WorkPackage 2: The Biological Carbon Pump

- Objectives - Deliverables - Publications -

Leaders: Richard Sanders (NOCS, UK); Christina De la Rocha (UBO-CNRS)
Contributors: DTU-Aqua, CNRS, Uni Research, IMS-METU


The workpackage will advance the state of the art by producing new observations of particle formation, aggregation, sinking and decomposition in a range of marine ecosystems, focussed on the North Atlantic basin. Within the North Atlantic there are significant uncertainties regarding how deep particle flux is mediated with a significant role proposed for biomineralising protists in the large autumn and spring fluxes of material which reaches the deep ocean (Lampitt et al., 2008, Martin et al., in press).

The possibility that changes in predation pressure may have seriously impacted deep flux is therefore open. A particular feature of the work proposed will be to evaluate the role of such biomineralising predatory organisms on deep carbon flux. We will make new observations to resolve how environmental conditions including plankton community structure (composition and size) and grazing drive aggregate formation, stability and sinking rate. These will be combined with literature data to generate new particle flux algorithms, which will be tested in 1D models of plankton ecology, and particle flux and then incorporated into 3D models of the biological ocean carbon cycle in WP6 Basin-scale Integrated Modelling.

Large scale estimates of biological carbon sequestration will be made using field data from spatial surveys and these estimates compared to state of the art numerical model based estimates to assess our current skill in simulating oceanic biological carbon sequestration. Collaboration with WP8 Advancing Ocean Management will assess the current value of the BCP, how this may change in the future and how management decisions regarding the management of the marine ecosystem may affect this future valuation.

Specific objectives are as follows:

  • Perform laboratory experiments to establish the relationship between plankton community composition and size structure and aggregate formation, sinking rate and stability under idealised conditions.

  • Perform a mesocosm experiment to determine the influence of plankton community composition, size structure and grazing pressure on aggregate formation, sinking rate and stability under environmentally realistic conditions.

  • Perform observations at sea on the link between plankton community composition and size structure, grazing and aggregate formation, sinking and decomposition and organic carbon export.

  • Develop and apply new algorithms for particle export and decomposition based on experimental work above and on literature information available from WP1 Data Management.

  • To implement these new algorithms in 1Dmodels and assess their skill in representing particle flux via a comparison of model output with a defined validation dataset assembled in WP1 Data Management. The most environmentally realistic algorithms will be passed to WP6 Basin-scale Integrated Modelling for preliminary implementation in large scale models.

  • Perform surveys at the broad scale of the biological sequestration of carbon dioxide in the Nordic seas and high latitude North Atlantic and, in collaboration with WP6 Basin-scale Integrated Modelling, to use these data to evaluate how well existing versions of models implemented in WP6 represent the Biological Carbon Pump.

  • Synthesise these previous activities in order to estimate, in conjunction with WP8 Advancing Ocean Management, the economic value of the contemporary biological carbon pump and how this value may change as ocean functioning changes in response to an evolving climate and a changed exploitation of top predator species.

WP2 Deliverables:

D2.1) Report on WP2 meeting at Kick off meeting on algorithms (Task 2.4) and data needs (WP1): [Month 6 - June 2011; Resp.: Richard Sanders & Adrian Martin, NOC]

D2.2) Report describing preliminary algorithms and initial results of mesocosm experiment:
[delivered Oct 2012; Responsible: Christina de la Rocha & Adrian Martin]
Restricted Access, contact authors

D2.3) Mesocosm experiments data delivery to WP1:
[Month 30 - June 2013; Responsible: Christina de la Rocha] DOWNLOAD DATA

D2.4) Report detailing cruise results and how results affect the initial algorithms:
[Month 24 - Dec 2012 postponed to June 2013 delayed to Dec 2013 to include 2013 Cruise Campaigns ; Resp.: Adrian Martin; Richard Bellerby & Alex Poulton]

D2.5) Cruise campaign 2012 data delivery to WP1:
[Month 30 - June 2013 delyaed to Dec 2013 to include 2013 Cruise Campaigns;
Responsible:Webjoern Melle, Linda Holste & all cruise participants] DOWNLOAD DATA

D2.6) Report on revised algorithms based on cruise and mesocosm data:
[Month 35 - Nov 2013; Responsible: Adrian Martin]

D2.7) COMPARION Revised algorithms and potential future implementation described:
[Month 42 - June 2014; Responsible: Adrian Martin]

D2.8) Cruise campaign 2013 data delivery to WP1:
[Month 42 - June 2014; Responsible: Richard Lampitt, Webjoern Melle, Linda Holste & all cruise participants]

D2.9) Final report incorporating scientific papers: detailing progress in field of particle aggregation and consumption, made in grant [Month 47 - Nov 2014; Responsible: Adrian Martin, Richard Sanders, Christina De la Rocha & all cruise participants]


Open Access PublicationsEURO-BASIN will publish 100% of its research via Open Access in support of Horizon 2020 policy on Open Science. The orange icon below provides open access to the postprint (after all peer-review corrections) and the DOI leads to the publisher's version (restricted access). Full list of EURO-BASIN Open Access Publications in OpenAIRE

Open Access PublicationsFrigstad, H., T. Andersen, R. G. J. Bellerby, A. Silyakova, and D. O. Hessen (2014), Variation in the seston C:N ratio of the Arctic Ocean and pan-Arctic shelves, Journal of Marine Systems, 129(0), 214-223.

