I will measure the effect of CO2 on the transfer of carbon within the plankton community. We want to see if the change in CO2 in the seawater causes a change in the CO2 uptake by phytoplankton, the microscopic plants of the sea. Furthermore, we aim to get insight into how it will affect uptake by organisms that depend on phytoplankton, like zooplankton (microscopic animals) and bacteria. A good tool to study the carbon flow in the plankton community is to add labeled carbon to the mesocosms. This labeled carbon is a stable isotope: a non-radioactive, natural occurring form of carbon. By measuring the appearance of this label in different groups of organisms, we can see how much and how fasts carbon flows in the food-web and of course if it will change under ocean acidification scenarios.
My thoughts about the trip
This will be my first time in the Arctic and I am very excited. I expect it to be a unique, once in a lifetime experience. I think we’ll be working very hard, but it will be very satisfactory (I hope!). Since we are with scientists from all over Europe, I expect to meet interesting people and to have a lot of fun. I hope I can sleep well with the continuous 24 hour sunlight!
More about my research
I am a Dutch PhD student and I am working at the Center of Marine and Estuarine Ecology, what is part of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO). During my PhD, I mainly focus on the effect of CO2 and temperature on carbon fluxes in natural plankton communities. I do this in freshwater and in seawater. The main tool I use in my research is the combined use of stable isotopes and biomarkers (molecules specific for different groups of organisms). I mainly work with fatty acid biomarkers, but also with carbohydrates, amino acids and pigments.