Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research

Dr. Furu Mienis

Tenure track Scientist
Phone number
+31 (0)222 369 391
Location
Texel
Department
Ocean Systems (OCS)
Function
Tenure track Scientist

Expertise

  • Biogeosciences
  • Sedimentology
  • Particle transport processes
  • Carbon cycling

Research interests

My research fits at the interplay between sedimentology, ecology and physical oceanography. It focuses on understanding environmental conditions and dynamics that influence the functioning of often vulnerable ecosystems in the deep sea (e.g. cold-water coral reefs, sponge grounds, canyons). I mainly focus on the identification of transport and (food) particle supply mechanisms to the deep-sea. Using benthic observatories I measure vertical and lateral particle supply and transport in the benthic boundary layer near deep-sea ecosystems. Subsequently, the knowledge of recent conditions is applied to reconstruct environmental conditions in the past using sediment cores.

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Current projects

BYPASS? - The unknown role of Submarine canyons – Pathways or sinks for Organic Carbon?

Whereas it is clear that on geological timescales the marine carbon cycle controls global carbon partitioning and hence atmospheric pCO2, carbon fluxes within the marine domain remain poorly constrained. Although Earth System Models take into account vertical organic carbon fluxes in the ocean, lateral transport pathways are seriously understudied and therefore not included in such models. Multiple studies indicate that lateral transport actually plays a dominant role in organic matter fluxes from continental margins to the deep ocean. Most of this lateral transport is probably channelled through so-called submarine canyons, which provide effective connections between productive shelf waters and the nutrient-poor deep-sea. Moreover, submarine canyons not only provide effective conduits, but also their steep and irregular topography interacts with hydrography, resulting in enhanced turbulence and mixing that affects organic matter dispersal, remineralization and potentially even retention. The heterogeneity of canyons provides a multitude of habitats for deep-sea fauna, which play a significant role in remineralisation processes. These so far unquantified pathways urgently need to be constrained to provide crucial boundary conditions for Earth System Models, and hence better prediction of future climate change. Therefore, I here propose to establish a process based understanding of the role of submarine canyons in deep-sea carbon pathways, using a multidisciplinary approach. Deep-sea benthic observatories equipped with novel instruments will be deployed to capture physical processes that govern particle transport at all relevant time scales. Particle fluxes and biogeochemical properties will be determined to distinguish between fresh and refractory carbon. These will be related to community respiration of biodiversity hotpots within canyons to establish remineralisation rates. Especially in a fast changing world it is crucially important to understand transport, sequestration and remineralisation processes, as these underlay carbon fluxes between surface and deep ocean and hence potentially have both positive and negative feedbacks on climate change.

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SponGES - Deep-sea Sponge Grounds Ecosystems of the North Atlantic: an integrated approach towards their preservation and sustainable exploitation

The objective of SponGES is to develop an integrated ecosystem-based approach to preserve and sustainably use vulnerable sponge ecosystems of the North Atlantic. The SponGES consortium, an international and interdisciplinary collaboration of research institutions, environmental non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, will focus on one of the most diverse, ecologically and biologically important and vulnerable marine ecosystems of the deep-sea - sponge grounds – that to date have received very little research and conservation attention. Our approach will address the scope
and challenges of EC’s Blue Growth Call by strengthening the knowledge base, improving innovation, predicting changes, and providing decision support tools for management and sustainable use of marine resources. SponGES will fill knowledge gaps on vulnerable sponge ecosystems and provide guidelines for their preservation and sustainable exploitation. North Atlantic deep-sea sponge grounds will be mapped and characterized, and a geographical information system on sponge grounds will be developed to determine drivers of past and present distribution. Diversity, biogeographic and connectivity
patterns will be investigated through a genomic approach. Function of sponge ecosystems and the goods and services they provide, e.g. in habitat provision, bentho-pelagic coupling and biogeochemical cycling will be identified and quantified. This project will further unlock the potential of sponge grounds for innovative blue biotechnology namely towards drug discovery and tissue engineering. It will improve predictive capacities by quantifying threats related to fishing, climate change, and local disturbances. SpongeGES outputs will form the basis for modeling and predicting future ecosystem dynamics under environmental changes. SponGES will develop an adaptive ecosystem-based management plan that enables conservation
and good governance of these marine resources on regional and international levels.

More information about the project can be found at http://www.deepseasponges.org or follow us on facebook @deep-sea sponges

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SHADOW - Measuring the ‘shadow’ of artificial structures in the North Sea and its effect on the surrounding soft bottom community

Artificial structures in the North Sea offer hard substrate to a rich and diverse epifauna in an area covered by soft sediment. The protected no-trawling zones around the offshore installations form a refuge for vulnerable soft sediment fauna. On basis of the high biomass of epifauna found on artificial structures, we hypothesize that this epifauna community acts as biofilter depleting primary organic matter in the water column while producing feaces, nutrients, dissolved organics, and propagules (larvae). In doing so the epifauna on the structures cast a “shadow” around the installation where physico-chemical conditions and the particle flux are altered. The altered particle flux in turn will have an effect on the benthic ecosystem around the installation. This effect will become less pronounced in deeper water due to general attenuation of the particle flux. Through production of propagules (larvae) the epifauna community contributes to persistence of rare and endangered species in the heavily trawled North Sea. To test our hypotheses, we aim to: 1) measure concentrations and fluxes of particles (organic matter, larvae) and solutes (nutrients, dissolved organic matter) around an offshore installation in a shallow vs deep setting, 2) measure impacts on the surrounding benthic community through community parameters (biomass, respiration), 3) model the “shadow” effect on the basis of observations and existing data, and 4) identify and quantify the production of propagules. Above will be accomplished by a combination of lab studies, short-term field studies, and long-term deployment of particle traps.

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CV

2012-2015 Postdoctoral Researcher Royal NIOZ

VENI-NWO - Cold-water coral ecosystems: carbon sinks in the deep sea and BOEM canyons project - Pathways to the abyss

Member of the executive organising committee of the 5th International Symposium on Deep-Sea Corals (ISDSC 5), which was held 1-6 April 2012, Amsterdam and guest editor Deep Sea Research II Special issue "Cold Corals" (Proceedings of ISDSC 5)

2010-2012 Post-doc at MARUM, Bremen University (research fellowship)

2008-2010: Post-doctoral researcher (NIOZ), Project MiCROSYSTEMS, Microbial Diversity and Functionality in Cold-Water Coral Reef Ecosystems

2003-2008: PhD-student (NIOZ) working on the MOUNDFORCE project, Environmental Constraints on Cold-water Coral Growth and Carbonate Mound Formation.

1998-2003: Study geology (M.Sc.) at the VU University (Vrije Universiteit) Amsterdam - with specialisation in sedimentology and environmental analysis.

Research cruises

  • 28 August - 8 September, M.L. Black, SponGES, Vazella grounds on the Canadian margin
  • 19 July - 6 August, GO Sars, SponGES, deep-sea sponge grounds at the Norwegian margin
  • 12-29 May 2017, RV Pelagia (Chief scientist), BYPASS? - particle transport processes in Whittard Canyon
  • 24 April - 11 May 2017, RV Pelagia, ATLAS - cold-water coral research at Rockall Bank
  • 17 July - 8 August 2016, GO Sars, SponGES deployment of bottom observatory at Schultz Massif
  • 7-12 May 2016, RV Pelagia (Chief Scientist), SHADOW - measuring the influence of man made structures in the North Sea, sediment and water sampling, deployment of landers and moorings
  • 4-30 April 2015, RV Pelagia, TREASURE, Rainbow vent site (mid oceanic ridge), deep sea mining
  • 4-16 October 2013, RV Pelagia (Chief scientist), CORALS2013, Logachev mound area, biodiversity, (near-bed) hydrodynamic controls, sedimentology, recovery bottom lander
  • 19-28 August 2013, RV Nancy Foster, Mid Atlantic Canyons Cruise, Baltimore and Norfolk Canyon, US margin
  • 1-28 October 2012, RV Pelagia (Chief scientist), CORALS2012, Logachev mound area, biodiversity, (near-bed) hydrodynamic controls, sedimentology, recovery and deployment bottom landers
  • 15-30 August 2012, RV Nancy Foster, Mid Atlantic Canyons Cruise, Baltimore and Norfolk Canyon, US margin
  • 22-29 March 2011, RV Justo Sierra, HOLOVAR, Yucatan Strait, Gulf of Mexico, sediment cores
  • 27 May-10 June 2010, RV Pelagia (Chief scientist), TRACOS cruise Cape Lookout cold-water coral area, US margin, biodiversity, geology and hydrodynamic controls, recovery benthic landers
  • 1-9 December 2009, RV Cape Hatteras, NOAA-USGS cruise to the carbonate mounds on the North Carolina margin, deployment of benthic landers and mooring
  • 13-26 September 2009, RV Seward Johnson, NOAA-USGS cruise to the Gulf of Mexico, dives with the submersible Johnson Sealink II, bottom sampling and recovery of landers
  • 5-16 October 2008, RV Nancy Foster, NOAA-USGS cruise to GoM, study distribution of cold-water corals on the Viosca Knoll
  • 20 October-9 November 2006, RV Pelagia (co-chief scientist), Esonet/Move! Gulf of Cadiz, test of new pan/tilt video system and the MOVE!
  • 19 June-7 July 2006, RV Pelagia, Hermes, SW RT margin, recovery of BOBO lander, CTD profiling, sediment and water column sampling in cooperation with marine ecologists
  • 18 May-19 June 2005, RV Pelagia (co-chief scientist), Microsystems, Gulf of Cadiz, Penduick escarpment. Study of fossil cold-water coral carbonate mounds
  • 26 February-15 March 2005, RRS Discovery, Mozambique Channel, long term observations on the hydrography and sediment sampling of the Western margin of the Mozambique Channel
  • 15 August-9 September 2004, RV Pelagia (co-chief scientist), Moundforce Gulf of Cadiz and SW RT margin, Study of carbonate mound development
  • 11-31 October 2003, RV Pelagia, Portuguese margin, Setubal and Nazare canyons, sediment dispersal in submarine canyons of the Portuguese Atlantic margin
  • 24 July-19 August 2003, RV Pelagia, Moundforce SW Rockall Trough margin, Study of carbonate mound development
  • 21 June-14 July 2002, RV Pelagia, TOBI side scan sonar survey Rockall Trough margins
  • 25 June – 9 July 2001, RV Pelagia, Cold-water corals along the Rockall Trough margins, Study of carbonate mound development

