EUROFLEETS Funded Projects Abstracts

Here you can find the abstracts of all the EUROFLEETS2 call “Regional 2” funded projects.


DISCIPLINES: Physical Oceanography

RV: 1. Salme (TUT, EE)

PI: Dr. David Meyer, Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research (IOW), DE

Yet, little is known about the Major Baltic Inflows (MBIs) entering the Eastern Gotland Basin (EGB) and how they propagate towards the Northern Gotland Basin (NGB) and beyond, especially towards the Gulf of Finland (GoF). This is due to several reasons. First, big inflow events are relatively scarce. Since the 1980s inflow activity has decreased dramatically and simultaneously hypoxia in the deep waters have widely spread. Second, the temporal and spatial resolution of the measurements made from the last MBIs were not really sufficient. However, a detailed study of the current MBI is particularly important for the understanding of the coupling of these basins. The recent MBI from December 2014, which is the third biggest inflow since 60 years (estimated volume 318 km³), gives us the unique opportunity to take a detailed snapshot of the physical and biogeochemical consequences. High-quality CTD-measurements taken along the way from the Gotland Basin (GB) through the Northern and Western Gotland Basin and further to the GoF during the proposed cruise will form the basis of this study. We are going to assess how the remaining saline and oxygen rich water masses of the MBI are distributed in the central and in the northern Baltic, how the properties of the hydrological regime have changed, whether a new stagnation period and the return of hypoxic conditions already started, and in which way the oxygen distribution in the Deepwater is affected. Furthermore a second cruise with leading Estonian, German and Polish scientists at the same time will also reveal measurements (e.g. towed CTD) in this area and therefore will complement the data set which will be obtained by the Salme expedition. In summary, both cruises will provide high-resolution data of the undersampled transition zone between the EGB and the GoF. Ultimately, this work will shed new light in the development of MBIs in their final stage and will investigate their impact on the GoF region.


DISCIPLINES: Physical Oceanography, Biological Oceanography

RV: 1. Akademik (IO-BAS, BG)

PI: Dr. Elif Eker Develi, Mersin University, Turkey

Black Sea receives drainage from almost one-third of the continental Europe, which includes significant portions of 17 countries, 13 capital cities and some 160 million people. Environmental degradation in the Black Sea is considerably severe. Monitoring of trophic and geochemical parameters of marine waters can rely on satellite ocean colour data. In fact, such a technology allows synoptic scale determination of water quality indicators through its absorption properties. The main limitation in the operational use of satellite ocean colour data in the marginal seas such as the Black Sea, which lacks regional bio-optical algorithms linking the satellite signal to the specific water quality parameters. This urged the creation of comprehensive data sets of statistically representative in situ measurements suitable for the development of specific regional bio-optical algorithms. This effort was started in recent years within the context of dedicated integrated initiatives supported by the Joint Research Centre (JRC), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), European Space Agency (ESA), Romanian Space Agency (ROSA), EUROFLEETS aiming at the bio-optical exploration of the Western Black Sea. These previous measurement activities led to development of Black Sea bio-optical algorithms for chlorophyll-a concentration (Chla), total suspended matter concentration (TSM) and absorption coefficient of colored dissolved organic matter (ays). Still their consolidation requires additional field activities to support algorithms refinement and verification. Additionally, the need for better supportting climate investigation with confident determinations of coocolithophore concentrations, suggests the collection of in situ data during blooms to further advancing regional bio-optical algorithms


DISCIPLINES: Physical Oceanography, Sedimentology, Biological Oceanography, Biogeochemistry, New technologies, Training

RV: 1. Mare Nigrum (GeoEcoMar, RO) 2. Aegaeo (HCMR, GR)

