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Eurofleets-2 Cruise Summary Report Bottom Currents in a Stagnat Environment (BURSTER project)
Abstract and Figures
Eurofleets 2- BURSTER cruise was conducted onboard the German icebreaker RV Polarstern (Expedition PS99-1a) during June 13–23, 2016 (Bremerhaven-Longyearbyen) having the principal objective of investigating the hydrographic and bio-geochemical conditions of the Kveithola glacial trough (south of Svalbard), and to uncover the possible existence of gas seepage activity in the area. Although the BURSTER research was intended as a preparatory study for the writing of a major research project, the amount of planned activities onboard was really ambitious. Thanks to a tireless, enthusiastic group formed by 13 students out of 23 scientists, a Teacher at Sea (GIFT, EU programme), and a technician from a small-medium enterprise operating with a transportable electron microscope (Nanovision Srl,), 89 multi-cores (22.50 m of sediments and 830 sub-samples), 265 water samples, 28 CTD casts along 7 transects and 2.57 km of benthic camera survey (OFOS), were collected during only 48 hours. In addition, according to the project work program, 24 hours were dedicated to the maintenance/recovery of two moorings that were deployed west of Svalbard during the Eurofleets 2- PREPARED project (RV G.O. Sars, June 2014). BURSTER group was actively supported by 4 scientists of the Italian PNRA project DEFROST, 4 AWI scientists of expedition PS99-1 and the Chief scientist, T. Soltwedel. The cruise successfully recovered evidences of chemosynthetic activity in the Kveithola Trough with the presence of benthic fauna and large tabular and/or irregular-shaped rocks that share the same characteristics of methanogenic environments observed in gas seepage areas. The promising preliminary results obtained from this initial survey of the area will represent the base for the writing of a major project for a detailed investigation of the microbial, biologic and oceanographic system of the Kveithola Trough.
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