Open Access PublicationsGiering, S. L. C., Richard Sanders, Richard S. Lampitt, Thomas R. Anderson, Christian Tamburini, Mehdi Boutrif, Mikhail V. Zubkov, Chris M. Marsay, Stephanie A. Henson,Kevin Saw, Kathryn Cook & Daniel J. Mayor (2014) Reconciliation of the carbon budget in the ocean’s twilight zone. Nature, 507, 480–483, doi:10.1038/nature13123

Le Moigne, F. A. C., Henson, S. A., Sanders, R. J., and Madsen, E. (2013b) Global database of surface ocean particulate organic carbon export fluxes diagnosed from the 234Th technique, Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 5, 295-304, doi:10.5194/essd-5-295-2013

Sanders, R., Stephanie A. Henson, Marja Koski, Christina L. De La Rocha, Stuart C. Painter, Alex J. Poulton, Jennifer Riley, Baris Salihoglu, Andre Visser, Andrew Yool, Richard Bellerby, Adrian P. Martin. 2014. The Biological Carbon Pump in the North Atlantic Progress in Oceanography, In Press,

K Schmidt, CL De La Rocha, M Gallinari, G Cortese (2014) Not all calcite ballast is created equal: differing effects of foraminiferan and coccolith calcite on the formation and sinking of aggregates. Biogeosciences 11 (1), 135-145

Koski Marja, Swalethorp Rasmus, Kjellerup Sanne, Nielsen Torkel Gissel (2014). The mystery of Microsetella: combination of sac- and broadcast-spawning in an Arctic fjord. Journal Of Plankton Research, 36(1), 259-264.

Open Access PublicationsTorres-Valdes, S et al. (2013): Compilation of downward flux observations from sediment trap deployments in the Atlantic Ocean - Contribution to EURO-BASIN's Data integration. doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.807946, Supplement to:

Open Access PublicationsTorres-Valdes, Sinhue; Painter, Stuart; Martin, Adrian; Sanders, Richard J; Felden, Janine (2013): Fluxes of sedimenting material from sediment traps in the Atlantic Ocean. Earth System Science Data Discussion, 6, 541-595

Open Access PublicationsLe Moigne, F. A. C., Gallinari, M., Laurenceau, E., and De La Rocha, C. L.: Enhanced rates of particulate organic matter remineralization by microzooplankton are diminished by added ballast minerals, Biogeosciences, 10, 5755-5765, doi:10.5194/bg-10-5755-2013

Open Access PublicationsSilyakova, A. et al. 2013. Pelagic community production and carbon-nutrient stoichiometry
under variable ocean acidification in an Arctic fjord, Biogeosciences, 10, 4847–4859

Open Access PublicationsFrigstad, H., T. Andersen, D. O. Hessen, E. Jeansson, M. Skogen, L.Naustvoll, M. Miles, T. Johannessen, R. Bellerby 2013. Long-term trends in carbon, nutrients and stoichiometry in Norwegian coastal waters: Evidence of a regime shift, Progress in Oceanography, Vol 111, p. 113–124

Open Access PublicationsL. Resplandy, A.P. Martin, F. Le Moigne, P. Martin, A. Aquilina, L. Mémery, M. Lévy, R. Sanders, 2012. How does dynamical spatial variability impact 234Th-derived estimates of organic export? Deep Sea Research Part I: Vol 68, October 2012, Pages 24–45

Open Access PublicationsJeansson, E., A. Olsen, T. Eldevik, I. Skjelvan, A. M. Omar, S. K. Lauvset, J. E. Ø. Nilsen, R. G. J. Bellerby, T. Johannessen, and E. Falck (2011), The Nordic Seas carbon budget: Sources, sinks, and uncertainties, Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 25, GB4010, doi:10.1029/2010GB003961.

Open Access PublicationsFrigstad, H., Andersen, T., Hessen, D. O., Naustvoll, L.-J., Johnsen, T. M., and Bellerby, R. G. J. 2011. Seasonal variation in marine C:N:P stoichiometry: can the composition of seston explain stable Redfield ratios?, Biogeosciences, 8, 2917-2933, doi:10.5194/bg-8-2917-2011

WP2 Biological C Pump
is represented on the Scientific Steering Committee by:

Stephane Pesant Adrian Martin
National Oceanography Center,

+44 23 80 59 63 42

(taking over from
Richard Sanders)


The Workpackage is also co-lead by:

Christina De la Rocha
Université de Bretagne Occidentale (CNRS, SC10)

Research WorkPackages (WP) & Focus:

WP Focus Leader
WP1 Data Integration Un. Bremen
WP2 Carbon Pump NOC;CNRS-UBO
WP3 Key Species IMR;Un. Nordland
WP4 Trophic Flow HAFRO;Un.Swansea
WP5 Living Resources IFREMER; DTU
WP6 Basin-scale Modelling PML;CNRS-UBO
WP7 Bioeconomic Modelling PML;UEA;IRD
WP8 Ocean Management DTU;Un. Hamburg

EURO-BASIN Deliverable Deadlines

Add "EURO-BASIN Deliverables Deadlines" to your calendar software:

iCal Thunderbird Calendar MS Outlook