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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-01-10
    Description: Ice sheets are currently ignored in global methane budgets1,2. Although ice sheets have been proposed to contain large reserves of methane that may contribute to a rise in atmospheric methane concentration if released during periods of rapid ice retreat3,4, no data exist on the current methane footprint of ice sheets. Here we find that subglacially produced methane is rapidly driven to the ice margin by the efficient drainage system of a subglacial catchment of the Greenland ice sheet. We report the continuous export of methane-supersaturated waters (CH4(aq)) from the ice-sheet bed during the melt season. Pulses of high CH4(aq) concentration coincide with supraglacially forced subglacial flushing events, confirming a subglacial source and highlighting the influence of melt on methane export. Sustained methane fluxes over the melt season are indicative of subglacial methane reserves that exceed methane export, with an estimated 6.3 tonnes (discharge-weighted mean; range from 2.4 to 11 tonnes) of CH4(aq) transported laterally from the ice-sheet bed. Stable-isotope analyses reveal a microbial origin for methane, probably from a mixture of inorganic and ancient organic carbon buried beneath the ice. We show that subglacial hydrology is crucial for controlling methane fluxes from the ice sheet, with efficient drainage limiting the extent of methane oxidation5 to about 17 per cent of methane exported. Atmospheric evasion is the main methane sink once runoff reaches the ice margin, with estimated diffusive fluxes (4.4 to 28 millimoles of CH4 per square metre per day) rivalling that of major world rivers6. Overall, our results indicate that ice sheets overlie extensive, biologically active methanogenic wetlands and that high rates of methane export to the atmosphere can occur via efficient subglacial drainage pathways. Our findings suggest that such environments have been previously underappreciated and should be considered in Earth’s methane budget.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2016-03-31
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2014-01-06
    Description: We report a high performance autonomous analytical system based on the vanadomolybdate method for the determination of soluble reactive phosphorus in seawater. The system combines a microfluidic chip manufactured from tinted poly (methyl methaaylate) (PMMA), a custom made syringe pump, embedded control electronics and on-board calibration standards. This "lab-on-a-chip" analytical system was successfully deployed and cross-compared with reference analytical methods in coastal (south west England) and open ocean waters (tropical North Atlantic). The results of the miniaturized system compared well with a reference bench-operated phosphate auto-analyser and showed no significant differences in the analytical results (student's t-test at 95% confidence level). The optical technology used, comprising of tinted PMMA and polished fluidic channels, has allowed an improvement of two orders of magnitude of the limit of detection (52 nM) compared to currently available portable systems based on this method. The system has a wide linear dynamic range 0.1-60 mu M, and a good precision (13.6% at 0.4 mu M, n=4). The analytical results were corrected for silicate interferences at 0.7 mu M, and the measurement frequency was configurable with a sampling throughput of up to 20 samples per hour. This portable micro-analytical system has a low reagent requirement (340 mu L per sample) and power consumption (756J per sample), and has allowed accurate high resolution measurements of soluble reactive phosphorus in seawater
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: The development of phosphate sensors suitable for long-term in situ deployments in natural waters, is essential to improve our understanding of the distribution, fluxes, and biogeochemical role of this key nutrient in a changing ocean. Here, we describe the optimization of the molybdenum blue method for in situ work using a lab-on-chip (LOC) analyzer and evaluate its performance in the laboratory and at two contrasting field sites. The in situ performance of the LOC sensor is evaluated using hourly time-series data from a 56-day trial in Southampton Water (UK), as well as a month-long deployment in the subtropical oligotrophic waters of Kaneohe Bay (Hawaii, USA). In Kaneohe Bay, where phosphate concentrations were characteristic of the dry season (0.13 ± 0.03 μM, n = 704), the in situ sensor accuracy was 16 ± 12% and a potential diurnal cycle in phosphate