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Content archived on 2024-04-19

Coccolithophorid dynamics : the European Emiliania Huxleyi programme


The unicellular pelagic alga Emiliania huxleyi is dominant among the ocean biota. E. huxleyi provides an ideal experimental system for integrated biological, biogeochemical, and geological research of the oceanic fluxes of carbon as well as the global carbon cycle. EHUX is a comprehensive experimental and modelling project focused on the calcium carbonate and organic carbon productivity and ocean carbon flux induced by E. huxleyi in the present N.E. Atlantic region.

The fundamental objective of this project is to improve our understanding of the processes involved in the growth and distribution of E. huxleyi and of its role in the oceanic carbon cycle.

The specific aims are:

1. Morphological and genetic characterization of clones and elucidation of life cycle.

2. Characterization of PIC, POC, biomarker, and CO2 productivity as a function of cellular and molecular organisation and life cycle stages.

3. Provision of quantitative information on calcite, biomarker, and CO2 productivity in response to controlled environmental condition.

4. Quantification of the processes outlined above in natural blooms at different stages of development and development of carbon budgets for well defined spring bloom conditions.

5. The development of descriptive and predictive models of the processes influencing coccolithophore dynamics and the interactions between E. huxleyi and its environment.

The achievement of these specific objectives is required to properly model the system for answering questions such as -
how much CO2 will the ocean sequester or produce under what conditions, and how fast?
The project will involve the characterization of the idiosyncratic and non-linear nature of the biological involvement in ocean chemistry and the intimate coupling of the fluxes of particulate inorganic carbon and particulate organic carbon. It will employ an integrated approach encompassing research and modelling at the biochemical, physiological, population dynamical, ecosystem and global levels.

Call for proposal

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NERC Centre of Coastal and Marine Sciences
EU contribution
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Prospect Place West Hoe
PL1 3DH Plymouth
United Kingdom

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Total cost
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Participants (12)