process meteoric samples. First results were incorporated into JGR-ES 2015 publication by Wittmann et al. (see section 5).
02/2014 Supervision of in situ-project on core material taken over by Dr. H. Wittmann-Oelze (without expenses). Upon arrival of core samples at GFZ, the mineral separation for in situ cosmogenic nuclides was started. Due to limited core sample amounts, mineral separation was handled with care and was time-intensive. A first batch of in situ core samples was finally analyzed for 10Be and 26Al at the AMS centre in Cologne in March 2015. Data evaluation showed that samples were older than expected, such that no results for erosion rates could be obtained. Up to now, further sample analysis is in progress. New core samples with a stratigraphically younger ages will be provided by Prof. Henrique Roig.
12/2014 Hiring of Dr. Marcus Oelze. Up to now, three batches of suspended sediment and water samples have been analyzed for meteoric 10Be and stable 9Be, each pairing a suspended sediment sample with its analogous water sample for both the July and the November cruises.
7/2015 Visit of Prof. Roig at GFZ Potsdam, in order to discuss the so-far obtained results.
10/2015 Visit of Dr. H. Wittmann-Oelze and Dr. M. Oelze at Brasilia, in order to attend the final ClimAmazon workshop (with oral presentation) within the framework of the XV Brazilian Geochemistry Congress.

3. Main Achievements
Preliminary meteoric 10Be concentrations leached from sediment show that these are influenced by the Amazon hydrograph and related sediment residence in the lower Amazon floodplain. Suspended sediment depth (DSS) samples from the November cruise have overall higher 10Be nuclide concentrations from the surface to the bottom of the profiles, whereas DSS samples from July have significantly lower 10Be concentrations. Published hydrological modeling coupled to sediment monitoring (Maurice-Bourgoin et al., 2007, J.Hydrol.) suggests that the lower Amazon floodplains are emptied of their sediment during the falling water stage at the end of the calendar year. Corresponding higher 10Be nuclide concentrations at this time of the year thus correlate with the time these sediments reside in the floodplain over one or more hydrological years. This accumulation can be used to constrain minimum residence times of sediment (Wittmann et al., accepted, JGR-ES). When normalized to stable 9Be concentrations, however, the resulting 10Be/9Be ratios for both the November and the July cruises are very similar, such that the effect of accumulation during floodplain residence is averaged out and the resulting ratios are a function of denudation rate (von Blanckenburg et al., 2012, EPSL; Wittmann et al., accepted, JGR-ES). From the paired analysis of suspended sediment from depth profiles (reac- reactive chemically leached phases) together with their water fraction (diss- dissolved water fraction), we find a remarkable close similarity in 10Be/9Bereac with 10Be/9Bediss. This finding demonstrates for the first time on paired samples that equilibrium between 10Be and 9Be on the dissolved and the reactive fraction has been reached, a prerequisite for the application of the framework developed by von Blanckenburg et al. (2012) in order to calculate denudation rates from this data. This finding opens the unique possibility to measure rates of Earth surface change from small sample amounts like suspended sediment measured on almost any lithology, over time scales where also climate and tectonic forcing modify Earth´s surface.

4. Faced difficulties
We faced personnel fluctuations (A. Süssenberger terminated her contract beginning if 2014) that made it necessary to hire a post doc with experience in cosmogenic nuclide analysis (M. Oelze). Regarding the core samples for the Paleo-Erosion subproject, we needed to process exceptionally large sample amounts (> 100 g), in order to be able to measure above-blank 26Al concentrations. These samples contained extremely low nuclide concentrations due to their old age. These analyses are not completed yet, and Dr. H. Wittmann-Oelze will continue on this project (without expenses).
5. Publications and Communications

5.1 Publications
-In preparation-
Oelze, Wittmann, von Blanckenburg: Meteoric 10Be/stable 9Be ratios in Amazon suspended and water depth profiles for sediment load determination.
-In revision-
Wittmann, von Blanckenburg, Dannhaus, et al.: "A test of the cosmogenic 10Be(meteoric)/9Be proxy for simultaneously determing basin-wide erosion rates, denudation rates, and the degree of weathering in the Amazon basin” JGR-ES, accepted.

