Friday, August 28, 2009

Two cruises conducted to characterize hydrography and oxygen distribution in Amvrakikos Gulf

In June and August two oceanographic cruises to the Amvrakikos Gulf (Western Greece) were carried out by hypox partners from the Laboratory of Marine Geology and Physical Oceanography at Patras University. G. Papatheodorou and his colleagues investigated oxygen distributions and the oceanographic regime in the Gulf in order to select appropriate sites for monitoring activities in hypox.

The team from the Laboratory of Marine Geology and Physical Oceanography at Patras University and the 14m long research vessel "Erene".

In June, the water exchange between The Gulf and the Ionian Sea was characterized by current, salinity and temperature measurments in the Preveza Straits. The August cruise focused on the water column structure of the Gulf itself. Investigations included measurements of oxygen and standard oceanographic parameters as well as sediment sampling and visual inspection of the seafloor. Initial results show that the Gulf is characterized by a fjord like oceanographic regime with a well stratified two layer structure in the water column. A strong pycnocline with sharp gradients in oxygen separates a well oxygenated surface layer from an anoxic bottom layer.

The ROV MKII BENTHOS just before diving into the Amvrakikos Gulf.

Friday, August 14, 2009

hypox partners from the Institute of Biology of the Southern Sea (IBSS) join the 5th IGCP 521 / INQUA 501 plenary meeting and field trip (22- 31.8.09)

Two projects on the quaternary history of sea level change and human adaptation in the Black Sea Mediterranean Corridor (IGCP 521 and INQUA 501) hold their 2009 plenary meeting and field trip in Istanbul, Izmir, and Çanakkale (Turkey). The history of this region under the influence of sea level changes in the last 30,000 years has a strong link to the hypox focus on the effect of global change on oxygen availability and its implications. Nelli Sergeeva and Igor Bondrev from the IBSS join the meeting and field trip and present investigations of faunal assemblages at the shelf break and oxic/anoxic interface of the northwestern Black Sea.Your browser may not support display of this image.

The Black Sea-Mediterranean Corridor covering the Manych-Kerch Gateway, the Black Sea, the Marmara Gateway, the Aegean Sea, the Eastern Mediterranean and their coasts (

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Nelli Sergeeva and Igor Bondarev giving a talk at this years IGCP 521 / INQUA 501 Plenary Meeting.

Coring activities near Miletos during the 2009 field trip


Presentation of hypox plans for the Gotland Basin at the Baltic Sea Science Congress in Tallin

Detlef Schulz-Bull and Ralf Prien from the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemuende ( present their plans for the hypox field site in the Gotland Basin at the 7th Baltic Sea Science Congress 2009 in Tallinn, Estonia (17.-21. August; Since its creation in the mid 1990ies, the biannual Baltic Sea Science Congress brings together marine scientists from all around the Baltic to discuss all aspects of Baltic Sea Research. Topics span from "The Baltic Basin through the Last Glacial Cycle" to "Impact of changing climate on the Baltic Sea ecosystem". The poster presentation of the planned hypox profiling mooring for the Gotland Basin perfectly fits the congress motto of this years Baltic Sea Science Congress: "Towards better understanding and improved technology for serving the society".

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Illustration of the profiling system

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Approximate position of planned station in the Gotland Basin

Ralf Prien explaining the profiling mooring at the BSSC in Tallinn. Photograph: Robert Schmidt, IOW

hypox-scientists are joining Polarstern cruise to the Arctic

Together with 50 scientists, engineers, technicians and students, hypox scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, (AWI;, and the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen (MPI; embarked in Longyearbyen, Svalbard. They will participate in the second cruise leg of RV „Polarstern“ during her 24th Arctic expedition. The aim of the hypox project work on board is to continue long term oxygen measurements at the deep-sea long term station "Hausgarten".

