The University of Groningen has received two of the four research grants awarded by NWO for research on the West Antarctic Peninsula. The grants were awarded to Anita Buma of the Energy and Sustainability Research Institute Groningen (ESRIG) and
Jacqueline Stefels of the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies (CEES). This is the second time that NWO will fund research on the West Antarctic Peninsula, and also the second time that Buma and Stefels have successfully applied for grants.
The West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) is one of the fastest warming regions on Earth and Buma will be investigating changes in the marine ecosystem. The production of algae that form the basis of the food chain seems to be decreasing in certain areas of the WAP, and Buma aims to prove this by means of advanced fluorescence measurements. Stefels aims to find out whether the disappearance of sea ice due to climate change has a self-reinforcing effect. To this end she will study the role of sea ice in the capturing of CO2 and the production of the climate-cooling gas dimethylsulfide.
Since the winter of 2012/2013 the Netherlands has had its own research facility: the Dirck Gerritsz laboratory, built on the British Rothera research station and funded by the Netherlands Polar Programme. Both Buma and Stefels conducted research at this unique location last winter.
The University of Groningen is very successful when it comes to polar research, conducting research in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions. The researchers work together in the Willem Barentsz Polar Institute, a national networking organization that aims to encourage collaboration among polar researchers and promote Dutch polar research.
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