The Potential Impact of Saharan Dust and Polluted Aerosols on Microbial Populations in the East Mediterranean Sea, an Overview of a Mesocosm Experimental Approach

Barak Herut, Eyal Rahav, Tatiana M. Tsagaraki, Antonia Giannakourou, Anastasia Tsiola, Stella Psarra, Anna Lagaria, Nafsika Papageorgiou, Nikos Mihalopoulos, Christina N. Theodosi, Kalliopi Violaki, Eleni Stathopoulou, Michael Scoullos, Michael D. Krom, Anthony Stockdale, Zongbo Shi, Ilana Berman-Frank, Travis B. Meador, Tsuneo Tanaka, Pitta Paraskevi
  • Frontiers in Marine Science, November 2016, Frontiers Media SA
  • DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2016.00226

Saharan dust and pollution - effect on Mediterranean ecosystems

What is it about?

Both airborne pollution particles and Saharan dust changes by atmospheric acid may provide a source of nutrients (phosphorous and nitrogen) to the oceans. This process may be particularly important in the Eastern Mediterranean where these nutrients exist in only very low concentrations and this in turn limit the biology that needs these essential nutrients to live and reproduce.

Why is it important?

Large scale tank experiments were used for this study, where dust or pollution aerosols were added to monitor the biological effect. It was found that pollution aerosols triggered a relatively larger biological change compared to the Saharan dust additions. An implication of the study is that a warmer atmosphere in the future may increase dust storms and transport and thus provide an external source of new nutrients.

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The following have contributed to this page: Anthony Stockdale