5.1 Communications
Oelze, Wittmann, von Blanckenburg, Roig, 2015: Meteoric 10Be/9Be ratios from suspended sediment depth profiles as a proxy for erosion and weathering in the Amazon basin. XV Brazilian Geochemistry Congress abstract, ClimAmazon session, Brasilia.
Wittmann, von Blanckenburg, Dannhaus et al., 2015: Denudation and weathering rates from meteoric 10Be/9Be ratios in the Amazon basin. Goldschmidt conference abstract, Prague.
Wittmann, Dannhaus, von Blanckenburg et al., 2014: “Reactive and dissolved meteoric 10Be/9Be ratios in the Amazon basin and their potential as weathering indicator” EGU conference abstarct, ClimAmazon session, Vienna.
Jacobs University, Germany

Prof. Michael BAU
The Andes are the most important source of material to the Amazon River, while the contribution of tributaries draining the Amazonian lowlands is relatively small. Nevertheless, the rocks and soils present in each catchment determine the composition of water and sediments, giving each river in the Amazon Basin a unique chemical fingerprint. When the Amazon River reaches the Atlantic Ocean, many of the trace elements in the river water associate with particles which then sink to the seafloor in the estuary. Therefore, only a small fraction of these elements, which may serve as micronutrients and as microcontaminants, enter the open ocean. In our project we determined the geochemical fingerprint of the river waters and experimentally simulated the estuarine mixing of seawater with river waters from the Rio Solimoes (which is rich in inorganic (nano)particles) and from the Rio Negro (which is rich in organic (nano)particles), respectively, to better understand the behaviour in the environment of a range of trace elements that are commonly used as tools in studies of the evolution of the river-ocean system and that are also referred to as critical high-technology metals.

Name: Gila Merschel
Nationatility: German
Universities: Jacobs University Bremen and University of Brasilia
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Michael Bau and Prof. Dr. Elton Dantas

Geochemistry of Particle-Reactive Elements in Rivers of the Amazon River Basin

1. Outline

Rivers transport large amounts of dissolved and suspended particulate material derived from source rocks and streambed sediments in the catchment towards the sea, making it a major source of dissolved trace metals to the ocean. Nevertheless, the geochemical behavior of many particle-reactive trace elements in rivers and estuaries is not yet well constrained. Some trace elements are decoupled from dissolved major ion chemistry because of organic complexation, organic colloid stabilization, and adsorption/desorption reactions. Furthermore, the fate of a trace element in estuarine processes and in the ocean depends on its chemical and physical speciation, e.g. its association with (sometimes colloidal/nano-sized) particles and/or its presence as truly dissolved species. To constrain pathways of elements from their source to sink, a detailed investigation of the transport properties and of the geochemical behavior in freshwater and during estuarine mixing with seawater is required. Considering the gaps in understanding the geochemistry of particle-reactive elements in tropical rivers and estuaries, this study aims at investigating the elemental size distributions of REE, Y, Zr, Hf, Nb, Ta, Al, Th and Sc from truly dissolved to colloidal to particulate in the rivers of the Amazon Basin and estuary. This will be combined with Hf and Nd isotopic analyses of sample aliquots and accompanied by mixing experiments of river water and seawater. The results of the proposed study will allow us to better constrain (i) pathways of these elements and their isotopes from the weathering source into the ocean and (ii) interactions between the particulate and the dissolved pools.

2. Activities

1.11.2012 begin of contract

11/2012 short visit to Brasilia and sampling of Lake Paranoá
First introduction to the Geochronos laboratory at UnB and first meetings with the Brazilian supervisors. In order to test the equipment and analytical procedures, water samples were collected from 11 stations at Lake Paranoá, Brasilia, Brazil.

03/2013 begin of research stay in Brasilia

03/2013 sampling trip to Manaus
Surface samples were collected from the Rio Negro and Rio Solimões in
cooperation with the IRD in Manaus.

06/2013 first research cruise to the Amazon
Samples were taken between Obidos and Macapa in the Amazon mainstream as well as the Rio Tapajos, Rio Xingu and Rio Jari. Seven depth profiles (4 in the Amazon mainstream and 3 in the tributaries) and 6 surface samples (5 in the Amazon mainstream and 1 in a tributary) were collected.
All water (<0.2 µm) and particulate (>0.2 µm) samples were analyzed for their major and trace element content. In addition, 6 surface samples (3 of the Amazon mainstream and one of each of the 3 tributaries) were also analyzed for their Nd isotopic composition. The Nd and Sr isotopic composition of the filter residues (particles >0.2 µm) was determined for all samples.

07/2013 participation in the annual meeting and workshop of the CLIM-
AMAZON project in Brasilia
Oral presentation titled ‘Geochemistry of Particle-Reactive Elements in River Waters of the Amazon River Basin’ discussing the progress of this project.

07/2013 participation in the CLIM-AMAZON summer school and second
sampling of lake Paranoá
Supervision of CLIM-AMAZON summer school student Linda Baldewein. In the frame of her summer school project, Lake Paranoá was sampled a second time to confirm earlier results.

