ARCHEMHAB: Interactions and feedback mechanisms between hydrography, geochemical signatures and microbial ecology, with a focus on HAB species diversity, biogeography and dynamics - Cruise No. MSM 21/3 - July 25 - August 10, 2012 - Nuuk (Greenland) - Reykjavik (Iceland) (English)

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The third leg MSM21/3 of the MARIA S. MERIAN cruise, known under the acronym ARCHEMHAB, was a component of the Core Research Project on Harmful Algal Blooms in Fjords and Coastal Embayments within the SCOR|IOC program GEOHAB. This field campaign extended previous work in the North Atlantic and North Sea, in a comparative study of the west coasts of Greenland and Iceland. For the first time, we were able to consider the mechanisms and interactions of oceanographic parameters with key phytoplankton species distributions, and the potential relationships of glacial melting on signatures of dissolved organic matter and possible regime shifts within and adjacent to Arctic fjords. A total of 41 stations were sampled for standard physical oceanographic parameters (CTD) coupled with hyperspectral radiometric data from surface waters. Phytoplankton net tows and benthic sediment sampling yielded identification and isolation into culture of toxigenic species, with toxin profiles of mixed field assemblages and cultured isolates confirmed by tandem mass spectrometry. Molecular analysis of the plankton based upon gene probes and sequencing provided information on biodiversity for subsequent comparison with morphological identification of key potentially toxigenic species, some found for the first time in Greenland waters. Biogeochemical signatures of dissolved organic matter were determined but did not yield obvious patterns of correlation with glacial melting or distribution within readily characteristic water masses. The technical elements of the cruise were conducted with no major impediments and all sensors and deployed equipment performed according to specifications. In terms of scientific objectives, the cruise was very successful in providing empirical data to address each of the key issues related to plankton diversity and key species distributions and supported the validity of future attempts to link bio-optical and biogeochemical signatures in Arctic coastal systems.