USGS scientists collect and redeploy Gulf of Mexico Sediment Trap

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USGS Scientist Julie Richey (USGS, Research Geologist) and collaborator from the University of South Carolina Eric Tappa will collect and redeploy the Gulf of Mexico Sediment Trap for the 22nd time, from February 26–28, 2019.

A sediment trap time series in the northern Gulf of Mexico is used to better assess the control of environmental variables (e.g., temperature and salinity) on the flux of both microfossils and molecular fossils to the sediments. The information gained from sediment trap studies is used to develop better proxy-based estimates of past oceanographic conditions from analyses of microfossils and molecular fossils in sediment cores. Scientists at the USGS are using a long-running sediment trap (2008–2019+) in the northern Gulf of Mexico to calibrate foraminifera, biomarker, and other micropaleontological proxies for use in climate reconstructions.

photos of sediment sampling, the R/V Pelican, and sediment analysis

Samples are recovered from the sediment trap once every 9-12 months. Cruises to recover and redeploy the mooring take place on the UNOLS vessel, R/V Pelican, operated by LUMCON, in Cocodrie, Louisianna. On these cruises water is collected for isotopic and trace metal analysis, as well as to measure parameters of the carbonate system (dissolved inorganic carbon, total alkalinity, pH). Sometimes live foraminifera are collected with a plankton net for additional geochemical and genetic analyses.

(Public domain.)

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Date published: February 27, 2018
Status: Active

Paleoceanographic Proxy Calibration

A sediment trap time series in the northern Gulf of Mexico is used to better assess the control of environmental variables (e.g., temperature and salinity) on the flux of both microfossils and molecular fossils to the sediments. The information gained from sediment trap studies is used to develop better proxy-based estimates of past oceanographic conditions from analyses of microfossils and ...