08/2013 short visit to Jacobs University Bremen and participation in the
Goldschmidt conference 2013 in Florence, Italy
Poster presentation titled ‘Shells of Corbicula fluminea mussels and thebioavailability of anthropogenic Rare Earth Elements in river water’

11/2013 second research cruise to the Amazon
Samples were taken at similar stations in the Amazon mainstream as well as the Rio Tapajos, Rio Xingu and Rio Jari between Obidos and Macapa. Seven depth profiles (3 in the Amazon mainstream, 4 in the tributaries) and 6 surface samples (5 in the Amazon mainstream, 1 in a tributary) were collected.
Major and trace elements for all samples were determined for the dissolved (<0.2 µm) and particulate (>0.2µm) load.
8 samples of the dissolved load were analyzed for their Hf and Nd isotopic composition, while all particulate samples were analyzed for their Nd and Sr isotopic composition.

12/2013 end of research stay in Brasila – return to Jacobs University Bremen

04 – 05 2014 participation in the European Geoscience Union General Assembly 2014 in Vienna, Austria and participation in the CLIM-AMAZON annual meeting
Oral presentation titled ‘Geochemical behavior of rare earth elements and other trace elements in the Amazon River’ and a poster presentation titled ‘Natural and anthropogenic rare earth elements in Lago do Paranoá, Brasilia, Brazil’
07/2014 short visit to Brasilia
Short visit to UnB to discuss the progress of the project with the Brazilian cooperation partners

07/2014 sampling in Manaus, Brazil
Sampling of the Rio Negro and Rio Solimões. Samples were separated into the particulate (>0.2 µm), the dissolved (<0.2 µm) and the truly dissolved (<1kDa) pool. All samples were analyzed for their major and trace element composition, DOC content as well as their Nd and Hf isotopic composition. Aliquots of both endmembers were also used to perform laboratory mixing experiments with seawater to simulate estuarine mixing processes. Major and trace element analysis as well as DOC determination were performed for all samples of the mixing experiment.

07/2014 participation in the World’s Large River conference in Manaus, Brazil
Oral presentation titled ‘Geochemical behavior of particle-reactive trace elements in the Amazon River’

12/2014 participation in 13th Freiberg short course in Economic Geology ‘Rare Earth Element Deposits’

03/2015 short visit to Brasilia
Short visit to UnB to discuss the progess of the project with the Brazilian cooperation partners and to discuss possible cooperations with other CLIM-AMAZON partners

03/2015 research stay at University of Cologne in Bonn, Germany
Preparation of the Rio Negro and Rio Solimões samples taken in 07/2014 for Nd and Hf isotopic analysis

06/2015 research stay at University of Cologne in Bonn, Germany
Measurements of Hf and Nd isotopes in the Rio Negro and Rio Solimões samples taken in 07/2014

08/2015 participation in the Goldschmidt conference in Prague, Czech Republic
Oral presentation titled ‘Particle-reactive trace elements in estuaries: simulating estuarine mixing of seawater with organic and inorganic nanoparticle-rich river waters’

09/2015 participation in the ICCE conference in Leipzig, Germany
Oral presentation titled ‘Bioavailability of anthropogenic gadolinium and other anthropogenic rare earth elements in surface waters’

10/2015 participation in the XV Brazilian Geochemistry Congress in Brasilia, Brazil and participation in the CLIM-AMAZON annual meeting 2015
Oral Presentation titled ‘Geochemical behavior of rare earth elements and Nd isotopes in rivers of the Amazon Basin’
10/2015 participation in the ORE-HYBAM conference in Cusco, Peru
Presentation titled ‘The geochemical behaviour of particle-reactive trace elements in estuaries: a simulation of estuarine mixing of seawater with river waters rich in organic and inorganic nanoparticles’
31.10.2015 end of contract

3. Main Achievements

- 36 water samples were collected in Lake Paranoá, Brasilia (13 in November 2012 and 23 in July 2013) and analyzed for their major and trace element concentrations.
- 35 water samples and filter residues were collected during the June 2013 cruise and analyzed for their major and trace element composition.
- 26 water samples and filter residues were collected during the November 2013 Amazon cruise and analyzed for their major and trace element composition.
- 31 filter residues collected during the two Amazon cruises (14 samples collected in June 2013; 17 samples collected in November 2013) were analyzed for their Sr and Nd isotopic composition.
- 14 water samples collected during the two Amazon cruises (6 samples from the June 2013 curise; 8 samples from the November 2013 cruise) were analyzed for their Nd isotopic composition.
- Mixing experiments were performed with filtered river water of the Rio Solimões and Rio Negro collected in July 2014 and seawater to simulate estuarine mixing processes.
- Ultrafiltration experiments were performed with river water samples of the Rio Negro and Rio Solimões collected in July 2014. The samples were analyzed for their major and trace element content as well as their Nd and Hf isotopic composition.