PI: Prof. Dr. Andrew Tyler, University of Stirling , UK

The aim of this study is to reconstruct the changing impact of the Danube on the Black Sea and Coastal Region and the recovery of the north-western Black Sea shelf. The data will be fundamental in building a conceptual model regarding the sediment transfer in the Danube – Black Sea system and its environmental and ecological implications. We combine a multidisciplinary approach encompassing next generation satellite capability from ESA’s Copernicus Programme with state of the art in-situ and laboratory analysis on water and sediment samples. We will reconstruct sediment and contaminant flux from the Danube into the Black Sea from a series of sediment cores, dated with high resolution 210Pb dating. Archived (SeaWIFS, MERIS) and real time Earth observation (Sentinel 2 and 3; Landsat 8) data and high temporal resolution SEVIRI data will be used to reconstruct and observe the sediment pulses and eutrophic events in the Romanian coastal region. This data will also be used to drive models of Primary Productivity in the coastal zone. We will reconstruct and monitor hypoxia events on the Romanian Shelf Sea environment and relate these episodes and the system recovery to natural and anthropogenic drivers. We will monitor the seasonal cycle, based on long term moorings and system recovery based on longer term historical measurements. These measurements will also be used to assess the changing impact of the Danube and that of hypoxia on the sediment in terms of benthic oxygen uptake and nutrient recycling. From surface water and bottom sediment samples we will also assess the processes of nitrogen cycling in the Danube transition zone using 18ONO3 to 15NNO3 fractionation ratios and identify the species responsible for nitrate uptake. From sediments cores we will also reconstructing eutrophication history from sedimentary 15N records and relate these measures with 210Pb dated chronologies and satellite reconstructions of eutrophic events.


DISCIPLINES: Physical Oceanography, Biological Oceanography, Biogeochemistry

RV: 1. Bios-DVA (IOF, HR)

PI: Ms. Vedrana Kovacevic, Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale – OGS, IT

The southern Adriatic Sea is one of the Mediterranean (Med) basins, included in the Med-SHIP initiative for the repeated, coordinated, and high-quality-standard cruises. It is a site where the hydrography and biogeochemistry of the water column, depends on and influences the circulation and properties of the surrounding basins of the Eastern Mediterranean. Moreover, the hydrography and biogeochemistry are consequences both of the dense water formation, and a long-term variability, Therefore, we propose a multidisciplinary oceanographic campaign to be carried out in order to characterize the present state of the hydrographic and biogeochemical properties, including CFC-12 and SF6 and a carbonate system. We want to characterize the pre-conditioning and post-convection state and determine the evolution of the water masses in the southern Adriatic. We propose to carry out the multidisciplinary research divided in two cruises, ESAW-1 during the pre-conditioning, and ESAW-2 during the post-convection phases of the dense water formation. Some of the main objects to be achieved through this campaign are aimed at collecting multidisciplinary data sets for the process-oriented studies during pre- and post-convection conditions in the SAP, and at studying consequences on the biogeochemical and biological system. The data collected would provide characterization of the typical water masses during 2015-2016 winter conditions in the southern Adriatic Sea, to be compared with the past available data. During the pre-conditioning phase, we will study mainly conditions under the prevailing influence of the advection of different water masses within the basin and between the Adriatic and Ionian seas. At the end of the winter season, we expect to capture the phenomena associated with the vertical convection.


DISCIPLINES: Geology, Geophysics, Sedimentology

RV: 1. Aegaeo (HCMR, GR)

PI: Prof. Dr. Francesco L. Chiocci, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, IT

