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Plymouth Marine Laboratory

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  • The potential for leakage of CO2 from a storage reservoir into the overlying marine sediments and into the water column and the impacts on benthic ecosystems are major challenges associated with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in subseafloor reservoirs. A field-scale controlled CO2 release experiment was conducted in shallow, unconsolidated marine sediments. Changes were monitored of the chemical composition of the sediments and overlying water column before, during and up to 1 year after the 37-day long CO2 release from May 2012 to May 2013 in Ardmucknish Bay. Meiofaunal samples were collected and meiofauna higher taxa and the nematodes species (where possible) were identified by Plymouth Marine Laboratory. This dataset was collected under the program QICS (Quantifying and monitoring environmental impacts of geological carbon storage) which was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), with support from the Scottish Government. The results are contained in an Excel file. QICS project website: www.bgs.ac.uk/qics/home.html. This data is currently under embargo until publication of the dataset in research article (estimated end of 2015).

  • The response of the benthic microbial community to a controlled sub-seabed CO2 leak was assessed using quantitative PCR measurements of benthic bacterial, archaeal and cyanobacteria/chloroplast 16S rRNA genes. Similarly, the impact of CO2 release on the abundance of benthic bacterial and archaeal ammonia amoA genes and transcripts, and also to the abundance of nitrite oxidizer (nirS) and anammox hydrazine oxidoreductase (hzo) genes and transcripts. Samples were taken from four zones (epicentre (zone 1); 25m distant (zone 2), 75m distant (zone 3) and 450m distant (zone 4)) during 6 time points (7 days before CO2 exposure, after 14 and 36 days of CO2 release, and 6, 20 and 90 days after the CO2 release had ended). Changes to the active community of microphytobenthos and bacteria were also assessed before, during and after CO2 release using Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis of cyanobacteria/chloroplast 16S rRNA. Changes to the composition of the active bacterial community was assessed first using Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (T-RFLP) of bacterial 16S rRNA. In depth comparisons of possible changes to the active bacterial community at zone 1 and 4 before, during and immediately after the CO2 release was performed using 16S rRNA 454 pyrosequencing. This dataset was created by Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) under the program QICS (Quantifying and monitoring environmental impacts of geological carbon storage) which was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), with support from the Scottish Government. The results are contained in three text files. QICS project website: www.bgs.ac.uk/qics/home.html. Tait et al. (2015) Rapid response of the active microbial community to CO2 exposure from a controlled sub-seabed CO2 leak in Ardmucknish Bay (Oban, Scotland). IJGGC DOI: 10.1016/ijggc.2014.11.021. Watanabe et al. (2015) Ammonia oxidation activity of microorganisms in surface sediment to a controlled sub-seabed release of CO2. IJGGC DOI: 10.1016/j.ijggc.2014.11.013.

  • The data set comprises measurement of physical and biological oceanographic parameters initially collected as part of the Plankton Monitoring Programme at Station L4 from 1988 onwards. Station L4 located in the English Channel, 10 nautical miles south-west of Plymouth, is one of a series of hydrographic stations in the Western English Channel which have been the basis of a series of hydrographic surveys carried out during the 20th Century by scientists at the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth. In May 2002 sampling expanded to include Station E1, approximately 25 nautical miles south-west of Plymouth. Plankton Monitoring began through the work of the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) Zooplankton Group. A long term time-series of weekly observations has been established by exploiting the activities of the PML small boats (Sepia, Squilla and Plymouth Quest) in a opportunistic way as by-product of their other sampling activities, for example the collection live plankton, sea-water, trawling for fish and squid. Initially no formal research programme or long term funding for the Plankton Monitoring existed but the series was included in NERC Oceans 2025 funding as a Sustained Observatory and continues to be funded under NERC National Capability. The programme has evolved to be known as the Western Channel Observatory (WCO). Although every attempt has been made to standardise methodology and achieve data consistency it is important to recognize that the varied personnel and research objectives that have contributed to this dataset may impact on the nature of the data set.