4. Faced difficulties

- Difficulties with the analysis of Hf, Nb and Ta as samples could not be acidified with HF, because it was impossible to comply with all the transport regulations of HF within the short preparation time of the two cruises.
- Ultrafiltration could only be performed on selected samples (Rio Negro and Rio Solimões) as the required sample volume (10L) was too much to process for more samples.
- The major and trace element analysis of the samples could only be performed at the Geochemistry Laboratory at Jacobs University Bremen, as it was very time consuming to purchase consumables in Brazil and the ICP-MS in the Geochronology Laboratory, University of Brasilia, was broken. Therefore the analysis of the samples could only be performed from April 2013 onwards, causing a delay in data production and publication.

5. Main Scientific results

Lake Paranoá
- REESN patterns display the M-type tetrad effect
- Particulate pool carries a positive Ce anomaly, reflecting aeolian/fluvial input
- Dissolved load carries a positive Gd anomaly, reflecting anthropogenic input
- Anthropogenic Gd indicates that other waste-water derived substances are present

Mixing experiments
- River water rich in organic/ inorganic particles and colloids was mixed with seawater at different ratios to simulate estuarine mixing
- DOC, Sr, Rb and U behave conservatively throughout both mixing experiments
- Rapid removal of particle-reactive elements in the low salinity zone during the mixing experiment with river water rich in inorganic particles and colloids
- (Almost) conservative mixing of particle-reactive elements during the mixing experiment with river water rich in organic particles and colloids
- Removal mechanisms fractionate REY; light REY are preferentially removed relative to heavy REY

Nd isotopes
- Nd istopic composition of the dissolved and particulate load of the Amazon mainstream and 5 tributaries were determined
- Nd isotopic composition of the Amazon stays approximately constant between Santarem and Macapa
- Isotopic composition of the tributaries reflect that of their catchment geology
- No significant difference between high and low discharge could be determined in the Nd isotopic signature

- Ultrafiltration was performed with samples from the Rio Negro and Rio Solimões to separate the colloidal fraction from the truly dissolved load
- A large fraction of the particle-reactive elements are associated with nanoparticles and colloids, while only small amounts of these elements occur in the truly dissolved from
- In the Rio Solimões only 0.6 – 3.0 % of REY are truly dissolved, while > 97% are bound to nanoparticles and colloids
- In the Rio Negro, 15 – 39 % of REY are truly dissolved and only > 61% are bound to nanoparticles and colloids

Amazon Cruises
- Samples were collected in June (high discharge) and November (low discharge) 2013
- REYSN patterns of Amazon mainstream and tributaries are characterized by river type (whitewater, blackwater, clearwater rivers)
- Composition of particulate matter in the Amazon Basin is similar to shale
- In general, dissolved concentrations decrease from June to November

6. Publications and Communications

6.1 Publications
-In preparation-
Merschel G., Bau M., Dantas E.L. (2015): The geochemistry of particle-reactive elements in estuaries of organic rich and organic poor rivers. In prep.
Merschel G., Bau M., Dantas E.L. (2015): The geochemistry of particle-reactive elements in the lower reaches of the Amazon River. In prep.
Merschel G., Bau M., Dantas E.L. and Müncker C. (2015): The Nd and Hf isotopic composition of the particulate, dissolved and truly dissolved load in Amazonian rivers. In prep.
-In revision-
Merschel G., Bau M., Baldewein L., Dantas E.L., Walde D and Bühn B. (2015): Tracing and tracking wastewater-derived substances in freshwater lakes and reservoirs: Anthropogenic gadolinium and geogenic REE in Lake Paranoá, Brasilia, Brazil. Comptes Rendus Geoscience, in press
6.2 Communications
Merschel G., Bau M. and Dantas E.L. (2015) The geochemical behaviour of particle-reactive trace elements in estuaries: a simulation of estuarine mixing of seawater with river waters rich in organic and inorganic nanoparticles. Presentation at the Sexta Reunião Científica Internacional HIBAM
Merschel G., Bau M. and Dantas E.L. (2015) Geochemical behavior of rare earth elements and Nd isotopes in rivers of the Amazon Basin. Oral Presentation at the XV Brazilian Geochemistry Congress
Merschel G. and Bau M. (2015) Bioavailability of anthropogenic gadolinium and other anthropogenic rare earth elements in surface waters. Oral presentation at the 15th EuCheMS International Conference on Chemistry and the Environment
Merschel G., Bau M. and Dantas E.L. (2015) Particle-reactive trace elements in estuaries: simulating estuarine mixing of seawater with organic and inorganic nanoparticle-rich river waters. Oral presentation at the Goldschmidt conference
Merschel G., Bau M. and Dantas E.L. (2014) Geochemical behavior of particle-reactive trace elements in the Amazon River. Oral Presentation at the International Conference on the Status and Future of the World’s Large Rivers
Merschel G., Bau M. and Dantas E.L. (2014) Geochemical behavior of Rare Earth Elements and other trace elements in the Amazon River. Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 16, EGU2014-5328. Oral Presentation at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly
Merschel G., Baldewein L., Bau M., Dantas E.L., Walde D. and Bühn B. (2014) Natural and anthropogenic rare earth elements in Lago de Paranoá, Brasilia Brazil. Geophyiscal Research Abstracts, Vol. 16 EGU2014-11789. Poster Presentation at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly
Merschel G. and Bau M. Shells of Corbicula fluminea Mussels and the Bioavailability of Anthropogenic Rare Earth Elements in River Water. Mineralogical Magazine, 77(5) 1743. Poster Presentation at the Goldschmidt conference

