Arctic Field Projects



Project Title: Nitrous oxide cycling in the Western Arctic Ocean from stable isotopic and concentration data (Award# 1603596)

PI: Bourbonnais, Annie (abourbonnais@umassd.edu)
Phone: (508) 999.8953 
Institute/Department: U of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, School for Marine Science and Technology 
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ANS
Program Manager: Dr. Cynthia Suchman (csuchman@nsf.gov)
Discipline(s): | Oceanography\Biogeochemistry |

Project Web Site(s):
Data: http://www.bco-dmo.org/
Data: http://www.geotraces.org/science/science-highlight...
NSF_Award_Info: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=16...
Project: http://www.umassd.edu/smast/research/
Data: https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/

Science Summary:
Nitrous oxide is a potent greenhouse gas in the troposphere and an ozone-depleting substance in the stratosphere, yet its sources and sinks in the ocean are neither well-quantified nor well understood. Nitrous oxide is both produced and consumed by microbial processes; it is produced by different processes dependent upon the amount of oxygen present locally. The Arctic Ocean may represent an important source of nitrous oxide to the atmosphere. High nitrous oxide saturations were recently observed in productive shallow Arctic shelf waters. This research will test the hypotheses that productive shelf regions of the Western Arctic Ocean (e.g., Chukchi and Beaufort seas) stimulates nitrous oxide production and contributes to offshore transport of nitrous oxide toward the central Arctic. Besides developing an important baseline data set for the Arctic science community, this project will contribute to STEM workforce development in numerous manners. It will support an early-career female scientist during the formative years of her career. It will provide summer educational research opportunities to undergraduate students. It will develop seminars for elementary school teachers and provide short classroom presentations at a local public school and contribute to an afterschool non-profit effort devoted to providing high quality educational programs to at risk youth. The primary goal of this research is to evaluate nitrous oxide cycling in the Western Arctic Ocean from its concentrations, stable isotopes and isotopomers. The project will use isotopic and isotopomer measurements from both shelf and offshore waters to constrain estimates of nitrous oxide cycling in the Arctic. The data will be used to evaluate 1) the pathways of nitrous oxide production from either nitrification following organic matter decomposition in the water column or coupled nitrification-denitrification in the sediments and 2) how these processes influence nitrous oxide exchanges between the surface layer and the atmosphere. Comparisons of observations at coastal and shelf stations in the Bering and Chukchi seas with those offshore in the Deep Canadian Basin will allow the evaluation of the effects of mixing and long-range transport on geochemical signals. The measurements will also serve as a baseline for future assessment of change. The project profits from leveraging of other investments by NSF and the principal investigators’ international collaborators, benefitting from measurements and samples collected during the U.S. GEOTRACES Arctic section and the 2016 CHINARE Arctic cruises.

Logistics Summary:
This project will study net fluxes of nitrous oxide (a potent greenhouse gas) from the Arctic Ocean into the atmosphere. The primary goal of this research is to evaluate nitrous oxide cycling in the Western Arctic Ocean from its concentrations, stable isotopes and isotopomers, which has important implications for predicting the impact on climate change. Two researchers will test and analyze already collected samples and data shared with this project from the 2015 GEOTRACES cruise (NSF grant 1435002), as well as forthcoming sample data promised by Chinese supporter aboard a scheduled 2016 CHINARE cruise in the Arctic. Both cruises are taking and sharing samples in a collaborative effort with this project. This project will also provide summer educational research opportunities to undergraduate students. It will develop seminars for elementary school teachers and provide short classroom presentations. There is no direct fieldwork associated with this project. In 2018, PI Bourbonnais transferred from Dartmouth to the University of South Carolina and was awarded grant 1927755.




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