concentrations was observed. In Southampton Water, the sensor data (1.02 ± 0.40 μM, n = 1,267) were accurate to ±0.10 μM relative to discrete reference samples. Hourly in situ monitoring revealed striking tidal and storm derived fluctuations in phosphate concentrations in Southampton Water that would not have been captured via discrete sampling. We show the impact of storms on phosphate concentrations in Southampton Water is modulated by the spring-neap tidal cycle and that the 10-fold decline in phosphate concentrations observed during the later stages of the deployment was consistent with the timing of a spring phytoplankton bloom in the English Channel. Under controlled laboratory conditions in a 250 L tank, the sensor demonstrated an accuracy and precision better than 10% irrespective of the salinity (0–30), turbidity (0–100 NTU), colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) concentration (0–10 mg/L), and temperature (5–20°C) of the water (0.3–13 μM phosphate) being analyzed. This work demonstrates that the LOC technology is mature enough to quantify the influence of stochastic events on nutrient budgets and to elucidate the role of phosphate in regulating phytoplankton productivity and community composition in estuarine and coastal regimes.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2017-12-19
    Description: The oceans are a major sink for anthropogenic atmospheric carbon dioxide, and the uptake causes changes to the marine carbonate system and has wide ranging effects on flora and fauna. It is crucial to develop analytical systems that allow us to follow the increase in oceanic pCO(2) and corresponding reduction in pH. Miniaturised sensor systems using immobilised fluorescence indicator spots are attractive for this purpose because of their simple design and low power requirements. The technology is increasingly used for oceanic dissolved oxygen measurements. We present a detailed method on the use of immobilised fluorescence indicator spots to determine pH in ocean waters across the pH range 7.6-8.2. We characterised temperature (-0.046 pH/degrees C from 5 to 25 degrees C) and salinity dependences (-0.01 pH/psu over 5-35), and performed a preliminary investigation into the influence of chlorophyll on the pH measurement. The apparent pK(a) of the sensor spots was 6.93 at 20 degrees C. A drift of 0.00014 R (ca. 0.0004 pH, at 25 degrees C, salinity 35) was observed over a 3 day period in a laboratory based drift experiment. We achieved a precision of 0.0074 pH units, and observed a drift of 0.06 pH units during a test deployment of 5 week duration in the Southern Ocean as an under way surface ocean sensor, which was corrected for using certified reference materials. The temperature and salinity dependences were accounted for with the algorithm, R = (0.00034 - 0.17.pH + 0.15.S-2 + 0.0067.T - 0.0084.S) . 1.075. This study provides a first step towards a pH optode system suitable for autonomous deployment. The use of a short duration low power illumination (LED current 0.2 mA, 5 mu s illumination time) improved the lifetime and precision of the spot. Further improvements to the pH indicator spot operations include regular application of certified reference materials for drift correction and cross-calibration against a spectrophotometric pH system. Desirable future developments should involve novel fluorescence spots with improved response time and apparent pK(a) values closer to the pH of surface ocean waters.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2019-09-23
    Description: Microfluidics, or lab-on-a-chip (LOC) is a promising technology that allows the development of miniaturized chemical sensors. In contrast to the surging interest in biomedical sciences, the utilization of LOC sensors in aquatic sciences is still in infancy but a wider use of such sensors could mitigate the undersampling problem of ocean biogeochemical processes. Here we describe the first underwater test of a novel LOC sensor to obtain in situ calibrated time-series (up to 40 h) of nitrate+nitrite (ΣNOx) and nitrite on the seafloor of the Mauritanian oxygen minimum zone, offshore Western Africa. Initial tests showed that the sensor successfully reproduced water column (160 m) nutrient profiles. Lander deployments at 50, 100 and 170 m depth indicated that the biogeochemical variability was high over the Mauritanian shelf: The 50 m site had the lowest ΣNOx concentration, with 15.2 to 23.4 μM (median=18.3 μM); while at the 100 site ΣNOx varied between 21.0 and 30.1 μM over 40 hours (median = 25.1μM). The 170 m site had the highest median ΣNOx level (25.8 μM) with less variability (22.8 to 27.7 μM). At