Dr. Castro Morales leads the project PROPERAQUA (Primary Productivity in Permafrost Influenced Ecosystems of the Arctic) that is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). This project aims to investigate the spatial and seasonal changes of the aquatic net community production in the main channel and smaller streams of Kolyma River in Northeast Siberia, Sakha Republic in Russia. In this project, highly temporal and spatially resolved measurements of the climate relevant gases CO2, CH4 and O2 are done with state-of-the-art instrumentation. In addition, dissolved oxygen isotopic data and a suit of aquatic measurements are also done during the seasonal transition from spring to summer.
Because of rising atmospheric temperatures in the Arctic and thawing of permafrost, the interaction between rivers and land ecosystems is being altered as a result of increasing leaching of permafrost carbon. The ecological effects in Arctic rivers due higher loads of terrestrial carbon are still unknown, in particular the changes in the carbon sources and sinks that ultimately will impact the local primary producers. This project will provide insights in the contemporary regional Arctic biogeochemical cycles under the pressure of changes in the climate and will contribute with a better understanding on the contribution of the land-aquatic continuum to the global Carbon balance.
This is a collaborative project with colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, the University of East Anglia in UK, the GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel and the Institute for Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry at FSU. Together we partner in this cross-disciplinary project where we combine terrestrial and aquatic methodologies (from limnology and oceanography), as well as observations and models.