NIOZ Institute, The Netherlands

Summary of the Project
The dynamic drainage history of the Amazon basin is still much debated with the onset of the Amazon River, and the marine incursion pathway being of particular interest. We investigated two Miocene outcrops (Mariñame and Los Chorros) in western Amazonia and a sediment core covering Oligocene to late Pleistocene deposits on Ceara Rise, in the Atlantic Ocean, to constrain the paleo-environmental conditions and the sediment provenance history by applying lipid biomarkers, major and trace element chemistry and Sr-Nd isotope chemistry.

The early Miocene sedimentary succession at Mariñame (Caquetá River) presents a shift in provenance from Andean to cratonic sediments, implied by Sr and Nd isotope data. The lipid biomarkers have a large terrestrial component (e.g. high BIT values), however, in some intervals low BIT values indicate a strong aquatic component. The sediments are mostly fluvial in origin, although marine fossils were detected in the cratonic sediments. Our data suggest that the marine pathway might have been located across Venezuela, in the area where the modern Orinoco now flows eastwards. Middle Miocene sediments of Los Chorros (Amazon River) have an almost exclusive Andean origin, except for a short interval at the base of the sedimentary succession, which has a cratonic signature. The lipid composition of Los Chorros sediments shows a dominant terrestrial organic matter input. However, also several phases on increased aquatic organic matter input are recognized. This is consistent with a lake-like environment in which several phases of coastal progradation took place.

Clustering of the terrigenous fraction at Ceara Rise (sediment-CaCO3) shows 3 major clusters. The cluster between 12 and 8.5 Ma has smallest grain size and represent a period with lowest accumulation rates. This interval also has lowest TOC, and low lipid accumulation rates. Nd-isotope chemistry and XRF data indicate a change in provenance at 8.5 Ma and 4 Ma towards an overall younger sediments source. The first change in provenance represents the start of a transcontinental river system connecting the Andes with the Atlantic Ocean. The second change in provenance around 4 Ma is results from an increase in sediment transport by the Amazon River and higher accumulation rates. Possibly ongoing tectonic activity and uplift in the Andes increased Andean rock erosion.

- the geological history of the Amazon River was studied using (in)organic geochemical tools
- Early Miocene sediments from western Amazonia have both an Andean and cratonic signature
- Middle Miocene sediments in western Amazonia have an almost exclusive Andean origin
- Main changes in geochemistry of the Amazon sediments happen around 8.5 and 4 Ma
- A tranconstinental river system developed around 8.5 Ma ago

Caribbean tectonics influence provenance, sedimentary environment and paleovegetation in early Miocene Colombian Amazonia
Authors: Els E. van Soelen1,2, Carina Hoorn3, Sonia Salamanca4, Milan L. Teunissen van Manen3, Suzette G.A. Flantua3, Roberto Ventura Santos2, Martin Roddaz5, Elton Luis Dantas2, Emiel van Loon3, Jaap S. Sinninghe Damsté2, Jung-Hyun Kim1,6

1.Department of Marine Organic Biogeochemistry, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), PO Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg (Texel), The Netherlands.
2.Instituto de Geociências, Universidade de Brasília, Brasília, Brazil.
3.Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED), University of Amsterdam, P.O. Box 94248, 1090 GE Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
4.Biostatistics, Ida Gerhardlaan, Heemstede, The Netherlands
5.Géosciences-Environnement Toulouse, Université de Toulouse, UPS (SVT-OMP), LMTG, CNRS, IRD, 14 Avenue Édouard Belin, F-31400 Toulouse, France
6.Department of Marine Science and Convergence Technology, Hanyang University ERICA campus, 55 Hanyangdaehak-ro, Sangnok-gu, Ansan-si, Gyeonggi-do 426-791, South Korea

The Miocene paleogeography of northern South America was configured by Pacific plate dynamics and eastward migration of the Caribbean plate and subsequent closure of the Panama landbridge (c. 15-13 Ma)(Boschman et al., 2015; Montes et al., 2015). In this abstract we reflect on the role of the Caribbean tectonic deformation process on the sedimentary and the biotic history of northwestern Amazonia.

