Location: Cancún or de Turk and Caicos Islands.
Berths: Two or Three
Duration/timing: April-October 2022
Necessary equipment: Two tables to install our equipment inside, an energy plug and space for a small freezer and one for a fridge, and space on deck for 3-4 20L water tanks connected to a seawater pump.
Assessing the potential of free-floating macro algae Sargassum for long-term carbon storage.
The SARGSINK Project will address the following research questions:
1. Is it possible to enhance the growth of Sargassum by adding nutrient-rich deep water and to optimise carbon to nutrient ratios for carbon removal?
2. At which depth does Sargassum sink due to the collapsing of its air bladders and what is its sinking speed?
3. What are the remineralization rates of sinking Sargassum, and how does this correspond to carbon storage potential?
Description of the relation between nutrient availability and Sargassums growth rates and stoichiometry in nature.
Description of depth-dependent floating or sinking behaviour;
Estimate of the amount of carbon dioxide that could be removed from the atmosphere by sinking Sargassums.
Dr. Mar Fernández-Méndez is a biological oceanographer currently working at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel. Her expertise covers a broad range from ecology to marine biogeochemistry including algal primary productivity, nutrient uptake bioassays, particulate matter stoichiometry, biodiversity and carbon trophic transfer in the marine food web. Her former research focused on productivity and carbon export in polar regions under the light of anthropogenic climate change and currently she is involved in artificial and natural upwelling research in Gran Canaria and the Peruvian coast. In the new future she would like to study the potential of Sargassum and other macroalgal species to sequester carbon through the biological carbon pump helping mitigate climate change.