Arctic Field Projects

Project Title: Quantifying Rates of Biological Production to Better Understand the Carbon Cycle in the Canada Basin (Award# 1547011)

PI: Stanley, Rachel (
Phone: (508) 289.2927 
Institute/Department: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry 
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ANS
Program Manager: Dr. Cynthia Suchman (
Discipline(s): | Oceanography\Biological Productivity | Oceanography\Carbon Cycle |

Project Web Site(s):

Science Summary:
In order to predict the future carbon cycle in a rapidly changing Arctic Ocean, a better understanding of the present-day carbon cycle is needed, and this research will study this with some relatively novel methods. The gas tracers oxygen, argon and triple oxygen isotopes can be used to quantify rates of net community production and gross primary production, respectively. Net community production is defined as photosynthesis minus community respiration and thus reflects the net amount of CO2 taken up by the ‘biological pump.’ Gross primary production is defined as the total photosynthetic flux. The ratio of net community to gross primary production yields information on how tightly an ecosystem is recycling its carbon. By concurrently measuring rates of net community and gross primary production, this work will study the environmental effects on photosynthesis and respiration, and this should allow a better mechanistic understanding of the processes controlling biological production. This research will use the ratio of O2 to Argon and triple oxygen isotopes to quantify rates of biological production on summertime cruises for three years in the Beaufort Gyre section of the Canada Basin. The main objective of this work is to gain a better understanding of the interplay among biological production, sea ice, and temperature in the Canada Basin. The team will use data collected in 2011 and 2012, collect samples in 2013 and interpret all the data in order to address two hypotheses. The first is that gross primary production increases when summer sea ice extent is smaller but that net community production does not change. In this case there will be no net change in the carbon cycle although production will seem elevated if one uses traditional metrics of chlorophyll or biomass. The second hypothesis is that rates of gross primary production and carbon recycling are higher in regions of actively melting ice that is in ‘ice edge blooms.’ These ice edge blooms should have similar rates of net community production to the open water and be responsible for no additional net carbon uptake. Broader Impacts - Professional media designers will produce a short video about changing biological productivity in the Arctic Ocean. This will be shown at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Exhibit Center and on local ferries to Martha’s Vineyard. Additionally, this project will promote education by including opportunities for a graduate student.

Logistics Summary:
The major goal of the project is to better understand the carbon cycle in the Beaufort Gyre region of the Canada Basin. In particular, the goal is to quantify rates of biological production (gross primary production and net community production) in the Beaufort Gyre and to interpret these data with respect to sea ice conditions. In the fall of 2015 and 2016 water samples will be collected on the Beaufort Gyre Observing System (BGOS)/Joint Ocean Ice System (JOIS) cruise. The chief scientist on the cruise will collect samples for the PI and send them to the PI's home institution to be analyzed. The project now has 6 years of rates of summer or fall net community and gross primary production in the Beaufort Gyre. NOTE *In 2015 Stanley changed institutions from WHOI to Wellesley College at which time this grant was transferred to 1547011. The 2013-2014 field work is carried under grant 1304406 and the work will be concluded in 2017 under 1547011.]

All logistics would be organized by the researcher and paid through the grant.
SeasonField SiteDate InDate Out#People
2015Arctic Ocean and Seas - Beaufort Sea0
2016Arctic Ocean and Seas - Beaufort Sea0

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Parameters used to generate this report:, Grant# = "1547011", IPY = "ALL" 
     Number of projects returned based on your query parameters = 1