Agency: GTR | Branch: NERC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 1.82M | Year: 2015
The impacts of climate change, and warming in particular, on natural ecosystems remain poorly understood, and research to date has focused on individual species (e.g. range shifts of polar bears). Multispecies systems (food webs, ecosystems), however, can possess emergent properties that can only be understood using a system-level perspective. Within a given food web, the microbial world is the engine that drives key ecosystem processes, biogeochemical cycles (e.g. the carbon-cycle) and network properties, but has been hidden from view due to difficulties with identifying which microbes are present and what they are doing. The recent revolution in Next Generation Sequencing has removed this bottleneck and we can now open the microbial black box to characterise the metagenome (who is there?) and metatranscriptome (what are they doing?) of the community for the first time. These advances will allow us to address a key overarching question: should we expect a global response to global warming? There are bodies of theory that suggest this might be the case, including the Metabolic Theory of Ecology and the Everything is Everywhere hypothesis of global microbial biogeography, yet these ideas have yet to be tested rigorously at appropriate scales and in appropriate experimental contexts that allow us to identify patterns and causal relationships in real multispecies systems. We will assess the impacts of warming across multiple levels of biological organisation, from genes to food webs and whole ecosystems, using geothermally warmed freshwaters in 5 high-latitude regions (Svalbard, Iceland, Greenland, Alaska, Kamchatka), where warming is predicted to be especially rapid,. Our study will be the first to characterise the impacts of climate change on multispecies systems at such an unprecedented scale. Surveys of these sentinel systems will be complemented with modelling and experiments conducted in these field sites, as well as in 100s of large-scale mesocosms (artificial streams and ponds) in the field and 1,000s of microcosms of robotically-assembled microbial communities in the laboratory. Our novel genes-to-ecosystems approach will allow us to integrate measures of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. For instance, we will quantify key functional genes as well as quantifying which genes are switched on (the metatranscriptome) in addition to measuring ecosystem functioning (e.g. processes related to the carbon cycle). We will also measure the impacts of climate change on the complex networks of interacting species we find in nature - what Darwin called the entangled bank - because food webs and other types of networks can produce counterintuitive responses that cannot be predicted from studying species in isolation. One general objective is to assess the scope for biodiversity insurance and resilience of natural systems in the face of climate change. We will combine our intercontinental surveys with natural experiments, bioassays, manipulations and mathematical models to do this. For instance, we will characterise how temperature-mediated losses to biodiversity can compromise key functional attributes of the gene pool and of the ecosystem as a whole. There is an assumption in the academic literature and in policy that freshwater ecosystems are relatively resilient because the apparently huge scope for functional redundancy could allow for compensation for species loss in the face of climate change. However, this has not been quantified empirically in natural systems, and errors in estimating the magnitude of functional redundancy could have substantial environmental and economic repercussions. The research will address a set of key specific questions and hypotheses within our 5 themed Workpackages, of broad significance to both pure and applied ecology, and which also combine to provide a more holistic perspective than has ever been attempted previously.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: BG-09-2016 | Award Amount: 15.49M | Year: 2016
The overall objective of INTAROS is to develop an integrated Arctic Observation System (iAOS) by extending, improving and unifying existing systems in the different regions of the Arctic. INTAROS will have a strong multidisciplinary focus, with tools for integration of data from atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and terrestrial sciences, provided by institutions in Europe, North America and Asia. Satellite earth observation data plays an increasingly important role in such observing systems, because the amount of EO data for observing the global climate and environment grows year by year. In situ observing systems are much more limited due to logistical constraints and cost limitations. The sparseness of in situ data is therefore the largest gap in the overall observing system. INTAROS will assess strengths and weaknesses of existing observing systems and contribute with innovative solutions to fill some of the critical gaps in the in situ observing network. INTAROS will develop a platform, iAOS, to search for and access data from distributed databases. The evolution into a sustainable Arctic observing system requires coordination, mobilization and cooperation between the existing European and international infrastructures (in-situ and remote including space-based), the modeling communities and relevant stakeholder groups. INTAROS will include development of community-based observing systems, where local knowledge is merged with scientific data. An integrated Arctic Observation System will enable better-informed decisions and better-documented processes within key sectors (e.g. local communities, shipping, tourism, fisheries), in order to strengthen the societal and economic role of the Arctic region and support the EU strategy for the Arctic and related maritime and environmental policies.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: ENV.2008.1.2.1.2. | Award Amount: 4.73M | Year: 2009