  • A sub-seabed release of carbon dioxide (CO2) was conducted to assess the potential impacts of leakage from sub-seabed geological CO2 Capture and Storage CCS) on benthic macrofauna. CO2 gas was released 12 m below the seabed for 37 days, causing significant disruption to sediment carbonate chemistry. Regular macrofauna samples were collected from within the area of active CO2 leakage (Zone 1) and in three additional reference areas, 25 m, 75 m and 450 m from the centre of the leakage (Zones 2, 3 and 4 respectively). Macrofaunal community structure changed significantly in all zones during the study period. However, only the changes in Zone 1 were driven by the CO2 leakage with the changes in reference zones appearing to reflect natural seasonal succession and stochastic weather events. The impacts in Zone 1 occurred rapidly (within a few days), increased in severity through the duration of the leak, and continued to worsen after the leak had stopped. Considerable macrofaunal recovery was seen 18 days after the CO2 gas injection had stopped. In summary, small short-term CCS leakage events are likely to cause highly localised impacts on macrofaunal communities and there is the potential for rapid recovery to occur, depending on the characteristics of the communities and habitats impacted. This is a publication in QICS Special Issue - International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, Stephen Widdicombe et. al. Doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2015.01.003.

  • The response of the benthic microbial community to a controlled sub-seabed CO2 leak was assessed using quantitative PCR measurements of benthic bacterial, archaeal and cyanobacteria/chloroplast 16S rRNA genes. Samples were taken from four zones (epicentre; 25 m distant, 75 m distant and 450 m distant) during 6 time points (7 days before CO2 exposure, after 14 and 36 days of CO2 release, and 6, 20 and 90 days after the CO2 release had ended). Changes to the active community of microphytobenthos and bacteria were also assessed before, during and after CO2 release. Increases in the abundance of microbial 16S rRNA were detected after 14 days of CO2 release and at a distance of 25 m from the epicentre. CO2 related changes to the relative abundance of both major and minor bacterial taxa were detected: most notably an increase in the relative abundance of the Planctomycetacia after 14 days of CO2 release. Also evident was a decrease in the abundance of microbial 16S rRNA genes at the leak epicentre during the initial recovery phase: this coincided with the highest measurements of DIC within the sediment, but may be related to the release of potentially toxic metals at this time point. This is a publication in QICS Special Issue - International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, Karen Tait et. al. Doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2014.11.021.

  • Available methods for measuring the impact of ocean acidification (OA) and leakage from carbon capture and storage (CCS) on marine sedimentary pH profiles are unsuitable for replicated experimental setups. To overcome this issue, a novel optical sensor application is presented, using off-the-shelf optode technology (MOPP). The application is validated using microprofiling, during a CCS leakage experiment, where the impact and recovery from a high CO2 plume was investigated in two types of natural marine sediment. MOPP offered user-friendliness, speed of data acquisition, robustness to sediment type, and large sediment depth range. This ensemble of characteristics overcomes many of the challenges found with other pH measuring methods, in OA and CCS research. The impact varied greatly between sediment types, depending on baseline pH variability and sediment permeability. Sedimentary pH profile recovery was quick, with profiles close to control conditions 24 h after the cessation of the leak. However, variability of pH within the finer sediment was still apparent 4 days into the recovery phase. Habitat characteristics need therefore to be considered, to truly disentangle high CO2 perturbation impacts on benthic systems. Impacts on natural communities depend not only on the pH gradient caused by perturbation, but also on other processes that outlive the perturbation, adding complexity to recovery. This is a publication in QICS Special Issue - International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, Ana M. Queirós et. al. Doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2014.10.004.

