Inorganic carbon data from R/V Melville, R/V Roger Revelle MV1101, RR1202 cruises MV1101, RR1202 in the Southern Ocean (30-60S); 2011-2012 (Great Calcite Belt project)

Version: 03 September 2015
Version Date: 2015-09-03

» The Great Southern Coccolithophore Belt (Great Calcite Belt)
Bates, NicholasBermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS)Principal Investigator, Contact
Gegg, Stephen R.Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI BCO-DMO)BCO-DMO Data Manager

Dataset Description

Inorganic Carbon Data from two Great Belt cruises in the Southern Ocean

Acquisition Description

DIC was determined using a high precision (0.05%CV) small-volume DIC analyzer (~1.5 ml sample size) using an infrared-based instrument (AIRICA; Marianda Co., Germany; Bates et al., 2012) with replicate samples analyzed using a VINDTA 3C system at BIOS. Multiple replicates samples were analyzed and analytical imprecision was less than 0.1% (~2 µmol kg-1). DIC aanalyses were routinely calibrated using seawater Certified Reference Material (CRM) from A.G. Dickson, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, and the accuracy of samples compared to CRM’s was less than 0.1% (~2 µmol kg-1).

Processing Description

DIC was incorporated with bottle ID, and hydrographic data generated by PI Balch (Bigelow Laboratory of Ocean Sciences; BLOS). The DIC data is flagged as 2 (good data) and 5 (missing data; bottle misfire, broken bottle) with -999 placed in the Excel cell.

DIC was incorporated with bottle ID, and hydrographic data generated by PI Balch (Bigelow Laboratory of Ocean Sciences; BLOS).

BCO-DMO Processing Notes
- Generated from original file "BatesGCB2011_2012bco-dmo.xls" contributed by Nicholas Bates
- Parameter names edited to conform to BCO-DMO naming convention found at Choosing Parameter Name
- "nd" (no data) inserted into blank cells
- GCB_2012 time in decimal days replaced with HHMM from event field
- ISO_DateTime_UTC generated

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CruiseCruise Name text
EventEvent dimensionless
StationStation number dimensionless
CastCast number dimensionless
ISO_DateTime_UTCDate/Time (UTC) ISO formatted YYYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SS[.xx]Z
Time(Time (UTC) HHMM
LatStation latitude (South is negative) decimal degrees
LonStation longitude (West is negative) decimal degrees
NiskinNiskin Bottle Number dimensionless
DepthDepth meters
dT_From_SurfaceDelta T from surface temp degs Celsius
TempTemperature degs Celsius
SalinitySalinity PSU
Corr_DICCorr DIC umol/Kg
FlagData Flag: 2 (Good Data) 5 (missing data; bottle misfire; broken bottle) with -999 placed in the Excel cell dimensionless
nDICnDIC umol/Kg
PO4PO4 umol/L
SiSi umol/L
NO3NO3 umol/L
O2O2 ml/L

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Dataset-specific Instrument Name
Niskin Bottle
Generic Instrument Name
Niskin bottle
Generic Instrument Description
A Niskin bottle (a next generation water sampler based on the Nansen bottle) is a cylindrical, non-metallic water collection device with stoppers at both ends. The bottles can be attached individually on a hydrowire or deployed in 12, 24, or 36 bottle Rosette systems mounted on a frame and combined with a CTD. Niskin bottles are used to collect discrete water samples for a range of measurements including pigments, nutrients, plankton, etc.

Dataset-specific Instrument Name
CTD 911
Generic Instrument Name
CTD Sea-Bird SBE 911plus
Generic Instrument Description
The Sea-Bird SBE 911plus is a type of CTD instrument package for continuous measurement of conductivity, temperature and pressure. The SBE 911plus includes the SBE 9plus Underwater Unit and the SBE 11plus Deck Unit (for real-time readout using conductive wire) for deployment from a vessel. The combination of the SBE 9plus and SBE 11plus is called a SBE 911plus. The SBE 9plus uses Sea-Bird's standard modular temperature and conductivity sensors (SBE 3plus and SBE 4). The SBE 9plus CTD can be configured with up to eight auxiliary sensors to measure other parameters including dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, fluorescence, light (PAR), light transmission, etc.). more information from Sea-Bird Electronics

Dataset-specific Instrument Name
Generic Instrument Name
Elemental Analyzer
Dataset-specific Description
DIC was determined using a high precision (0.05%CV) small-volume DIC analyzer (~1.5 ml sample size) using an infrared-based instrument (AIRICA; Marianda Co., Germany; Bates et al., 2012) with replicate samples analyzed using a VINDTA 3C system at BIOS. VINDTA 3C The VINDTA 3C (Versatile INstrument for the Determination of Total inorganic carbon and titration Alkalinity) combines the proven VINDTA alkalinity titration concept with a simplified extraction unit for coulometric dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) measurement.
Generic Instrument Description
Instruments that quantify carbon, nitrogen and sometimes other elements by combusting the sample at very high temperature and assaying the resulting gaseous oxides. Usually used for samples including organic material.