Linked blogs

Sunday 28 May 2017
NIOZ@Sea: Whittard Canyon Expedition
The unknown role of Submarine canyons – Pathways or sinks for Organic Carbon? Follow the blogs of NIOZ researchers aboard R.V. Pelagia as they cruise the Whittard Canyon complex situated in the Bay of Biscay.
Sunday 07 May 2017
NIOZ@Sea: Rockall Bank Expedition
Surviving in a Deep-Sea Desert – Uncovering the Functioning of Cold-Water Coral Reefs in the Deep Ocean

NIOZ publications

  • 2017
    Brooke, S.D.; Watts, M.W.; Heil, A.D.; Rhode, M.; Mienis, F.; Duineveld, G.C.A.; Davies, A.J.; Ross, S.W. (2017). Distributions and habitat associations of deep-water corals in Norfolk and Baltimore Canyons, Mid-Atlantic Bight, USA. Deep-Sea Res., Part II, Top. Stud. Oceanogr. A137: 131–147. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr2.2016.05.008
    Demopoulos, A.W.J.; McClain-Counts, J.; Ross, S.W.; Brooke, S.; Mienis, F. (2017). Food-web dynamics and isotopic niches in deep-sea communities residing in a submarine canyon and on the adjacent open slopes. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 578: 19-33. https://dx.doi.org/10.3354/meps12231
  • 2016
    Cyr, F.; van Haren, H.; Mienis, F.; Duineveld, G.; Bourgault, D. (2016). On the influence of cold-water coral mound size on flow hydrodynamics, and vice versa. Geophys. Res. Lett. 43: 775-783. dx.doi.org/10.1002/2015GL067038
    Mienis, F.; Duineveld, G.; shipboard scientific crew (2016). Cruise Report Cruise 64PE409, Texel‐Texel, 7‐12 May 2016, R.V. Pelagia. INSITE Measuring the ‘shadow’ of artificial structures in the North Sea and its effect on the surrounding soft bottom community (SHADOW). NIOZ: Texel. 28 pp.
    Prouty, N.G.; Campbell, P.L.; Mienis, F.; Duineveld, G.; Demopoulos, A.W.J.; Ross, S.W.; Brooke, S. (2016). Impact of Deepwater Horizon spill on food supply to deep-sea benthos communities. Est., Coast. and Shelf Sci. 169: 248-264. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2015.11.008
  • 2015
    van Bleijswijk, J.D.L.; Whalen, C.; Duineveld, G.C.A.; Lavaleye, M.S.S.; Witte, H.J.; Mienis, F (2015). Microbial assemblages on a cold-water coral mound at the SE Rockall Bank (NE Atlantic): interactions with hydrography and topography. Biogeosciences 12(14): 4493-4496. dx.doi.org/10.5194/bg-12-4483-2015
  • 2014
    Eisele, M.; Frank, N.; Wienberg, C.; Titschack, J.; Mienis, F; Beuck, L.; Tisnerat-Laborde, N.; Hebbeln, D. (2014). Sedimentation patterns on a cold-water coral mound off Mauritania. Deep-Sea Res., Part II, Top. Stud. Oceanogr. 99: 307-315. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.07.004
    Mienis, F; Duineveld, G.C.A.; Lavaleye, M.S.S.; van Weering, T.C.E. (2014). Proceedings ISDSC5. Deep-Sea Res., Part II, Top. Stud. Oceanogr. 99: 1-5. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.10.003
    Mienis, F. (2014). Oases in de diepzee. Cah. Bio.- Wet. Maatsch. kwartaal 2: 54-55
