Accumulation and transfer of contaminants at the atmosphere/water/plankton interfaces and within the planktonic trophic webs in the Mediterranean Sea
The MERITE-HIPPOCAMPE project aims to evaluate the accumulation and transfer of a great diversity of metallic and organic contaminants at the atmosphere/water/plankton interfaces and within the planktonic trophic webs, i.e., phyto-, zoo- and bacterio-plankton, in several areas of scientific and economic interests of the Mediterranean Sea. The specific objectives of the project are:
- To determine the concentration levels of contaminants in water, atmosphere and/or the various planktonic compartments (phyto-, zoo- and bacterio-plankton).
- To assess the role of dry/wet atmospheric deposition as source of contaminants for marine waters, especially in offshore areas.
- To apprehend the influence of plankton, in terms of size and community structure, trophic interactions and biochemical content, in the accumulation and transfer of contaminants.
- To establish the link between the habitat characteristics and the concentration levels of contaminants in plankton.
The project includes two actions:
- The HIPPOCAMPE oceanographic cruise conducted in spring (April-May) 2019 along a North-South transect (round trip) in the Mediterranean Sea, from the French coast (La Seyne-sur-mer, Northwestern Mediterranean) to the Gulf of Gabès in Tunisia (Southeastern Mediterranean) (Tedetti and Tronczynski, 2019; https://doi.org/10.17600/18000900). This cruise was dedicated to the collection of large quantities of plankton, particles, microplastics and water mainly in the deep chlorophyll maximum (DCM) and surface waters using plankton nets, pumping systems, and the CTD/carousel bottles. Wet (rain) atmospheric deposition were also during the cruise.
- The MERITE-Atmosphere action consisting in the (bi-monthly or monthly) collection from March 2019 to June 2020 of atmospheric total (dry and wet) deposition samples at two ground stations, located in the Northern part (Marseille) and Southern part (Sfax, Tunisia) of the Mediterranean basin. This to assess the potential importance of atmospheric deposition as source of contaminants for marine waters.
The MERITE-HIPPOCAMPE project has been proposed as part of the “Pollution & Contaminants” transverse axis of the CNRS-INSU MISTRALS program.