Landslide-generated tsunamis are a poorly considered marine geohazard but rather frequent (decades) in geologically active regions and potentially destructive for highly-populated or infrastructured coasts, such as the Mediterranean ones. Historically witnessed landslide tsunamis are rare. Two of them are Amorgos 1956 (earthquake-induced, deep water, not located) and Gioia Tauro 1977 (anthropogenic-induced, well located, shallow water) for which two co-coordinated but independent proposals LGT AMORGOS-56 and LGT GIOIA-77) are submitted. LGT AMORGOS-56 project aims at investigating and resolving the source parameters and triggering mechanism of the largest Mediterranean tsunami in the 20th century, which occurred after the earthquake of July 9th, 1956 in the Aegean Sea. The tsunami that followed was felt on the shores of the South Aegean Sea islands, Crete and the Turkish coast, with maximum run-up values between 10 m and 30 m, reported on the southern coast of Amorgos and nearby islands. These are the highest values observed in the 20th century in the Mediterranean Sea. All previous studies conducted since 1956 agree that these high values can not be explained by the fault-rupture. The tsunami was generated by one or more earthquake-triggered submarine landslides. These landslides, however, remain unidentified. The ultimate goal of this project is to identify and study the landslide(s), which triggered the 1956 Amorgos tsunami, by means of multi beam bathymetry, seismic and subbottom profiling, side scan sonar mapping and coring on board RV Aegaeo. The project builds on the experience and expertise of the five national research teams which will work together during the cruise and for the post-cruise processing and data interpretation. The detailed analysis of such a landslide will tremendously increase our knowledge on the submarine landslide hazard and landslide-triggered tsunamis in the geologically active Aegean and Mediterranean Seas.


DISCIPLINES: Physical Oceanography, Biology, Biological Oceanography, Biogeochemistry, Training

RV: 1. Aegaeo (HCMR, GR)

PI: Dr. Giuseppe Civitarese, Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale – OGS , IT

Research area: Eastern Mediterranean Sea (Cretan Sea and Levantine Basin)

The main objective of the CRELEV-2016 cruise is to examine a comprehensive set of variables in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea in order to quantify variability and trends of physical and biogeochemical properties. These data will be used to better understand the role of natural and anthropogenic pressures. This cruise is a component of the plan for an observing system in the Mediterranean Sea as outlined by MED-SHIP. The specific objectives of the proposed program are: • to observe the present post-convective state of the Cretan Sea, in the light of the basin-scale preconditioning factor (decadal reversal of upper Ionian circulation); • to observe the present state of the hydrographic properties of the Cretan Sea, the Cretan Strait and the Levantine Basin; • to quantify changes of hydrographic and biogeochemical properties along the cruise-track in the Cretan Sea, the Levantine Basin and the Cretan Straits; • quantify the uptake of anthropogenic carbon in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea; • quantify changes in water formation rates and circulation in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea; • to estimate water, salt, heat, and biogeochemical budgets for the Levantine basin (plan A); • to collect high quality biogeochemical data (dissolved oxygen, nutrients, particulate and dissolved C, N, and P components) in order to infer long term changes in the pools and in the biogeochemical dynamics. These goals will be achieved by: • conducting transects along the eastern Cretan Strait (plan A) or both the eastern and western Cretan Straits (plan B) in order to observe the current status of exchanges between the Aegean Sea and the EMed; • surveying along transects in the Levantine basin in order to trace possible exports of dense water masses of Aegean origin in the EMed • conducting measurements at selected points in the deep parts of the Cretan Passage and Hellenic Trench (plan B) to investigate the present status of the deep thermohaline cell in the EMed.


DISCIPLINES: Geology, Geophysics, Geochemistry, Biology, Biological Oceanography

RV: 1. Urania (CNR, IT) 2. Aegaeo (HCMR, GR)

