DELAQUA: Climate Change into Perspective
Using various biological indicators found in sediments core, scientists participating in the DELAQUA project are trying to put current climate change in Antarctica in perspective with the natural variability of Earth climate.
"Recent climate changes in some parts of Antarctica appear to be unique and isolated phenomena when transposed to the 4 millennia context of climate history. The DELAQUA project attempts to place current climate change in the context of the Earth's natural variability," explains Dr. Verleyen.
"To do this, we use biological indicators such as pigments and organic material in lake sediment cores to study past climate changes. By analyzing the microorganisms using microscopy and fossil DNA we are also able to assess the impact of climate and environmental changes on these organisms. Interestingly, a large amount of the microorganisms we find are endemic to Antarctica and occur nowhere else on the planet."
In order to find these microorganisms, Elie Verleyen will drill sediment cores into the bottom of lakes with the help of researchers from the British Antarctic Survey.
The DELAQUA research project is deployed in collaboration with other international initiatives such as the British Antarctic Survey's CACHE PEP project (Natural climate variability -extending the Americas palaeoclimate transect through the Antarctic Peninsula to the Pole) and the EBA (Evolution of Biology in the Antarctic) program of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research.
Picture: The DELAQUA team collecting in-field data - © International Polar Foundation