"The biogeochemical cycle of iodine is driven by sea-to-air exchange processes that are particularly relevant for the coastal environment, since they strongly influence the atmospheric chemistry in the marine boundary layer. Many aspects concerning the precursors and sources of iodine in coastal areas are still poorly understood. Quantitative data on the magnitude of gas fluxes and the composition of gas mixtures (iodocarbons or molecular iodine) escaping from the sea is essential for models describing aerosol formation and the influence of the corresponding gaseous species on the radiative balance of the Earth and hence on global change. However, data obtained under realistic conditions is sparse due to a lack of technologies that meet the challenges involved in taking meaningful in situ measurements.
ALMA-MATER addresses this problem by applying a new optical method based on broadband cavity-enhanced Fourier Transform absorption spectroscopy. This approach is to be developed in order to identify and characterize biogenic emission sources of iodocarbons (e.g. macro-algae). It is planned to study specimen under controlled stress conditions in the laboratory.
The proposed research into a long-standing atmospheric problem is inherently linked with plant physiological questions, and tackles this genuine environmental science challenge with the development of new spectroscopic technology in an ultimately multidisciplinary way. The project thus offers a variety of opportunities for the acquisition of new complementary research competencies and professional skills which strongly promote the career prospects of the fellow running the research. Hosting the project in Ireland is highly advantageous due to the nature of the topic. Thus the mobility of the exceptionally promising (Indian) fellow, travelling from Switzerland to Ireland, maximises not only her contribution to a knowledge-based European society, but it catalyses the research itself at an advanced level."
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