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Sapropels and Palaeoceanography : Palaeoceanographic, Palaeoclimatic, Palaeoenvironmental and Diagenetic Aspects of Sapropel Formation in the Eastern Mediterranean


1. To compare the composition, deposition and preservation of contemporaneous sediments, including the spatial and temporal distribution of sapropels, deposited under contrasting oxic and anoxic conditions using a high-resolution and multidisciplinary approach.
2. To study the variation in aeolian and fluvial input into Eastem Mediterranea sediments due to natural and/or anthropogenic changes, and their effect on sediment composition/biogeochemical fluxes.
3. To study and quantify present-day salinity and nutrient fluid fluxes from sediments into the deep Mediterranean water.
The research objectives of the SAP proposal are directed to MAST lll Work Programme Research Area A2 (To understand the (paleo) functioning of ecosystems in extreme marine environments and to determine their role in the global environment by studying their characteristic physical, chemical, biological and geological processes). In fact, it covers most of the objectives of paragraphs 1 and 4 under Research area A2 Research task 1 (eastern Mediterranean), and some of the objectives under Research Task A1.5 and A1.6. In addition, the SAP programme contains major earth science objectives that are part of and complement other European and International activities.These are programmes aimed at developing a better understanding of how the oceans function and how marine geoscientists can better interpret the marine sedimentary record. The European programmes include ELOISE programme and the Deep-Sea Floor as a Changing Environment: Grand Challenges for European Cooperabon in Deep Sea Research (HiBETS and MASTER). The international programmes include the IMAGES and PAGES programmes under the IGBP, LOICZ, JGOFS, and the ODP. Data collected and analysed during SAP will complement data collected by these projects and in some cases, will provide valuable additional data in areas not being investigated by the field programmes of other international projects. Data obtained and interpreted during the SAP programme will also complement and provide essential input to other proposed MAST-funded projects. These data will also form a source of important additional information to biogeochemical and oceanographic projects/modules within the MAST lll Mediterranean Targeted Project and other projects funded under the MAST and Environment Programmes. For example, the CLIVAMP project, which seeks to elucidate changes in water circulation and oceanographic conditions during the Pleistocene climatic changes, will require data and interpretational input concerning palaeoceanographic conditions derived from cores studied in the proposed SAP programme. CLIVAMP, and the proposed PROSPECT and SAP projects intend to work closely together. Projects examining biogeochemical flux transfers from the Mediterranean continental shelves to the deep sea basins, current or proposed under MAST lll, will also benefit from data and their interpretation by SAP. In short, the SAP proposal promises to obtain a unique and longlived data and sample archive, and to improve the understanding of the functioning of the palaeoceanographic and sedimentary system of the eastern Mediterranean. This will be a valuable contribution to the European (palaeo)oceanographic and marine (geo)science communities, and to the future management for the sustainable use of the Mediterranean.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht
3584 CD Utrecht

Participants (5)

Europole Mediteraneen De L'arbois, Cerege
13545 Gardanne
Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Scienze del Mare
Via Mangiagalli 34
20133 Milano
Instituto de Investigaçao das Pescas e do Mar
Avenida De Brasilia
1400 Lisboa
United Kingdom
Empress Dock, European Way
SO14 3ZH Southampton
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Panepistimiopolis - Ilissia
15784 Athens