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Stable Chromium Isotopes as a Productivity Tracer

Objective

The overall concept of this proposal is to investigate the main biogeochemical processes modulating spatial and temporal changes in marine export productivity, and assess their role in regulating atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations, both under present conditions and in the geological past. The exchange of CO2 between the atmosphere and ocean interior mediated by the oceanic ecosystem is a pivotal mechanism modulating the global carbon cycle, and thus, a substantial driver of the Earth’s climatic evolution.

The overarching objective of this research proposal is to develop a novel proxy to trace changes in the global strength of the marine biological carbon pump (BCP) based on stable Chromium (Cr) isotopes. Despite its significance for the global carbon cycle, the BCP is still poorly constrained. This project will explore a tracer that has recently been developed to investigate the rise of atmospheric oxygen in the early history of the Earth and develop it thoroughly through a comprehensive, multidisciplinary calibration program and apply it to the much more subtle redox variations associated with organic matter remineralization in the ocean. The proposed approach includes phytoplankton culture experiments, water-column investigations and sedimentary analysis and will aim at elucidating the mechanisms governing the reduction of Cr and its associated isotopic fractionation. The proxy will subsequently be used to reconstruct export production variability in the past and assess its role in modulating glacial/interglacial climate oscillations. These past changes tended to be much slower than the current, anthropogenic change. Nonetheless, they can help to appraise sensitivities and point toward potentially dominant mechanisms of change. The observations gathered within the framework of this research program will enable refining the evolution of the marine carbon cycle and the rapidly declining buffering capacity of the ocean.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/chemical sciences/inorganic chemistry/inorganic compounds
  • /natural sciences/earth and related environmental sciences/atmospheric sciences/climatology/climatic changes
  • /humanities/history and archaeology/history
  • /social sciences/economics and business/economics/production economics/productivity

Call for proposal

ERC-2018-COG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-COG - Consolidator Grant

Host institution

UNIVERSITAET BERN
Address
Hochschulstrasse 6
3012 Bern
Switzerland
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 997 625

Beneficiaries (1)

UNIVERSITAET BERN
Switzerland
EU contribution
€ 1 997 625
Address
Hochschulstrasse 6
3012 Bern
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments