Collaborative Research: U.S.-Brazil Planning Visit: Facilitating Collaborative Research on the Southern Brazilian Continental Shelf

Overview: This proposal, submitted to the Catalyzing New International Collaborations (CNIC) solicitation, requests funding for the travel of three U.S. researchers, two early career faculty members and one doctoral student, to Rio Grande, Brazil. This group would be hosted for two weeks by Dr. Luis Felipe Niencheski (Brazilian team leader), Dr. Karina Kammer Attisano (nutrient analyses) and Dr. Carlos Francisco Ferreira de Andrade (trace metal cycling) from the Federal University of Rio Grande (FURG). The group will participate in a planning meeting to design a multi-faceted, international research program to quantify and describe the input of freshwater, nutrients and trace metals to the southern Brazilian continental shelf from the Plata River plume, the Patos Lagoon outflow and submarine groundwater discharge from along the coastline. The participants will engage in seminars, workshops and field trips during the planning visit. This meeting will produce a collaborative research proposal to be submitted to the National Science Foundation Division of Ocean Sciences ? Chemical Oceanography (Solicitation PD 98-1670) for the February 15, 2015 deadline. Intellectual Merit : The follow up proposal will request support to conduct the first biogeochemical research program on the southern Brazil continental shelf. This region is home to a highly productive and economically important fishery which supports three nations. The hydrography is influenced by a complex oceanographic circulation regime which varies seasonally due to changes in wind stress. The transport of materials from the continent to the shelf is significantly impacted by freshwater inputs from the Rio de la Plata plume, the Patos Lagoon outflow and submarine groundwater discharge. The study will be focused to answer the following questions: 1) What are the relative contributions of the Plata Plume, Patos Lagoon and submarine ground water discharge of freshwater, nutrients and trace metals to the southern Brazilian continental shelf as determined by water mass tracers? 2) What is the seasonal effect of these sources on coastal water column dissolved and particulate trace element chemistry along the Southern Brazilian Continental Shelf? 3) Is there a significant leachable particulate trace metal fraction available for deposition on the shelf and supply micro-nutrients during upwelling? 4) What are the characteristics of Fe-binding ligands associated with plume waters? 5) Are iron isotopic signatures useful for quantifying processes in the Plata plume system? The future proposal from this group to research the impact of various freshwater sources to the Brazilian continental shelf will have results extending to larger research programs such as GEOTRACES. Broader Impacts : The Brazilian coastline in this region is sparsely populated and largely underdeveloped. With growing economic prosperity and pressure from rising populations, this area can expect significant development in coming decades. Development will cause significant changes in the flux and composition of material transported by surficial and groundwater freshwater flows. The research proposed as a result of this planning meeting will provide important knowledge which will aid in the prediction of the future environmental impacts from development. The most notable outcome of this proposal will be the development of collaborations between early career researchers in the U.S. with colleagues from Brazil who have a proven history of successful research efforts in the region. Brazilian scientists will benefit from the experience of the U.S. scientists in large research programs such as CLIVAR and GEOTRACES. A Ph.D. student from Coastal Carolina University will attend the meeting to participate directly in the development of a research project. This experience will prove valuable to the professional development of the student by participating in discussions to formulate a research project, developing project hypotheses and objectives and planning field and laboratory approaches to test the hypotheses.