We present new geochemical and palynological data from a 60 m thick sedimentary succession (c. 17-16 million year old) situated along the Japurá River in Colombian Amazonia (Salamanca et al., submitted). This succession was previously documented by Hoorn (1994) and extended on this dataset. Our study indicates two principal sediment source areas, one in the Andes and the other in the Venezuelan Guiana Shield. Moreover, we found a possible shift in the Venezuelan source from northwest Guiana to southwest Guiana Shield, but always remained situated in an area currently drained by tributaries of the modern Orinoco. This mixed provenance agrees with findings by Horton et al. (2010), who report the onset of mixed Guianan and Andean provenance in the Colombian Llanos Basin (situated north of our study site) during the early Miocene.

Palynological analysis estimates the Miocene forest composition and, combined with multivariate and other statistical analysis, helped us to detect meaningful palynological changes through time that are related to the geochemical changes in the environment. We found that the lower part of the section was formed in a fluvial floodplain of Andean origin with mainly taxa such as Malvacipolloides and Rhoipites pollen, whereas the upper section was formed in an estuarine environment with sediments of Guianan origin. Pollen indicates that in this period vegetation was formed by a Mauritia palm swamp that changed into an estuarine floodplain with mangroves and Euterpe-type palms. The succession ends with a fluvial floodplain of Guianan origin and mainly Rhoipites pollen. Pollen typical for tropical rainforest taxa such as Arecaceae, Fabaceae, Sapotaceae, Malpighiaceae and Bombacoideae occur, although taxa favouring dryer conditions were also found. Palynological diversity is high throughout, but values vary in the transition from Andean to Amazonian type sediment.
The palynological data suggest that in the early Miocene a mixed forest existed in the study area. Changes in aquatic conditions and sediment source influenced both forest composition and species diversity. The marine influence of indisputable Caribbean origin reached the area in the opposite direction of the modern Orinoco.
We conclude that the ongoing deformation in the Caribbean region rippled through from the coastal region and influenced sedimentation patterns in northwest Amazonia (see also Hoorn and Flantua, 2015). These large-scale tectonic changes not only affected provenance and sedimentary environments, but also allowed inward migration of coastal conditions and ultimately played a role in the composition of biota in Amazonia.
Boschman, L. M., van Hinsbergen, D.J.J., Torsvik, T.H., Spakman and Pindell, J.L. (2014) Kinematic reconstruction of the Caribbean region since the Early Jurassic. Earth Science Reviews, 138, 102-131.
Hoorn, C. (1994) Fluvial palaeonvironments in the intracratonic Amazonas Basin (Early Miocene-early Middle Miocene, Colombia). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 109, 1–54.
Hoorn, C. and Flantua, S.G.A. (2015). An early start for the Panama Landbridge. Science Perspectives, 348, 186–187.
Horton, B.K., Parra, M., Saylor, J.E., Nie, J., Torres, V. and Strecker, M.R. (2010) Resolving uplift of the northern Andes using detrital zircon age signatures. GSA Today, 20, 7, 1–9.
Montes, C., Cardona, A., Jaramillo, C. Pardo, A., Silva, J.C., Valencia, V., Ayala, C., Pérez-Angel, L.C., Rodriguez-Parra, L.A., Ramirez, V. and Niño, H. (2015) Middle Miocene closure of the Central American Seaway. Science 348, 226-229.
Salamanca, S., van Soelen, E.E., Teunissen van Manen, M.L., Flantua, S.G.A., Santos, R.V., Roddaz, M., Dantas, E.L., van Loon, E., Sinninghe Damsté, J.S., Kim, J-H., Hoorn, C. (submitted to Journal of Biogeography). Past Amazon forest dynamics under changing abiotic conditions (early Miocene, Mariñame site, Colombian Amazonia).

University of Napoli, Italy
Prof Carlo Gualtieri
Research project (Fluid dynamics, sediment transport and turbulent mixing at large confluences of the Amazon River - C.Gualtieri, M.Ianniruberto, M.Trevethan).