PI: Dr. Sara Benetti, Ulster university, UK

This project focuses on the island of Pantelleria in the central Mediterranean Sea. On the basis of recently acquired multibeam bathymetry, we propose new targeted investigations on the submarine flanks of the volcanic edifice and in the deep water area around it, to ground-truth the available bathy-morphological data on specific volcanic features and to improve our understanding of the largest high-energy eruptive events. There are 4 specific objectives: (1) To characterize the submerged portions of the volcanic edifice (using seismic data and dredging informed by morphology from high-resolution multibeam bathymetry data); (2) To investigate the deep water record of high-energy eruptive events (using cores and seismic data) and the evolution of the volcaniclastic flows into the ocean; (3)To link the above to the eruptive history of Pantelleria (using geochemistry and core chronostratigraphy); (4) To investigate the distribution of the associated mass flow deposits (e.g. turbidites) and relate them to respective eruptive events. This will enable to calculate the volume of mass flows in order to begin a tsunami risk assessment. The collected datasets will allow the research group to develop additional and complementary objectives and in particular: (5) To investigate deep water sedimentary processes in the area and, in particular, the interaction between volcanically-derived sediments and bottom current reworking in distal areas; (6) To assess the mechanical properties of ash layers in relation to their possible behaviour as weak layers in downslope mass transport; (7) To further investigate the oceanographic history of the NW basin and its role as oceanographic gateway between the eastern and western Mediterranean; (8) To better assess coral and other biogenic buildups distribution within the area.


DISCIPLINES: Physical Oceanography, Geology, Geophysics, Sedimentology, Fisheries research, Biology

RV: 1. Ramon Margalef (IEO, ES) 2. Urania (CNR, IT)

PI: Dr.Claudio Lo Iacono, National Oceanography Centre, UK

Research area: NW Sicily (Italy)

ISLAND aims to produce an integrated approach in the study of the submarine canyons of NW Sicily (Italy). Submarine canyons play a key role in source to sink sedimentary processes, oceanographic circulation, organic carbon redistribution and ocean ecosystem functioning. The selected area has the advantage of hosting several closely located canyons displaying a variety of morphologies and controlled by different processes, although developing in a margin with the same broad-scale geologic and oceanographic factors. For this reason, the NW Sicilian canyons offer a perfect natural laboratory to examine wider questions about canyon evolutionary models and their role in driving biodiversity: different canyons within the same area can be employed to represent contrasting case studies. The relevance of ISLAND is also evident in the production of a comprehensive human-impact assessment in the deep-sea, especially industrial fishing activities. The impact of trawling has an enormous and maybe underestimated implication in altering sediment transport pathways, with severe ecological and biogeochemical consequences. Vessel Monitoring System data recently revealed a potentially strong impact of trawling fisheries on the morphology of the NW Sicilian canyons. The proposed area has already been mapped using geophysical methodologies. ISLAND would now offer a feasible workplan to collect, for the first time, groundtruthing data in specific sites, and test the proposed hypothesis. The ISLAND team posses all necessary expertise in several fields of marine sciences and actually produces top-level studies on submarine canyons under different perspectives. Only through more integrated research efforts our current understanding can improve towards the canyon systems intended as a whole. In line with this requirement, ISLAND will foster cooperation between research groups from Northern and Southern Europe, thus promoting a trans-European transfer of knowledge of top scientific expertise.


DISCIPLINES: Physical Oceanography, Biogeochemistry

RV: 1. Ramon Margalef (IEO, ES)

PI: Dr. Loic Jullion, Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography, France

TAlPro-2016 represents the Western Mediterranean basin component of the MedSHIP initiative (composed of three proposals submitted to the EUROFLEET call, CRELEV-2016 in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea led by Giuseppe Civitarese and Dimitris Velaoras and ESAW led by Miroslav Gacic and Giuseppe Civitarese). MedSHIP is the programme designed by the Mediterranean marine science community in order to quantify the changes observed in Mediterranean circulation and biogeochemistry. The cruise will occupy two meridional sections, one across the relatively flat and deep Algero-Provencal basin, and one across the deep and rugged Tyrrhenian Sea. The Algero-Provencal basin is the main site of Western Mediterranean Deep Water (WMDW) formation driven by intense air-sea heat loss in the northern part of the basin. The Tyrrhenian Sea acts as a blender of various water masses originating from the Western and Eastern Basins and therefore plays an important role in the preconditioning of the water column leading to the formation of WMDW. TAlPro-2016 will contribute to our understanding of the changes observed in the thermohaline properties of the Mediterranean water masses; how these changes affect the ventilation of the deep ocean and to the quantification of dissolved inorganic carbon (including the anthropogenic part) storage in the Western Mediterranean Sea.

