Atmospheric deposition and ocean plankton dynamics (ADEPT)

Summary of the project

ADEPT addresses the study of the effect of atmospheric aerosol deposition on the dynamics of a marine LNLC (low nutrient low chlorophyll) system, namely the Mediterranean. To achieve its goal, ADEPT uses a multiscale and complementary approach. At the Mediterranean basin scale we will relate satellite chlorophyll data with modeled Saharan dust deposition. At the coastal scale, we will measure deposition directly at several locations across the NW Mediterranean and simultaneously sample chemical and biological parameters of the water column at high frequency and analyze relationships between both sets of variables. For such a sampling intensity we will count with the collaboration of nonscientists. In addition we will conduct laboratory experiments with aerosol amendments to seawater in order to study plankton stimulation dynamics, utilization of organic matter by bacteria, and changes in bacterial composition and diversity, all for a better mechanistic understanding of the processes involved.

The bulk input of nutrients to the Mediterranean through atmospheric deposition is equivalent to the land-based input, thus having utmost importance in biogeochemical budgets. However, contrary to HNLC (high nutrient low chlorophyll) oceanic areas where iron produces a clear stimulation of system production, in the Mediterranean various nutritional elements may show very low concentrations and limit production in temporal succession, which makes it difficult to detect event driven stimulation. Using time series with many events and experimental manipulations, ADEPT aims to evaluate the conditions for the stimulation of plankton owing to deposition in the Mediterranean and the degree of such stimulation.

Area of study


Time Table for activities

1st January 2012 – 31st December 2014