Braving the heat of North Carolina, TZS (Tvärminne Zoological Station) postdoc Eero Asmala visited North Carolina State University (USA) for six months to carry out field campaigns in Neuse River estuary in collaboration with professors Chris Osburn (NC State) and Hans Paerl (University of North Carolina). The objective of the field campaigns is to study how variation in freshwater inputs, temperature and light affect the carbon cycling in the estuary. Underwater loggers are deployed in the estuary for weeks at a time, and they are taking measurements every five minutes. This data will be used to model primary production (oxygen production) and respiration (oxygen consumption). In addition to the collected new field data, there is 20+ years’ time series of biogeochemical data from the ModMon monitoring program, and Eero has started to work with this time series to look at annual patterns in carbon dynamics in the system.
An exciting spin-off from the original research plan has started with assistant professor Ryan Paerl (NC State), where the goal is to investigate non-living particles (in other words excluding phytoplankton, bacteria etc.) with flow cytometry. This method allows precise quantification and characterization of the particles in the estuarine waters. This will help us understand how the organic carbon from the river is being changed and consumed during its passage from land to sea.
Eero Asmala is a post-doctoral researcher funded by Suomen Akatemia/ the Academy of Finland, based at Tvärminne Zoological Station.
This post was originally published on the Facebook Page of the Tvärminne Zoological Station.