On board FS Maria S. Merian
r/v Maria S. Merian on search of potential sources of methane in the Baltic Sea
An international group of marine chemists, microbiologists and geologists coordinated by the marine chemist Gregor Rehder from the Leibniz Institute of Baltic Sea Research in Warnemünde will put to sea on board of r/v Maria S. Merian on July 31, 2010. The cruise will focus on methane deposits in sediments of the Baltic Sea.
Methane is a dangerous greenhouse gas and, considering a period of 100 years, it is 23-times more effective than carbon dioxide. Thus, scientists all over the world are searching for current and potential sources of methane. The Merian expedition MSM 16/1 will concentrate on methane emissions from Baltic Sea sediments. Be-side the detection of current methane emissions into water and atmosphere, the main issue on the agenda is to investigate potential changes within the methane deposits due to an increase in water temperature and ongoing eutrophication (more details).
In the Baltic Sea, numerous methane deposits are already known due to earlier studies. The investigations during the Merian cruise will focus on these regions. By means of a multibeam echosounder detecting gas bubbles within the water column, of various acoustic systems which virtually can look into the sediments and with innovative sensors analysing the methane concentration in the water, key areas within the Arkona, Bornholm, Gothland and Bothnian Basins will be ana-lysed in detail. In parallel, gravity corer and a variety of other coring devices will be deployed, for the purpose of sediment sampling in these regions.
The Merian cruise is part of the international research project Baltic Gas, which is jointly funded by BONUS – the Baltic Organisations Network for Funding Sciences EEIG. Among the scientists on board, there are also researchers of the BONUS projects INFLOW and HYPER, who will take the chance to sample the seafloor.