The role of ice sheets in global biogeochemical cycles
Once thought to be devoid of life, mounting evidence suggests that subglacial environments are incredibly active biogeochemical reactors that supply globally significant fluxes of labile, bio-essential nutrients including iron, phosphorus, nitrogen, silica and carbon to key ocean regions. Yet, the controls on the nature, magnitude and timing of these export fluxes and, as a consequence, their response to projected climate change are poorly understood. This knowledge gap is critical because it not only limits our ability to fully evaluate the role of ice sheets and glaciers in the evolution of global biogeochemical cycles and climate, but also the socio-economic impacts of alarming ice retreat.
Therefore, we develop and apply, in close collaboration with observationalists, novel mechanistic models to investigate biogeochemical dynamics on, in and beneath ice shields, to evaluate their role for global biogeochemical cycles, and their response to projected climate change.