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Axis 2

Export, carbon, silicium, nitrogen, traces elements, mixotrophy, diversity.



Participating laboratories

Scientific context

The set of processes that transports particulate organic carbon (POC) to the deep sea and ultimately to sediments is collectively known as the «biological pump» and includes the primary production of POC and its packaging via coagulation or other processes, into large, rapidly sinking particles versus its recycling or entrainment into marine food webs. This biological carbon pump in the ocean is a significant term in the global carbon cycle as it transports ~10 Gt C per year from the surface waters to the ocean interior.


Despite decades of research, there is still no detailed understanding of the mechanisms that control the efficiency of the biological pump, which is known to vary dramatically, both spatially and temporally, at different scales. Axis 2 will implement novel and complementary approaches through field studies, experimental and modeling approaches that are adapted to different scales, from individual particles and organisms up to ecosystems, in order to address the following questions:
  • How do marine microorganisms and ecosystem functioning diversity impact the efficiency of production?
  • How do trace metals control the operation and structure of these ecosystems?
  • What are the controls on the Carbon export efficiency?

Expected results

The different research actions will provide an insight on the different controls of the biological pump, especially in targeted areas of high productivity such as the North Atlantic or the Arctic. Field work, novel experiments and modelling studies will contribute to a better understanding of processes controlling the fate of particles and to better evaluate the influence of ecosystem structure and trace metals on carbon export.
These data could also be implemented in coupled (physics-biogeochemistry) models such as NEMOPISCES.



More information (downloads)

2012-2015 axis 2 roadmap

NEW : 2016-2019 axis 2 roadmap

Document Actions

See the axis 2 leaflet

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