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R/V Melville
Start Date
End Date
Original data are available from the NSF R2R data catalog


R/V Roger Revelle
Start Date
End Date
Original data are available from the NSF R2R data catalog

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Project Information

The Great Southern Coccolithophore Belt (Great Calcite Belt)

Coverage: Southern Ocean. 60W to 120E; 30S to 60S;

Collaborative Research: The Great Southern Coccolithophore Belt

Intellectual merit: Recent advances in satellite remote sensing enable estimation of suspended calcium carbonate (particulate inorganic carbon or 'PIC') from space. This radiative approach is operationally specific to marine coccolithophores (Haptophyceae) and sensitive enough to quantify PIC concentrations in oligotrophic gyres. Global images of suspended PIC taken over the seven years of the MODIS Aqua mission show a 'Great Belt' of PIC near the sub-Antarctic front of the Southern Ocean that circles the globe. This feature occurs every year during austral summer and appears to be within the high-nutrient, low chlorophyll region of the Southern Ocean. The area of the Great Belt is ~88 million km2, 26% of the global ocean. Evidence from several cruises into the Great Belt region of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific sectors has verified elevated concentrations of coccolithophores; previous work in the Atlantic sector verified high optical scattering from PIC. The few ship observations we have are entirely consistent with the satellite views. In this project, the investigators will systematically study the coccolithophores of the Great Belt guided by the following science goals: (a) identify the coccolithophore species within this belt; (b) measure the abundance of coccolithophores and associated PIC; (c) measure coccolithopore calcification rates; (d) elucidate factors that may limit coccolithophore latitudinal range (e.g. stratification, temperature, macronutrients, trace metals, grazing); (e) demonstrate whether the variability in PIC relates to shallow export flux; (f) define how variability in PIC production relates to the pCO2, total alkalinity and dissolved inorganic carbon budgets; and (g) examine the impact of short-term ocean acidification on coccolithophore growth and calcite dissolution.

The research will involve cruises along the 50 S parallel to sample the Great Belt, during the austral summer. The investigators will use a combination of underway surface sampling (primarily optical and hydrographic) and vertical station profiles (using CTD/rosette and large volume submersible pumps) to address hypotheses related to the above goals. The cruise track will elucidate both zonal and meridional variability in the Great Belt. Controlled carboy incubation experiments will examine the impact of ocean acidification at various future scenarios on coccolithophore growth and dissolution. Dilution experiments will address grazing-related mortality and dissolution questions. Controlled metal-addition incubations will focus on potential iron, zinc and cobalt limitation of the coccolithophores or competition from diatoms related to silica availability. The proposed field observations and metal-addition experiments will provide important information on the current status of the Great Belt in the context of global biogeochemistry. The ocean acidification experiments to be undertaken are more forward-looking in terms of the fate of the Southern Ocean coccolithophores in a future acidified ocean.

Broader impacts: The globally significant size of the Great Belt indicates that it likely plays a major role in global biogeochemistry and climate change feedbacks. Thus, the investigators expect this work to have broad, transformative impacts in biological and chemical oceanography. Ocean acidification from the burning of fossil fuels is predicted to lower the pH of the surface ocean by 0.3 units in the next century and up to 0.7 units - a 5-fold increase in the proton concentration by the year 2300. A major goal of this study is to examine the effects of ocean acidification on coccolithophores in a region of low calcite saturation (i.e., one of the first regions expected to become sub-saturating for calcite). The results of these experiments will therefore be highly relevant to our basic understanding of the marine carbon cycle. Related to career development and Criterion II activities, the project includes field experience on two cruises for NSF REU undergraduates from Maine universities or colleges, providing funds for them to attend a scientific meeting. Participation of undergraduate students from Maine colleges builds capacity in our rural coastal state and helps thwart the serious issue of 'brain drain', in which the best students are leaving Maine to seek opportunity in wealthier, more populated states. A teacher will also participate on the cruises (via the NSF-sponsored ARMADA program). This teacher will develop learning modules for students about such topics as coccolithophores, calcification, export production, metal-plankton interactions, ocean acidification and climate change.

Balch, WM; Drapeau, DT; Bowler, BC; Lyczskowski, E; Booth, ES; Alley, D. "The contribution of coccolithophores to the optical and inorganic carbon budgets during the Southern Ocean Gas Exchange Experiment: New evidence in support of the "Great Calcite Belt" hypothesis," JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-OCEANS, v.116, 2011. View record at Web of Science

Poulton, AJ; Young, JR; Bates, NR; Balch, WM. "Biometry of detached Emiliania huxleyi coccoliths along the Patagonian Shelf," MARINE ECOLOGY-PROGRESS SERIES, v.443, 2011, p. 1. View record at Web of Science

Brown, Michael S, W. Balch, S. Craig, B. Bowler, D. Drapeau, J. Grant. "Optical closure within a Patagonian Shelf coccolithhophore bloom", 06/01/2011-05/31/2012,  2012, "ACCESS'12. Atlantic Canada Coastal & Estuarine Science Society. Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. 10-13 May, 2012.".

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Funding SourceAward
NSF Division of Ocean Sciences (NSF OCE)
NSF Division of Ocean Sciences (NSF OCE)

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