The role of salps for carbon export in Southern Ocean - Does surface phytoplankton distribution reflect salp export potential?



Dr. Ilka Peeken 
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung



Salps are an important mediator of the downward transport of organic carbon in the Southern Ocean as they produce high quantities of densely packed faecal pellets which rapidly sink through the water column. The current project focuses on the quality and quantity of exported material of the two Southern Ocean salps, Salpa thompsoni and Ihlea racovitzai in response to regional and seasonal food conditions. By investigating their gut content with marker pigment analysis, microscopic examination and carbon measurements, particularly in regard to digestion and digestion efficiency, ingestion and egestion of the salps will be determined for varying natural diets. This study will be enlarged by information on phytoplankton assemblages and satellite chlorophyll concentrations and on salp distribution for different seasons and several regions of the Southern Ocean, and will enable us to define the role of salp feeding in structuring Antarctic pelagic ecosystems and their impact on carbon transfer in the Southern Ocean.



DFG-Verfahren: Infrastruktur-Schwerpunktprogramme

Förderung von 2009 bis 2011