Biogeochemistry and methane hydrates of the Black Sea; Oceanography of the Mediterranean; Shelf sedimentation and cold water carbonates - Cruise No. M84/1 (English)

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Central objective of this expedition was the sampling of sediment and suspended particulate material from locations with extremely different environmental conditions. These samples will be used to constrain factors that influence the distribution of benthic archaea in marine sediments and thus determine their role in the marine carbon cycle. Five locations with a broad spectrum of environmental conditions were selected in the Mediterranean, Marmara and Black Seas based on published data. Therefore, site survey was not necessary and all ship time could be used for the deployment of the four different sampling devices, which we had available (gravity corer, multicorer, CTD rosette, in-situ pumps). Due to the shortness of the leg, only few sedimentological and geochemical investigations could be conducted on board directly. In contrast, great effort was made for preparation and storage of subsamples for the planned analysis and experiments in the home laboratories that will employ a great variety of complex methods. Taking the very ambitious schedule into account, with two stops at anchor for (dis)embarkations, three transfers through very busy straits, more than 2.100 nm transit and extensive sampling programs at five locations, it has to be stated that the cruise was extremely successful. The recovered number of very promising samples has exceeded our initial expectations and constitutes an excellent basis for future scientific studies.