Oceanographic research cruise

RV Pelagia expedition 64PE520 - DEPOCA2023

On Thursday 27th of July, 12 scientists embarked on the RV Pelagia, the Dutch research vessel in the service of the Royal Netherlands Institute of Sea Research (NIOZ). The scientific group consists of scientists from the University of Vienna, University of Southern Denmark (SDU), University of Copenhagen (UCPH), GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, and NIOZ.

DEPOCA is a project funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) focusing on shedding light on the dark ocean’s detrital particles: origin, composition, and age. DEPOCA aims at elucidating the source and fate of detrital particles in the deep Atlantic Ocean.

The DEPOCA expedition 64PE520 started from Reykjavik (Iceland) on the morning of 29th of July and will end at São Miguel Island (Azores/Portugal) on the 14th of August.

The expedition is led by Prof. Dr. Gerhard J. Herndl. His group of Microbial Oceanography Vienna (MOVie) onboard consists of Thomas Reinthaler - Senior Scientist, Chie Amano - Postdoc Researcher, Maria Papadatou - Postdoc Researcher, Marilena Heitger - PhD Student, and Leo Pokorny - Research Technician. The MOVie team onboard focuses on measuring microbial abundance, biomass production and respiration, the role of hydrostatic pressure on microbial activity, microbial community composition and function, amino acid composition and ATP concentration, dissolved and particulate organic carbon and on sampling for metagenomics and metaproteomics analyses back at the University of Vienna.

The Danish group onboard consists of John Paul Balmonte - Postdoc Researcher, Mathias Middelboe - Professor, and Devangi Sathe - PhD Student. The HADAL team onboard is measuring extracellular enzymatic activity (dissolved and particulate fraction), viral production, abundance and diversity in response to hydrostatic pressure.

GEOMAR is represented by Kerstin Petersen - Expert Scientist - who is in charge of exploring microbial interactions facilitating B-vitamin cycling below the photic zone using biochemical analyses and multi-omics tools in collaboration with Kristin Bergauer (currently looking for a MSc student).

The Dutch group onboard consists of Karel Bakker - Senior Research Assistant, and Sven Pont - Research Assistant. The NIOZ team is responsible for inorganic nutrient and oxygen measurements and radioactivity work.

It is of crucial importance to better understand the role of suspended and sinking oceanic particles, known as marine snow in the carbon sequestration of the ocean’s interior. The international DEPOCA team is currently collecting valuable samples that will contribute to a better understanding of the carbon cycling in the deep ocean and the efficiency of the biological carbon pump.