Long-range transport of contaminants to the Arctic, the resulting exposures observed in Arctic human populations, and impacts of such exposures on human health have been the subject of considerable work in recent years, providing a baseline against which to compare future developments. Global climate change has the potential to remobilize environmental contaminants and alter contaminant transport pathways, fate, and routes of exposure in human populations. The Arctic is particularly sensitive to climate change and already exhibits clear impacts. Research into contaminant exposure and its effects on human health in the Arctic, in comparison with other exposed populations in Europe, presents an opportunity to gain insight into changes that may later impact other areas. The influence of climate change on contaminant spreading and transfer and the resultant risk to human populations in the Arctic and other areas of Europe will be studied by: 1) Research on the ways in which climate change will affect the long-range transport and fate of selected groups of contaminants, and possible implications for the re-distribution of contaminants (geographically and between relevant environmental media). This will involve modelling, utilizing the information base that exists on the distribution of such contaminants in the Arctic and other areas of Europe; 2) Research on the impacts that changing pathways and climatic conditions will have on contaminant uptake and transfer within food webs, leading to foods consumed by humans. This will involve experimental work, process studies and targeted analytical studies, the latter focussed on supporting the modelling work and process studies related to human exposure to contaminants; 3) Research focussing on human health, aimed at determining how climate-mediated changes in the environmental fate of selected groups of contaminants will result in changes in exposure of human populations, in the Arctic and in selected areas of Europe.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra-PP | Phase: INFRA-2010-2.2.3 | Award Amount: 6.68M | Year: 2010
Environmental change and climate change in particular, are expected to be most pronounced in the polar regions. For this reason, a multi-disciplinary research infrastructure covering all important elements of the coupled Earth System in the Arctic is a very valuable tool to quantify the ongoing global change and to verify the capability of Earth System models to predict future changes. The proposed EFRI project Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System (SIOS) is intended to take this role. The main goal of the SIOS Preparatory Phase (SIOS-PP) project is to define, work out and decide on the formal framework needed to establish and operate the geographically distributed and thematically composed multi-national research infrastructure with a node function in different aspects, that SIOS will manifest. This covers, on one side, aspects common for all ESFRI initiatives, such as legal status, governance structure, financial strategy, a data management and utilization plan, and an (on- and offshore) logistics plan. In addition, SIOS-PP will address topics that are special for this infrastructure: a dedicated remote sensing strategy, an internal scientific and observational, as well as an international integration and cooperation plan, which will link SIOS to regional European Arctic and pan-Arctic scientific infrastructure networks. The SIOS-PP project will be carried out by a consortium of 27 partners from 14 countries including 4 non-EU and non-associated countries; three of the partners are national funding agencies. In addition, 19 associated partners with infrastructure or strong scientific interests on Svalbard will cooperate during the preparatory phase. The project has a duration of 3 years.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-ITN | Award Amount: 4.46M | Year: 2013
GLANAM (Glaciated North Atlantic Margins) aims at improving the career prospects and development of young researchers in both the public and private sector within the field of earth science, focusing specifically on North Atlantic Glaciated Margins. Our multi-Partner ITN comprises ten partner institutions, both academic and industrial, from Norway, UK and Denmark and will train eleven Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) and four Experienced Researchers (ERs). The young scientists will perform multi-disciplinary research and receive training through three interconnected workpackages that collectively address knowledge gaps related to the large, glacial age, sedimentary depocentres on the North Atlantic Margin. Filling these gaps will a) result in major new insights regarding glacial age processes on continental margins, b) have particular impact on the exploitation of hydrocarbons in glacial age sediments, notably the gas hydrate energy potential on the European continental margin, c) provide paleoclimate information essential for understanding the role of marine-based ice sheets in the climate system and for the testing of climate models, an issue of increasing socio-economic relevance. GLANAM builds on the diverse expertise and experience of leading senior and junior scientists in the field of marine and glacial geology through the establishment of a training program offering a broad spectrum of career-oriented courses and tailored workshops preparing the researchers for an increasingly demanding, pan-European job market. Intersectoral rotation and secondments hosted by our three industry partners will provide the fellows with complementary scientific training and allow them to establish and deepen contacts relevant to their work life beyond the ITN. Interaction of the GLANAM Fellows with internationally renowned senior visiting scientists will provide significant added-value to their training and will complete the supply of knowledge and advice sources.
