Enduring science: Three decades of observing the Northeast Atlantic from the Porcupine Abyssal Plain Sustained Observatory (PAP-SO)

Hartman, Susan E. ORCID:; Bett, Brian J. ORCID:; Durden, Jennifer ORCID:; Henson, Stephanie A. ORCID:; Iversen, Morten; Jeffreys, Rachel M.; Horton, Tammy ORCID:; Lampitt, Richard; Gates, Andrew R. ORCID: 2021 Enduring science: Three decades of observing the Northeast Atlantic from the Porcupine Abyssal Plain Sustained Observatory (PAP-SO). Progress in Oceanography, 191, 102508.

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Until the 1980s, the deep sea was generally considered to be a particularly stable environment, free from major temporal variations (Sanders, 1968). Studies in the abyssal northeast Atlantic by Billett et al. (1983), and subsequently Lampitt (1985) discovered seasonal pulses of surface primary production-derived particulate organic matter (phytodetritus), and hence carbon, at abyssal depths. These early observations were subsequently extended to the central oceanic region of the NE Atlantic (Pfannkuche, 1993; Thiel et al., 1989), and prompted the establishment of more concerted time series studies in the Porcupine Abyssal Plain area. Today, the Porcupine Abyssal Plain Sustained Observatory (PAP–SO) is a multidisciplinary open-ocean time series site in the NE Atlantic (48°50′N 16°30′W, 4850 m water depth; Fig. 1), focused on the study of connections between the surface and deep ocean. In situ measurements of climatically and environmentally relevant variables have been made for more than 30 years. This represents an exceptionally long time series - a recent compilation of biological time series data, across terrestrial, freshwater, and marine realms, indicates an average duration of only 13-years (Dornelas et al., 2018). Long-term time series in the deep sea are rare, particularly those collecting data from surface to seabed. The PAP-SO is one of two abyssal long-term time series sites globally (Smith et al. 2015), the other being a thirty-year time series at Station M in the northeastern Pacific Ocean (34°50′N, 123°00′W, ~4000 m water depth), maintained by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (Smith et al., 2020). This ‘sibling’ abyssal time series site also aims to understand the connections between the surface ocean and the seabed, using many similar techniques (Smith et al., 2017), facilitating comparisons between the two sites (e.g. Durden et al., 2019; Durden et al., 2020a; Laguionie-Marchais et al., 2013; Smith et al., 2009). Another source of extended comparison is the 21 year time series Long-Term Ecological Research Observatory HAUSGARTEN, Frontiers in Arctic Marine Monitoring (FRAM) in the Fram Strait between the North Atlantic and the central Arctic Ocean (78.5°N–80°N, 05°W–11°E, 250–5500 m water depth), maintained by the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (Soltwedel et al., 2016; Soltwedel et al., 2005). Much of our understanding of temporal variation in the deep sea, and connections between the surface ocean and the seabed have been derived from research conducted at these observatories.

Item Type: Publication - Article
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ISSN: 00796611
Date made live: 23 Feb 2021 14:14 +0 (UTC)

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