The investigation of water masses in the Benguela upwelling area is a central objective of the GENUS project. Where are the particular water masses originated, and what are their special properties? Physical parameters like temperature and salinity are measured, and supply information at which region of the South Atlantic the water masses are formed. Data about vertical stratification and currents are also of high importance to answer this question. Along a vertical profile the measurements span spatial scales from millimeters to some hundred meters and supply data about many different processes. Additionally, water samples are gathered at several depths during each cast with the CTD-Rosette. These water samples are analysed for further chemical and physical properties on board of the research vessel. Profile by profile evolves a larger picture of the oceanographic conditions in the upwelling area, and contributes to the understanding of the ecosystem as a whole.
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GENUS (Geochemistry and Ecology of the Namibian Upwelling System) aims to clarify relationships between climate change, biogeochemical cycles, and ecosystem structure in the large marine ecosystem of the northern Benguela/Namibian Coast (sout-west Africa). The coastal upwelling system has high seasonal and interannual variability in atmospheric forcing, in properties of water masses on the shelf offshore the Republic of Namibia, and in oxygen supply and demand on the shelf. In consequence, concentrations and ratios of nutrients in upwelling water and their CO2-content have steep gradients in space and time. In the past, significant and economically severe changes in ecosystem structure have occurred which are in part attributed to changes in physical forcing, translated to the ecosystem by oxygen dynamics.
The GENUS project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and is an endorsed project of the Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (IMBER)