25.7.16 | At the end of July, 13 scientists from the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research will be going on a research expedition with the RV Meteor. They are travelling to the upwelling systems at the coasts of Mauretania and Senegal, where the marine ecosystems are of great scientific and economic interest.

“As the most highly eutrophic regional tropical ecosystem worldwide, which additionally is strongly affected by the CO2-enriched upwelled waters, this system represents a textbook example of natural eutrophication and acidification. It is a future scenario for the changes expected for the future seas,” explains Dr. Werner Ekau from ZMT, chief scientist of the expedition. “As a result of the Canary Current this region is one of the most productive fisheries grounds on the earth that at the same time shows severe consequences of overfishing.”

The upwelling area also covers an oceanographic transition area, which allows to decipher the impacts of different parameters. The ecological-biological expedition will focus on biogeochemical processes, trophic networks, and productivity and the interaction between shallow waters, the shelf, and the open ocean.

The scientific work on board is structured in four topics:

1. The eutrophic, low-pH ecosystem off- shore Mauritania to Senegal
2. Trophic networks in the upwelling eco- system
3. Fisheries biology
4. The shallow-water “bioreactor”

A comprehensive programme has been designed to collect representative data and samples for biogeochemical and microbiological approaches, samples for ichthyoplankton and zooplankton studies, water properties, and benthos and sediment on the shelf. The scientists will routinely record the sea-floor morphology (parasound). Researchers will be supported in their work by laboratory technicians of the ZMT.

Alongside the ZMT team researchers from the following institutions will be working on board the RV Meteor: Universities Bremen, Hamburg, Bologna and Salzburg, Deutscher Wetterdienst, GEOMAR, Thünen Institute, IFAN/ University of Dakar, IMROP Mauretania, BirdLife South Africa.

The RV Meteor departs from Ponta Delgada (Azores) on July 30 and will reach Mindelo on the Cap Verde Islands on August 25, which marks the end of the expedition. Data and samples will be collected in the open ocean off Mauretania and Senegal and West Sahara as well as in the shallow waters of the Banc d’Arquin off Mauretania and Sine Saloum in Senegal.

More about the RV Meteor: www.ldf.uni-hamburg.de/meteor.html

Current position of the Meteor here.