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Page last updated at 11:12 GMT, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 12:12 UK

Dr Henrik Stahl

Henrik Stahl

My main tasks within this project are to investigate how much of the organic matter that reaches the sea-floor is actually degraded there and released back to the overlying water column as carbon dioxide and nutrients and how much is buried deeper into the sediments.

Bacteria and animals living in the sediments of the sea-floor are crucial for the degradation of the biogenic debris (i.e. dead microscopic algae and zooplankton) that sinks down from the overlying water column.

By utilising this debris as food these organisms recycle carbon and nutrients within the sediments which then can be released back to the overlying water column where it can continue to fuel primary production.

During this expedition I will look at bacteria and animals in the sediments and how their activity affects the release of nutrients and carbon from the sediments.

To do this I will use advanced in situ technology called benthic landers. These instruments are unmanned and pre-programmed deep-sea robots capable of operating and performing measurements down to 6000m depth if needed.

On the personal level I'm looking forward to seeing the Arctic in close range and to go into the sea-ice.

I have been working several times above the polar circle (in south Greenland and in the White Sea) but I have never been working this far north before.

It would be particularly exciting to see some polar bears and other marine mammals that are relatively common in this area.



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