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Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research

The prime interest of the NIOZ team collaborating in GATEWAYS is to reconstruct the long term behaviour of the Agulhas Current by studying both the present day situation using sediment traps and the behaviour in the recent and distant past based on the sedimentary record. We examine decadal-scale Agulhas Current variability and particle settling fluxes and investigate the ocean forcing of particle fluxes and proxy formation. The NIOZ team also develops an independent paleosalinity proxy based on the hydrogen isotope composition (dD) of algal biomarkers preserved in the sedimentary record. This is tested using cultures and sediment traps and applied on sediment records to reconstruct past fluctuations in sea surface salinities. We also analyse land-derived biomarkers (d13C and dD of n-alkanes) to obtain a synchronous land climate record.

The NIOZ has a long term (>6 yrs) mooring and sediment trap (>3yrs) program in the Mozambique area. In addition it has a number of multicores available obtained from several cruises which are dated using short-lived radioisotopes. On this material we measure different proxies for surface ocean properties such as UK37, TEX86, foraminiferal Mg/Ca, Cd/Ca and d18O. The results are compared to those from the ocean observation time series. Other measurements include analysis of the dD of different algal biomarkers as independent paleo sea surface salinity proxy to complement the paired d18O and Mg/Ca ratios from selected planktonic foraminifera performed by the UAB.

The proxy measurements are performed at NIOZ as well as in collaboration with other partners such as VUA, CAU and UAB. The hydrogen isotopic composition of algal biomarkers is measured on sediment core samples made available by the UAB and from NIOZ multicores and sediment traps and compared to salinity reconstructions based on planktonic foraminifera performed by the UAB. Reconstructions of land climate are compared with those obtained by GSI and CAU.

The NIOZ team concentrates on the effect of water column properties and ocean variability on particle settling fluxes, diagenesis and proxy formation. The NIOZ develops and apply new paleosalinity proxies to obtain records of paleosalinity and analyse land-derived biomarkers to obtain records of continental climate change. This involves collaborations with UAB, VUA, GSI, CAU as well as conceptual links to all partners.

Partner Profile

The Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) is the national oceanographic institute, embedded in the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), and operates the ocean-going RV Pelagia within the European OFEG-fleet (www.nioz.nl). Royal NIOZ promotes interdisciplinary marine research through collaborative (inter)national projects, training and science education, holds 11 professorships and employs 35 staff and about 70 Early-stage researchers (PhD students, post-doctoral researchers). NIOZ is situated on the Wadden Island of Texel near Amsterdam and Utrecht, the Netherlands.

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