- The analysis of the data gained from the ADCP profiles carried out at the Negro and Solimões confluence allowed to calculate both basic and advanced hydraulic characteristics of the Negro-Solimões confluence hydrodynamics zone (CHZ) in both low flow and high flow conditions, including the parameters controlling sediment transport and turbulent mixing (bed stresses, shear velocity, friction parameters, etc.);

- Bathymetric and seismic survey was carried out at the Negro-Solimões confluence, and gathered data allowed the localisation of the classic morphologic features expected at a confluence: deposition about stagnation zone and flow separation zone, as well erosive features such as scour hole. In the downstream portion of the CHZ, it was possible to observe the gradual appearance of mid-channel sedimentary bedforms on the Solimões side of the main Amazon channel, these are over 200m in wavelength and have a steep slipface;

- The theory of stratified shear-flows was applied to study turbulent transport and mixing at Negro-Solimões confluence. The differences in tributary water characteristics created lateral stratification about mixing interface and the rapid lateral change in velocity across the shear layer seemed to indicate that even the velocity shear could have a significant role
in mixing processes. Furthermore even the lateral forces from converging flows have significant impact on confluence dynamics. An initial analysis revealed that the flow exhibited characteristics of both shear flows and gravity currents, but had complex dynamics due to strong interactions between the turbulent features of each;

- A preliminary investigation of the link between hydrodynamics and water chemistry at the Negro-Solimões confluence was even carried out. The initial findings showed that the transport of water physicochemical properties is strongly affected from the turbulent mixing at the confluence. Furthermore, it was pointed out that stratified confluences could affect even the habitat of certain fish species and change the local fish biogeography.


- Basic and advanced hydraulic characteristics of the Negro-Solimões confluence hydrodynamics zone were defined;
- Confluence hydrodynamics in low flow and high flow conditions were compared;
- The main morphologic features of Negro-Solimões confluence hydrodynamics zone were identified, including large sedimentary bedforms on the Solimões side;
- The theory of stratified shear-flows was applied to the Negro-Solimões confluence to study turbulent transport and mixing;
- The link between hydrodynamics and water chemistry at the Negro-Solimões confluence was investigated.

