Canada Excellence Research Chair in Arctic Geomicrobiology and Climate Change Søren Rysgaard leads a research team at the very forefront of knowledge about the causes and consequences of global warming. An expert in sea ice and benthos (organisms living in or around the seabed), Rysgaard, along with fellow University of Manitoba scientists at the Centre for Earth Observation Science, is exploring microbial activity and chemical transformations within sea ice and ocean sediments as they occur. His team will be the first to intensely investigate the Arctic at the micro-scale.
Although it was once thought that nothing happened in the cold sea ice, research is now showing many processes at work, and that these activities appear to be increasing as the ice warms. Rysgaard is particularly interested in the chemistry between newly discovered minerals found in sea ice, salts and carbon dioxide. His recent research suggests sea ice is the key to removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
In co-operation with ArcticNet, Canada's umbrella organization of arctic study groups, Rysgaard's research promises to position Canada as the global leader in understanding changing Arctic ecosystems. His study of biogeochemical transformations of carbon in sea ice will have a direct impact on the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and, therefore, the rate of climate change.
Besides offering new insights into current and future Arctic marine ecosystems and their changing sea ice habitats, Rysgaard's work is also providing tools for assessing Arctic resource development, sustainable development of these resources, and impacts on northern peoples.