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Pelagic-benthic coupling in the oligotrophic Cretan sea (NE Mediterranean)

Objective



The main objective of the proposed research is to detect and quantify the transfer of shelf and surface derived organic matter to the benthos of the shelf, shelf break and slope on a seasonal, bathymetric and interannual basis. The source and fate of the particulate fluxes will be monitored as they precipitate through the water column. The response elicited by the benthic community, if and when energy is supplied, will be documented chemically and biologically.

The detailed aims of this study are:

- to acquire annual average primary production estimates;
- to characterize the biogeochemical exchanges between the Cretan continental shell and the adjacent open sea ecosystem of the oligotrophic Cretan Sea;

- to estimate the sedimentation rate in the Cretan Sea;

- to estimate the temporal and spatial variability of the benthic standing stock;

- to measure a variety of water column and sedimentary environmental parameters;

- to acquire sediment community oxygen consumption measurements (metallic demand), in order to detect seasonal fluctuations in relation to variations in the food supplied to the benthos;

- to measure nutrient fluxes between the sediment and the overlying water columns

- to monitor benthic activity photographically and conduct a videoscopic study of the area with the use of both the bathysnap camera system and the submersible JAG0;

- to relate the prevailing environmental parameters to the observed patterns of benthic community structure.

Many of the tasks to be undertaken in this project have never before been applied in the E. Mediterranean. This concerted multidisciplinary approach will serve to promote our understanding into the functioning of the oligotrophic Cretan Sea ecosystem.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

INSTITUTE OF MARINE BIOLOGY OF CRETE
Address
Port Of Heraklion
71003 Poros Irakleiou Kritis
Greece

Participants (6)

NERC Institute of Oceanographic Sciences
United Kingdom
Address
Deacon Laboratory Brook Road Wormley
GU8 5UB Godalming
National Centre for Marine Research
Greece
Address

16604 Athens
Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Netherlands
Address

1790 AB Texel, Den Burg
UNIVERSITY OF TROMSOE
Norway
Address
201 B,breivika
9037 Tromsoe
University of Crete
Greece
Address
1470,
71110 Heraklion
Università degli Studi di Genova
Italy
Address
Corso Rainusso 14
16038 Santa Margherita Ligure