Polar News

USGC Supports Study of Arctic Ocean Biochemical Cycles

A crew of 150, including 50 scientists, is embarking on an expedition to collect data on biogeochemical cycles in the Arctic Ocean. The study is part of the GEOTRACES project, an international study of the marine biogeochemical cycles.

The international team will partnership to create a baseline for the cycles of chemical elements and compounds in the ecosystem. The National Science Foundation is the Coast Guard's primary partner, providing grants to organizations and scientists, while the Coast Guard gives scientists access to the Arctic and Antarctic with icebreakers. Three countries — the United States, Canada and Germany — have agreed on what sections of the Arctic scientists will study and made arrangements to test one another's results.

"The amount of international collaboration is very impressive," said Dr. David Kadko with Florida International University. “It's probably unprecedented.”

Kadko is an oceanographer specializing in geochemistry who will be aboard the US Coast Guard Cutter Healy. Data that Kadko and other scientists collect during the four-month expedition will be used to compare future collections or changes in the Arctic Ocean's ecosystem.

GEOTRACES has already conducted 52 cruises that cover the global ocean to map the distribution of trace elements and isotopes and to access the processes that control this distribution. GEOTRACES cruises must be approved by the International GEOTRACES Scientific Steering Committee. Data products from the cruises consists of digital data and the eGEOTRACES Electronic Atlas available at www.egeotraces.org.

For more information, visit www.geotraces.org

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