LGT Gioia-77


RV: 1. Urania (CNR, IT) 2. Ramon Margalef (IEO, ES)

PI: Dr. Dimitris SAKELLARIOU, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, GREECE

Landslide-generated tsunamis are a poorly considered marine geohazard but rather frequent (up to decades) in geologically active regions and potentially destructive for highly-populated or -infrastructured coasts, such as the Mediterranean ones. Historically witnessed landslide tsunamis are rare and we selected two of these cases: Amorgos 1956 (earthquake-induced, deep water, poorly located) and Gioia Tauro 1977 (anthropogenic-induced, well located, shallow water) for which two co-coordinated but separated and independent proposals LGT AMORGOS-56 and LGT GIOIA-77 are submitted. LGT GIOIA-1977 projects aims at characterizing the rather complex geomorphological and stratigraphic pattern offshore Goia Tauro harbor, resulting from the instability events that in 1977 caused a tsunamogenic landslide that destroyed part of the piers and was likely caused by the canyon head loading with dredged material from harbor construction. Despite a large dataset was recently collected in the area (multibeam and seismic data in the framework of the “MaGIC” project funded by Civil Protection and technical documentation provided by Port Authority), the spatial and temporal reconstruction of the 1977 event is still unclear. The collection of targeted seafloor sampling and ROV dives as well as new seismic and side scan sonar data with allows to better constraints the 1977 failure event(s) and unravel the relationship between canyon head slide and stability of the littoral wedge that underwent liquefaction caused by the 1977 (or earlier event) tsunami waves. In order to achieve these results, a five-nation, seven-institutions research groups will participate to the cruise with a well-established experience on this field and on collaboration. This will ensure the post-cruise processing and interpretation of data, the full scientific exploitation of the cruise results and the dissemination among the different national communities. Four PhD students will participate the cruise.


DISCIPLINES: Physical Oceanography, Geology, Geochemistry, Sedimentology, Biology, Biogeochemistry, Training

RV: 1. Aegaeo (HCMR, GR) 2. Urania (CNR, IT)

PI: Dr. Andres Rüggeberg, University of Fribourg, Switzerland

This multi-disciplinary proposal addresses the environmental controls, impacts and inter-relations of seafloor methane seeps, authigenic carbonates and deep-sea corals. The recent discovery of proximate seafloor methane seeps and deep-sea corals, both associated with carbonate buildups, in the southeastern Mediterranean Sea provides an exceptional opportunity to investigate their underlying environmental mechanisms. The observations combine active seeps with no coral growth and now inactive sites with evidence of past seepage inhabiting a thriving community of corals and associated fauna. We intend to carry out (for the first time) methodical comparative sampling and investigation of these features in select sites on the two sides of the Levant Basin: the Israeli continental slope and Eratosthenes Seamount. The proposed cruise with RV AEGAEO is aimed as an important component of our multi-disciplinary investigation of the recently discovered but until now poorly investigated or sampled seafloor gas seeps, associated carbonate structures and deep-sea corals on Eratosthenes Seamount and at the Palmahim Disturbance at the Mediterranean continental slope of Israel. It will provide new indications for additional presence of these phenomena. The cruise is intended to carry out detailed controlled sampling of geologic, biologic and sediments samples through the operation of the working class ROV LIROPUS. The proposed sampling aims to define the environmental differences between the two surveyed areas, and constrain the controls and impacts of both systems now and in the recent past. We aim to study (i) the setting and environmental impact of gas seepages, and particularly their relation to the possible current and past presence of methane hydrates, (ii) the particular environmental conditions allowing the growth of deep-sea corals, and (iii) the relations between the two phenomena in the context of recent global and local environmental changes.

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