Short Name:
MATE.NL

Sources, Pathways and Sinks of Organic Matter in Antarctic Terrestrial Ecosystems (MATE)

Terrestrial, limnetic and coastal ecosystems in Antarctica are connected by transport (predominantly by melt water) of organic matter and minerals. Temperature increase (either directly or indirectly via changes in melt water fluxes and precipitation patterns) influences the fluxes of organic matter and minerals within and between these ecosystems. In order to study the fluxes of organic matter and minerals in the system, it is necessary to know the source, the pathways and the sink of it. In this proposal a pilot experiment is described to identify sources of organic matter and minerals. Stable isotope ratios of C, N, S, and O in organic compounds and the chemical structure of organic molecules in organic matter of known origin, will be identified for future reference in flux studies on the ecosystem level. As the input of minerals from marine origin is regarded to be an important mineral source for the terrestrial ecosystem, a second pilot experiment on the composition of sea spray, blown inland by wind will be performed. A pilot study is proposed with the objectives: -To study the isotope ratio's of C, N, S, and O in organic matter of known origin by sampling various components of the terrestrial ecosystem and to establish a database on the chemical structure of organic compounds of constituents of the terrestrial, limnetic and coastal marine ecosystems, which may be used as biomarkers for the origin, diagenesis and transport pathways of organic matter future studies. -To perform a pilot experiment on the importance of sea spray for the mineral requirement of terrestrial vegetation.

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