  • The data set comprises hydrographic and biogeochemical and biological measurements including temperature, salinity, currents, chlorophyll, dissolved organic and inorganic carbon and nitrogen, suspended matter concentrations, nutrients, plankton and fish. The results of primary production experiments are also included. The data were collected from the Bristol Channel, Severn Estuary, Celtic Sea and Plymouth Sound between 1971 and 1983. Measurements were taken over a series of more than 100 cruises, many with more than 50 stations. The most intensive sampling took place before 1975. The original data were collated and stored at Institute for Marine Environmental Research (IMER), which became Plymouth Marine Laboratory in 1988. As this is a large and important data set, which was previously held in an inaccessible format, it was selected for long-term archival at BODC as part of the NERC SEEDCORN programme. The data have been extracted, loaded into a relational database and are available on CD-ROM.

  • This dataset comprises 38 hydrographic data profiles, collected by a conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) sensor package, during April - June 1999 along the Atlantic Meridional Transect (AMT) from the Falkland Islands to the UK. A complete list of all data parameters are described by the SeaDataNet Parameter Discovery Vocabulary (PDV) keywords assigned in this metadata record. The data were collected by the Plymouth Marine Laboratory as part of the Atlantic Meridional Transect (Phase 1) programme.

  • The Catlin Arctic Survey created a unique collaboration between scientists and explorers to undertake field research in the Arctic. Each Catlin Survey comprised of two principle parts. The 'Catlin Ice Base', which was a stationary scientific research base located off the northern coast of Canada; and the 'Explorer Team', comprising of a small long-range specialist team moving on foot from close to the North Geographic Pole towards Greenland. The Catlin Ice Base consisted of temporary polar shelters and tents erected on the sea ice off the coast of Ellef Ringnes Island, Nunavut, Canada, 78°46'27" N / 104°42'49" W. In 2010 and 2011 during the second and third Catlin Arctic Surveys, scientists and explorers examined the upper layers of the Arctic Ocean's water column. In parallel, scientists from the US, UK and Canada conducted experiments at a unique research station on the frozen Arctic Ocean with the support of experienced polar explorers and guides. These datasets (as .xls and .csv files) resulted from the work carried out at the Ice Base. Here a group, of up to 10 scientists and operational staff, were able to collect and analyze samples from under the sea ice as well as deploy heavier instrumentation up to a depth of 200 metres. Scientists at the ice base made measurements of temperature, salinity, total alkalinity, DIC, nutrients, chlorophyll, zooplankton community structure and physiological responses to elevated pCO2 levels. The Catlin Arctic Survey has enabled the monitoring, measuring and collection of information to improve scientific understanding of the processes involved in, and the impacts of, climate change. The scientists researched how changes within the seawater beneath the floating sea ice may be affecting powerful ocean currents that influence prevailing climate and weather patterns worldwide. These data were collected as part of the Catlin Arctic Survey funded by Catlin Ltd. and coordinated by Geo Mission Ltd. Participants were supported by a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) UK Fellowship, PML Lord Kingsland Fellowship, Ralph Brown Expedition Grant from the Royal Geographical Society, NERC's National Centre for Earth Observation, World Wildlife Fund for Nature and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

  • The CARBON-OPS data set comprises partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) and ancilliary parameters, measured aboard selected UK research vessels between 2007 and 2008. The parameter suite includes geographical position; partial pressure and fugacity of CO2; sea surface temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen concentration; air pressure, temperature and humidity; occasionally the parameter suite also includes fluorescence, transmittance, wind speed and direction. CARBON-OPS, led by Nick Hardman-Mountford at Plymouth Marine Laboratory, was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council under the Knowledge Transfer initiative (2007-2009). The aim of the project was to develop an automated supply chain of ocean surface and atmospheric carbon dioxide measurements from research ships to operational end-users. The data were first provided in near real-time following an initial level of automated quality control and processing. Following a secondary level of manual quality control and processing (delayed mode) the data are integrated into the BODC National Oceanographic Database. Measurements were taken aboard five UK research vessels: RRS Discovery, RRS James Clark Ross; RRS James Cook; RV Plymouth Quest; and RV Prince Madog.