the 50 m site, nitrite concentration decreased fivefold from 1 to 0.2 μM in just 30 hours accompanied by decreasing oxygen and increasing nitrate concentrations. Taken together with the time series of oxygen, temperature, pressure and current velocities, we propose that the episodic intrusion of deeper waters via cross-shelf transport leads to intrusion of nitrate-rich, but oxygen-poor waters to shallower locations, with consequences for benthic nitrogen cycling. This first validation of an LOC sensor at elevated water depths revealed that when deployed for longer periods and as a part of a sensor network, LOC technology has the potential to contribute to the understanding of the benthic biogeochemical dynamics.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2019-09-23
    Description: Accurate pH measurements in polar waters and sea ice brines require pH indicator dyes characterized at near-zero and below-zero temperatures and high salinities. We present experimentally determined physical and chemical characteristics of purified meta-Cresol Purple (mCP) pH indicator dye suitable for pH measurements in seawater and conservative seawater-derived brines at salinities (S) between 35 and 100 and temperatures (T) between their freezing point and 298.15 K (25 °C). Within this temperature and salinity range, using purified mCP and a novel thermostated spectrophotometric device, the pH on the total scale (pHT) can be calculated from direct measurements of the absorbance ratio R of the dye in natural samples as pHT=−log(kT2e2)+log(R−e11−Re3e2) Based on the mCP characterization in these extended conditions, the temperature and salinity dependence of the molar absorptivity ratios and − log(kT2e2) of purified mCP is described by the following functions: e1 = −0.004363 + 3.598 × 10−5T, e3/e2 = −0.016224 + 2.42851 × 10−4T + 5.05663 × 10−5(S − 35), and − log(kT2e2) = −319.8369 + 0.688159 S −0.00018374 S2 + (10508.724 − 32.9599 S + 0.059082S2) T−1 + (55.54253 − 0.101639 S) ln T −0.08112151T. This work takes the characterisation of mCP beyond the currently available ranges of 278.15 K ≤ T ≤ 308.15 K and 20 ≤ S ≤ 40 in natural seawater, thereby allowing high quality pHT measurements in polar systems.
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2011-10-01
    Description: In this work, we describe a high-resolution fluorometric shipboard analyser and an improved method to determine NH 4 + in oligotrophic seawater. The limit of detection is 〈5 nM, calculated with 95% confidence level using the weighted regression line applied to the standard addition method using real samples prepared with low nutrient seawater from the Atlantic. The results are summarised and cross-compared with spiked artificial seawater (ASW) and spiked Milli-Q water samples. The analyser has a precision of ±1–4% with a high performance over a wide range from 5 nM to 25 μM. The methodology of NH 4 + analysis is based on the fluorescent product formed between o -pthaldialdehyde and NH 4 + in the presence of sulfite. Due to the high resolution of the developed system, we were able to study in depth the sensitivity of the method to salinity, amines, amino acids and potential interferences from particles/algae. The method was found to be sensitive to salinity variations, reducing the signal by up to 85% at 5 nM; this effect decreased at higher concentrations of ammonium. It was noted that the interference from amines at low concentrations was negligible; however, at either high amino acid or high amine concentrations, the signal was depressed. To test for the effect of particles on the system, the system was tested with samples containing phytoplankton ( Dunaliella primolecta ) cells at different concentrations prepared with ASW to simulate the effect of a phytoplankton bloom. This experiment assessed the potential impact of both particles and other potential fluorescence interferences from cells and/or ammonium leaching from cells. This experiment showed that a phytoplankton bloom could potentially have an impact of up to 12% on the signal of interest. Thus, we propose that this method is suitable for oligotrophic environments rather than coastal and eutrophic environments. The reagent was found to be stable for 17 days and standards of 1 μM were stable for 6 days under laboratory conditions. The developed analyser was successfully demonstrated in the North Atlantic Ocean, in an area of oligotrophic, low NH 4 + oceanic waters. ©2011 Springer-Verlag
    Print ISSN: 1616-7341
    Electronic ISSN: 1616-7228
    Topics: Geosciences , Physics
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  • 9
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