    Mienis, F.; Duineveld, G.C.A.; Davis, A.J.; Lavaleye, M.M.S.; Rosso, S.W.; Seim, H.; Bane, J.; van Haren, H.; Bergman, M.J.N.; de Haas, H.; Brooke, S.; van Weering, T.C.E. (2014). Cold-water coral growth under extreme environmental conditions, the Cape Lookout area, NW Atlantic. Biogeosciences 11: 2543-2560. hdl.handle.net/doi:10.5194/bg-11-2543-2014
    Mohn, C.; Rengstorf, A.; White, M.; Mienis, F.; Soetaert, K.; Grehan, A.; Duineveld, G. (2014). Linking benthic hydrodynamics and cold-water coral occurrences: A high-resolution model study at three cold-water coral provinces in the NE Atlantic. Prog. Oceanogr. 122: 92-104. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2013.12.003
    Prouty, N.G.; Roark, E.B.; Koenig, A.E.; Demopoulos, A.W.J.; Batista, F.C.; Kocar, B.D.; Selby, D.; McCarthy, M.D.; Mienis, F. (2014). Deep-sea coral record of human impact on watershed quality in the Mississippi River Basin. Global Biogeochem. Cycles 28(1): 29-43. dx.doi.org/10.1002/2013GB004754
    Smeulders, G.G.B.; Koho, K.A.; de Stigter, H.C.; Mienis, F.; de Haas, H.; van Weering, T.C.E. (2014). Cold-water coral habitats of Rockall and Porcupine Bank, NE Atlantic Ocean: Sedimentary facies and benthic foraminiferal assemblages. Deep-Sea Res., Part 2, Top. Stud. Oceanogr. 99: 270-285. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.10.001
    van der Land, C.; Eisele, M.; Mienis, F; de Haas, H.; Hebbeln, D.; Reijmer, J.J.G.; van Weering, T.C.E. (2014). Carbonate mound development in contrasting settings on the Irish margin. Deep-Sea Res., Part 2, Top. Stud. Oceanogr. 99: 297-306. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.10.004
    van Haren, H.; Mienis, F; Duineveld, G.C.A.; Lavaleye, M.S.S. (2014). High-resolution temperature observations of a trapped nonlinear diurnal tide influencing cold-water corals on the Logachev mounds. Prog. Oceanogr. 125: 16-25. hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.pocean.2014.04.021
  • 2012
    Mienis, F.; De Stigter, H.C.; de Haas, H.; van der Land, C.; van Weering, T.C.E. (2012). Hydrodynamic conditions in a cold-water coral mound area on the Renard Ridge, southern Gulf of Cadiz. J. Mar. Syst. 96-97: 61-71. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmarsys.2012.02.002
  • 2011
    van der Land, C.; Mienis, F.; de Haas, H.; de Stigter, H.C.; Swennen, R.; Reijmer, J.J.G.; van Weering, T.C.E. (2011). Paleo-redox fronts and their formation in carbonate mound sediments from the Rockall Trough. Mar. Geol. 284(1-4): 86-95. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.margeo.2011.03.010
    Van Rooij, D.; Blamart, D.; De Mol, L.; Mienis, F.; Pirlet, H.; Wehrmann, L. M.; Barbieri, R.; Maignien, L.; Templer, S. P.; de Haas, H.; Hebbeln, D.; Frank, N.; Larmagnat, S.; Stadnitskaia, A.; Stivaletta, N.; van Weering, T.; Zhang, Y.; Hamoumi, N.; Cnudde, V.; Duyck, P.; Henriet, J.-P.; The MiCROSYSTEMS MD 169 Shipboard Party (2011). Cold-water coral mounds on the Pen Duick Escarpment, Gulf of Cadiz: The MiCROSYSTEMS project approach. Mar. Geol. 282(1-2): 102-117. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.margeo.2010.08.012

Linked projects