Potential Impact:
The CLIM-AMAZON project was the result of long term cooperation since 1997 between the IRD, France, and UnB, Brazil. It had several durable consequences in the scientific collaboration between Germany, the Netherland, the UK, Italy and Brazil in terms of global processes related to large tropical river basins. In the long-term CLIM-AMAZON has consolidated the successful cooperation between Brazil and Europe from the ORE-HYBAM and OCE projects. On the short-term, it has contributed to establish a comprehensive and coherent Brazil-EU dialogue to implement and coordinate joint actions based on complementarity and synergy. This cooperation was very important considering the large investments in scientific infrastructure in Brazil during the last few years, as those in the Geochronology Laboratory of the UnB, which has enabled a considerable increase of the Brazilian scientific production and quality.
The broadening to Germany, the Netherland, the UK and Italy in the participation to CLIM-AMAZON activities has emerged from the involvement of three main groups of actors: EU PhD students, post-doc researchers and visiting senior scientists. They have drawn support from existing and newly recruited staff members in Brasilia, from the upgrading of the scientific equipment and from the enhancement of the laboratory capacity of UnB. The participation of Germans, Dutch, British and Italian members has also promoted the works of young Brazilian scientists at Master and PhD level and post-doc researchers, working in direct link with Brazilian senior researchers. The evolution of OCE into the future INCT DCIFRAR using CLIM-AMAZON as catalyst was one of our main goals.
PhD students and postdoc researchers from Germany, the Netherland, the UK and Italy where the engine of the Brazil-EU collaboration, PhD and post-doc fellowships have ensured the continuity of the earlier works developed in OCE on hydrology and geochemistry of the Amazon River basin and on the environmental implications. The broadening towards topics focused on sediments of the Amazon basin have allowed the study of the geodynamic and climate evolution of this area back to the Miocene, which could not be done without the strong support of an EU-Brazilian joint project. An important point is that the topic selection, the recruitment procedure and the joint guidance have been carried out with the Brazilian partners. We ensure to have a balanced participation of women and men in our research activities. Our aim has been to conduct research in such a way to ensure the highest level of scientific quality.
Senior scientists from Europe have been involved together with their Brazilian counterparts in the guidance of PhD and post-doc researchers. They have visited Brazil to participate to workshops, training seminars, and to set up future collaborative projects and institutional arrangements. These scientists have been selected after their response to the initial call for PhD and post-doc research subjects. As expected, they came from more than three (actually four) other EU countries (Germany, the Netherland, the UK and Italy) besides France.
The enhancement of the equipment and laboratory capacities of UnB was a strong step towards the recognition of the laboratory as a nodal point for the EU-Brazil collaboration.
The increased cooperation between EU countries and Brazil through CLIM-AMAZON has allowed the team to respond successfully to the IRD-CNPq call through the project FLUMAS funded from 2013 to 2017 and to put together a response to the INCT call, named DCIFRAR. The outcome should be known by May 2016. The choice of the Amazon Basin as the focus of the project is justified by the fact that the extent of this basin allow to expand the obtained results to a global scale, with focus on Climate, Hydrology and Sedimentary Dynamic of a particular significant region of the Earth.
CLIM-AMAZON has increased the visibility and excellence of pre-existing bilateral structures. It has given a more effective visibility on the results obtained in the course of this project through information meeting given in front of the general public and political stakeholders in Amazonian states along with project’s scientific result presentations conducted in various national and international scientific meetings, including the 2013 and 2015 HyBAM Scientific Meetings in La Paz, Boliva and Cusco, Peru, respectively, the 2014 European Geoscience Union Meeting in Vienna, Austria and the 25th Congresso Brasileiro de Geoquimica, Brasilia, Brazil (2015), among others. UnB already has a strong infrastructure in terms of laboratory equipment and the CLIM-AMAZON project has increased the visibility and excellence of the current LMI-OCE and helped maximizing the initial investment made in this laboratory through funding of new scientific equipment and the inclusion of world-class senior scientists from Germany, the Netherland, the UK and Italy.
Fostering the future of research between Europe and Brazil is a major contribution of this project. There was the mutual knowledge transfer between the European and Brazilian partners. This project has strengthened a long-term research partnership between scientists from Germany, the Netherland, the UK, Italy and Brazilian scientists and forms the basis of new future activities of common interests, thereby promoting the visibility of EU-Brazil research. Thus, the training of human resources in problems that will bring benefit to Amazon region, and involving society, will help in the sustainability of this area, which is very important to understand the Earth ecosystem dynamics. Exchange of students from Europe and Brazil, involving them in joint guidance, gives a new generation of researchers talking the same language and having a common approach to solve them. The future collaborative research projects will lead to a network producing new information to be gathered to make them available to others.
Preventive approach of climate changes and process of flooding, erosion, anthropogenic impact and their influence along the Amazon River basin, will be available for the society and administration, governor, and other organizations, thereby producing an impact in socio-economical activity of the region. Thus, future research projects could be submitted in the scope of a proposal to the next programs, produce innovations about the dynamic of water loads, rivers flow, provenance of sediments and erosion patterns in a tropical climatic condition.
The projects will help to foster innovation in the water sector and the application of research results into case studies, in close collaboration with appropriate stakeholders and local and/or regional actors, taking into consideration the different socio-economic situations. The future collaborative projects will take advantage of the experience gained from the studies carried out in the five scientific topics of CLIM-AMAZON.
The partnership strengthened by CLIM-AMAZON has and will continue to generate new collaborative research projects on climate and geodynamic research in the Amazon basin of quality high enough to drain competitive funds from Brazil and outside. Communications in international conference performed and peer-reviewed journal publications already published, submitted and in preparation are the vehicles to spread excellence of the activities carried out in the joint laboratory.
The achievements of CLIM-AMAZON in spreading excellence constitute a success because of its structuring of a strong and interactive consortium between Germany, the Netherland, the UK, Italy, France and Brazil and fostering regional partnerships with neighboring countries like Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and Equator to tackle climatic and hydrologic problems of regional concern. It is also an opportunity of partnership with EC to put the efforts into a global perspective.
Knowledge acquired through CLIM-AMAZON was disseminated to the scientific community, to local, regional and international stakeholders, and to the public at large. This was conducted by means of public meetings in Amazonian states, interviews and reports for the press media as well as for audiovisual broadcasting. In Brazil, stakeholders include Brazilian state organizations and Universities and Brazilian governmental bodies dealing with water resource management. In EU, possible stakeholders are the European Commission, research organizations and governmental bodies dealing with water sciences in Germany, the Netherland, the UK, Italy and France. Promotional flyers were disseminated, describing the project objectives and the consortium. It was distributed at conferences attended by EU researchers participating to CLIM-AMAZON, notably during the various International congresses attended in Austria, Brazil, Bolivia and Peru. Scientific results are being published in international peer-reviewed journals with high Impact Factor and presented at national and international conferences. Specialized training courses have disseminated know-how and proper use of research technologies among young researchers from Brazil and Europe. The CLIM-AMAZON website has broadcasted all relevant information. It has also been used for the conference announcement and management.

List of Websites:


Related information


Héloïse LEMOINE, (European affairs officer)
Tel.: +33491999450
Fax: +33491999212
Record Number: 182220 / Last updated on: 2016-05-17
Information source: SESAM