The "Hausgarten" station is situated west of Svalbard at 79 degrees northern latitude and comprises 16 sampling stations that cover a depth range of 1000 to 5500 meters. Although the water column is far from hypoxia the station was selected as one of the hypox project field sites: Previous oxygen data seemed to indicate a significant decline of oxygen concentrations in the bottom water that may be related to climate induced changes in deep water formation in the North Atlantic - Arctic Ocean transition.

The “Hausgarten” observatory is operated since 10 years. Since 2004 it carries out long term oxygen measurements, making it one of the first observatories to include this parameter. The “Hausgarten” observatory provides some 17000 data points on dynamics in oxygen concentration in Arctic bottom waters to the HYPOX data base.

Within the hypox project, research related to dynamics in oxygen concentrations and fluxes in the Arctic will be fostered by adding long-term optode oxygen sensors to moorings, and by additional measurements of various oxygen consumption parameters in the water column and sediments. The techniques applied include in situ chamber incubations and microprofiling as well as flux measurements in retrieved cores. The first project activity during the cruise is the deployment of a free falling lander at the Molloy Deep, a 5600 m deep depression and the deepest Hausgarten station that will do it’s pre-programmed monitoring mission over the coming twelve months. Weekly reports with more information on the cruise are found at

hypox lander equipped with oxygen optodes at the sea surface soon after release at Hausgarten (Photo: T. Soltwedel)

Oxygen microsensor profiles are measured in and next to starvation experiments. Here the benthic community has been closed off from sedimentation of fresh organic matter for one year (Photo: MARUM)

Benthic Chamber testing in Loch Etive


Following an invitation of Laurence Mee, Director of The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) - a partner institute of HYPOX, Jana Friedrich (AWI) and Felix Janssen (MPI) are spending a week at SAMS, Oban (UK). The purpose of the visit is the test of a new benthic chamber system, which will be used in field studies during the HYPOX project. The benthic chamber system has been developed during a Royal Society International Joint Projects grant in a collaboration of AWI, MPI, University of Plymouth and SAMS. The deployment of the system will be carried out from RV “Calanus”, the SAMS ship, at the proposed hypox project sites in Loch Etive. The chamber design is optimized to penetrate hard, consolidated sediments at minimum perturbation of the sediment surface. Total benthic oxygen uptake data will be derived from recordings of an oxygen macro optode in the chamber. In addition, nutrient fluxes will be calculated from time series of chamber water samples. Once operational, the chamber will mainly be used for investigations of benthic fluxes at the Romanian Shelf (northwestern Black Sea).


The chamber system during a test at the Marum test basin facility (26.06.2009)
Photograph: M. Schloesser, MPI

The chamber system during a test at the Marum test basin facility (26.06.2009)
Photograph: M. Schloesser, MPI

A short video about the test in the Marum test basin facility (26.06.2009). Footage: M Schloesser, MPI (air), M. Fritsche & P. Kampmann, DFKI (underwater); editing: M. Schloesser & F. Janssen, MPI.

15.4.-17.4.2009: Kick-off Meeting

Max-Planck-Institute for Marine Microbiology (MPI), Bremen, Germany

Only two weeks after the official start of the HYPOX project representatives of all partners of the consortium joined at the Max-Planck.Institute in Bremen, Germany for a first general meeting. For three days (15-17.04.2009) the partners jumped right away into lively discussions on all aspects of the projects. The scientific program of the meeting was focusing on structure and tasks of the eight Work Packages and on the characteristics of the project sites and work to be carried out there.

Inspiring scientific and technological input was provided by talks on hypoxia occurrence and science (Jack Middelburg), state of the art in long term oxygen measurements (Anders Tengberg), and the challenges and benefits of the GEO and GEOSS initiatives (Christoph Waldmann).

The program was completed by presentations on related projects: the ESONET/EMSO Network of Excellence (Jean Francois Rolin), the HYPER project (Jacob Carstensen, University of Aarhus, Denmark), and the project EuroSITES (Kate Larkin, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK).

Download the Meeting Programme here: hypox_kickoff_schedule_090402_FJ.pdf