News Article | April 11, 2016
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), in collaboration with numerous universities and government laboratories studying the effects of dusty plasmas — charged dust particles that can occur naturally in the mesosphere — generated an artificial plasma cloud in the upper-atmosphere to validate the theory of 'dressed particle scattering' caused by this phenomenon. Named the Charged Aerosol Release Experiment (CARE II), an instrumented rocket was launched Sept. 16, at 19:06 GMT, from Andoya, Norway, utilizing a NASA Black Brant XI sounding rocket. After entering the ionosphere, 37 small rockets were fired simultaneously to inject 68 kilograms (kg) of dust comprised of aluminum oxide particulates, accompanied by 133 kg of molecules such as carbon dioxide, water vapor, and hydrogen. The launch occurred just after sunset placing the dust particles in sunlight for easy viewing by cameras in darkness on the ground and with an airborne platform. The large concentration of dust and exhaust material interacted with the ionosphere to produce a so-called 'dirty plasma' with high-speed pickup ions. Visibly seen from the ground, the released dust produces an optical cloud, and, by attaching the electrons in the ionosphere, forms charged particulates. This plasma then generates waves that scatter radar signals used for remote sensing. "The CARE launch was fully successful," says Dr. Paul A. Bernhardt, CARE principal investigator. "Ground-based radars tracked the effects on the ionosphere for twenty minutes, providing valuable data on how rocket motors affect ionospheric densities. The data will be used to validate simulations of natural disturbances in the upper atmosphere." The NRL Plasma Physics Division's (PPD) Charged Particle Physics Branch and the University of Washington made measurements with plasma probes and electric field booms on a deployable instrument payload. Ionospheric disturbances were monitored with multi-frequency beacon transmissions from the rocket payload that were detected by a network of ground receivers from the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory (SGO), and NRL PPD. Ground radars and optical instruments that recorded the dust release were provided by the European Incoherent Scatter Scientific Association (EISCAT); Institute of Atmospheric Physics (Germany); Institute of Space Physics, (Sweden); and others. The CARE theory effort was based in PPD and the Laboratory for Computational Physics and Fluid Dynamics (LCPFD) at NRL, as well as the Center for Space Science and Engineering Research at Virginia Tech. High frequency receivers were fielded by QinetiQ (UK) and by NRL PPD with stations in Oslo, Tromsö, and the University Center in Svalbard (UNIS). A CARE data review is scheduled for December 2015 in San Francisco. During this review, Bernhardt says, the scientific results from the experiment will be compared with artificial and natural scatter processes to better understand the physics. Also, a follow-on CARE III experiment will be planned. The Department of Defense (DoD) Space Test Program sponsored the launch and payload integration for the NRL CARE II mission. The rocket launch, and payload development was provided by the NASA Sounding Rocket Program. The CARE experiments were designed to test the theory of dusty plasma scatter developed by scientists at the University of Tromsö in Norway and NRL PPD. About the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory provides the advanced scientific capabilities required to bolster our country's position of global naval leadership. The Laboratory, with a total complement of approximately 2,500 personnel, is located in southwest Washington, D.C., with other major sites at the Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Monterey, Calif. NRL has served the Navy and the nation for over 90 years and continues to advance research further than you can imagine. For more information, visit the NRL website or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: ENV.2011.1.1.3-1 | Award Amount: 9.34M | Year: 2011
Permafrost is defined as ground that remains continuously at or below 0C for at least two consecutive years; some 24% of the land surface in the northern Hemisphere is classified as permafrost. In the Northern high latitudes, strong warming has been observed over the recent decades, and climate models project strong future warming. A projected decline in the extent of permafrost will have a major impact on the Earth system, affecting global climate through the mobilization of carbon and nitrogen stored in permafrost. PAGE21 aims to understand and quantify the vulnerability of permafrost environments to a changing global climate, and to investigate the feedback mechanisms associated with increasing greenhouse gas emissions from permafrost zones. This research makes use of a unique set of Arctic permafrost investigations performed at stations that span the full range of Arctic bioclimatic zones. The project brings together the best European permafrost researchers and eminent scientists from Canada, Russia, the USA, and Japan. In a truly original approach we combine field measurements of permafrost processes, pools, and fluxes, with remote sensing data and global climate models at local, regional and, for the first time, pan-Arctic scales. The output from this research will help to advance our understanding of permafrost processes at multiple scales, resulting in improvements in global numerical permafrost modeling and the ensuing future climate projections, as well as in the assessment of stabilisation scenarios. These outputs will feed into global assessments and international monitoring programs, in which most of the consortium members are already actively participating in leading roles. This project will, in particular, provide projections on a pan-Arctic scale of greenhouse gas releases from the projected thawing of permafrost terrain during the 21st century, with direct implications for global policy discussions on emission reduction targets.