Scientific objectives

The objectives of Expedition 323 are as follows:

    1. To elucidate a detailed evolutionary history of climate and surface ocean conditions since the earliest Pliocene in the Bering Sea, where amplified high-resolution changes of climatic signals are recorded;
    2. To shed light on temporal changes in the origin and intensity of NPIW and possibly deeper water mass formation in the Bering Sea;
    3. To characterize the history of continental glaciation, river discharges, and sea ice formation in order to investigate the link between continental and oceanic conditions of the Bering Sea and adjacent land areas;
    4. To investigate linkages through comparison to pelagic records between ocean/climate processes that occur in the more sensitive marginal sea environment and processes that occur in the North Pacific and/or globally. This objective includes evaluating how the ocean/climate history of the Bering Strait gateway region may have affected North Pacific and global conditions; and
    5. To constrain global models of subseafloor biomass and microbial respiration by quantifying subseafloor cell abundance and pore water chemistry in an extremely high productivity region of the ocean. We also aim to determine how subseafloor community composition is influenced by high productivity in the overlying water column.