FRAM: a multidisciplinary observatory in the North Atlantic ‐ Arctic Ocean transition zone

felix.janssen [ at ]


Since about fifteen years the Alfred Wegener Institute | Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) carries out time-series observations in the North Atlantic – Arctic transition. Activities are focused on water mass exchange through Fram Strait and on ecosystem studies at the deep-sea observatory ‘HAUSGARTEN’. HAUSGARTEN is the first and by now only open-ocean long-term observatory in a polar region and a key site of the EMSO-Network. The location in Fram Strait – being the sole deep connection between the North-Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean – is of special interest with respect to the exchange of heat and freshwater between the Arctic and lower latitudes. The Fram Strait ecosystem is expected to be particularly vulnerable to Global Change related variations in environmental conditions, including the ongoing sea-ice retreat. Obtained time series of physical and ecological observations demonstrate the tight connection between abiotic habitat properties and ecosystem characteristics – including the rates and the nature of vertical particle fluxes as well as the composition of pelagic assemblages and benthic communities from microbes to megafauna. These findings clearly advocate for a multidisciplinary and multiscale approach that combines fixed-point and region-wide time-series observations and form the basis of our current proposal for the integrated deep-sea observatory ‘FRAM’ (FRontiers in Arctic marine Monitoring). In addition to the integration of existing physical and ecosystem observation components to fully exploit synergies, strategies for FRAM also include the implementation of novel instruments (e.g., ice-tethered platforms, profiling moorings, benthic crawlers) to extend observation-capacities in space and time – including periods of limited access due to permanent ice-coverage.

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Conference (Poster)
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Research Networks
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Not peer-reviewed
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Event Details
EMSO Ocean Observatories Challenges and Progresses conference, 13 Nov 2013 - 15 Nov 2013, INGV, Rome, IT.
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Janssen, F. , Soltwedel, T. , Schewe, I. , Schauer, U. and Boetius, A. (2013): FRAM: a multidisciplinary observatory in the North Atlantic ‐ Arctic Ocean transition zone , EMSO Ocean Observatories Challenges and Progresses conference, INGV, Rome, IT, 13 November 2013 - 15 November 2013 .


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