South Georgia is located in the path of powerful ocean currents that wrap around the island, transporting iron from the South Georgia shelf and plankton and krill larvae from the Antarctic Peninsula, causing intense algal blooms northeast of the island. The algal blooms account for a significant transfer of atmospheric carbon to the oceans interior and the currents may have been a major source of CO2 during the last deglaciation.
|Me collecting samples from BAS for the pilot|
study, with supervisors Vicky and George
In spite of only starting my PhD at the end of September, I have already been able to collect a small number of samples from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) in Cambridge (where I also met all my supervisors), for a pilot study on a core (GC666!) close to Royal Bay. Since then I have been busily preparing these samples for isotopic and micropalaeontological analysis; excitingly, in addition to being packed full of diatoms (microscopic algae with a shell made of silica), the samples appear to contain plenty of excellently preserved benthic and planktonic foraminifera (microscopic organisms with a calcite shell, living on the seafloor or in the water column), promising many happy hours searching through ocean floor mud to find them!
|Map showing the location of South Georgia and|
the Antarctic currents that wrap around the island (inset)