Cpump: NWO-program on Computational Life Sciences

Understanding the 'organic carbon pump' in meso-scale ocean flows

Drs. J. Bruggeman, Drs. A. W. Omta, Ir. M. H. van Raalte, Prof. Dr. S. A. L. M. Kooijman , Dr. B. W. Kooi, Prof. Dr. H. A. Dijkstra, Dr. B. P. Sommeijer

Algae require light, carbon dioxide (from the atmosphere) and nutrients (nitrate, phosphate, iron) for growth. When they sink out of the relatively warm, nutrient-poor, light-rich mixed-layer they die, are partially degraded, and intra-cellular nutrients are released. An increase in wind causes an increase in the depth of the mixed-layer and part of the exported nutrients return to the mixed-layer. The partially degraded organic matter further sinks to the deep ocean; this process is accelerated by grazing. High winds give deep mixing layers (so low average light levels for the algae) and relatively low temperatures (which go with low physiological rates). The proximate control of production is by wind, the ultimate control by nutrients.

This research project aims to quantify the rate at which algae bind carbon dioxide, by implementing a DEB-based model for algal growth in a basin circulation model, using advanced numerical techniques. We hope to understand observed chlorophyll patterns in the oceans from first principles.



Projects of related interest

Self organisation of community metabolism Modelling the ecosystem of the North Sea
Role of food web structures Time scale separation in ecosystem dynamics
Biological production in oceans Analysis of routine biodegradation tests
Impact of Emiliania on the global carbon flux Global Emiliania Modelling initiative
Phytoplankton dynamics Phytoplankton data base

Go to projects' entry