Today we finally had some spare time in between the numerous preparations to introduce you about our cruise to the Black Sea. Our cruise will start in Istanbul on the morning of the 7th of June. From that date onwards, we will not set foot on land for 16 days and experience life at sea (including seasickness).
Anoxia and dead zones
This Black Sea cruise is a big opportunity to learn more about the world’ s largest anoxic basin. The Black Sea has experienced anoxia (= no oxygen in the deep waters) for approximately 8000 years. These deep anoxic waters of the Black Sea are a so-called “dead zone” as most sea life needs oxygen for survival. But, anoxia in the deep waters also leads to more algae growth at the surface, since phosphorus - part of the algae's 'diet' - is buried less effectively on the sea floor under anoxic conditions. This high rate of algal growth also drives further consumption of oxygen as the algae die and decay.
Dead zones are partly caused by high inputs of phosphorus, an important nutrient which sustains algae growth and thus oxygen consumption. Phosphorus inputs may be man-made, from fertilizer or waste-water, or natural, due to so-called 'recycling' of nutrients in the oceans. As phosphorus plays an important role in maintaining dead zones, more knowledge is needed on the cycling of phosphorus in environments such as the Black Sea. This is one of the main focuses of our cruise, which will include sampling of the water column and the underlying sediment.
With this blog we will inform you more about the environmental relevance of our cruise and the sampling on board. We will also try to show you what marine fieldwork looks like. How do you survive seasickness? What are we doing in our (limited) free time (someone already suggested to bring a karaoke set)? And how do we survive with no fresh food for 16 days?
Hopefully you will enjoy reading our blog! In the upcoming days we will already tell you more about our main focus at this moment: preparing, preparing, preparing…
Peter, Tom and Nikki
P.S. Who we are? Check the “about this blog” section.