Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research

Laura Korte

Ocean Systems (OCS)
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Geert-Jan Brummer


  • Sedimentology
  • Oceanography
  • Geochemistry

 Research Interests

  • Atmospheric science with main interest in Saharan dust
  • Biogeochemistry with main interest in particle fluxes and composition in the ocean
  • Oceanography


Current project

The marine environmental effect of Saharan-dust deposition in the Atlantic Ocean

Million tons of Saharan dust are deposited into the Atlantic every year. This brings both refractory lithogenic material and new nutrients into the system, affecting primary production and particle export that transfers CO2 from the surface into the deep ocean.

① The wind blows dust through the atmosphere

② Dust minerals contain nutrients and metals which are processed in the atmosphere

③ Dust is deposited into the ocean - wet or dry deposition

④ Nutrients may be released into the water

⑤ Bioavailable fraction is used by the phytoplankton

⑥ Phytoplankton conducts photosynthesis and consume CO2

⑦ Phytoplankton is eaten by zooplankton

⑧ Dead cells and fecal pellets aggregate & sink to the bottom

⑨ Remaining organic matter settles out the water column and reaches the ocean floor

⑩ CO2 is sequestered

In order to determine the fluxes involved, an array of sediment traps were moored at 1200 m and 3500 m depth at five stations along a transect at approximately 12⁰N to monitor settling particle fluxes for three years. Every year these sediment traps were serviced.


Research cruises

  • November - December 2013, RV Pelagia (64PE378), Traffic II Transatlantic Fluxes of Saharan dust
  • January - February 2015, RV Pelagia (64PE395), Dusttraffic III Transatlantic Fluxes of Saharan dust
  • March - April 2016, RSS James Cook (JC134), Dusttraffic IV Transatlantic Fluxes of Saharan dust



at present: PhD student Royal NIOZ (DUSTTRAFFIC project)

2010 - 2013: MSc at the University of Bremen with specialisation in Isotope Geochemistry

  • 2012 - 2013 Student Research Assistant at the Isotope Geochemistry Research Group
  • September/October 2011 Geoscientific Project at the University of Florida
  • 2010 - 2012 Student Research Assistant at the Hydrology/Geochemistry Research Group

2006 - 2009: BSc at the University of Münster with specialisation in Sedimentology and Hydrogeology


Honors & Awards

  • ISAR Travel grant (ICAR VIII, International Conference on Aeolian Research in Lanzhou, China)
  • DUST2014 Poster Prize



Korte, L. F., Brummer, G. J. A., van der Does, M., Guerreiro, C. V., Hennekam, R., van Hateren, J. A., Jong, D., Munday, C. I., Schouten, S., and Stuut, J. B. W.: Downward particle fluxes of biogenic matter and Saharan dust across the equatorial North Atlantic, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 6023-6040, 10.5194/acp-17-6023-2017, 2017.

Guerreiro, C. V.,  Baumann, K. H., Brummer, G. J. A., Fischer, G., Korte, L. F., Merkel, U., Sá, C. de Stigter, H. Stuut, J. B. W.: Coccolithophore fluxes in the open tropical North Atlantic: influence of thermocline depth, Amazon water, and Saharan dust, Biogeosciences 14(20): 4577-4599, 2017.

Van der Does, M., Korte, L. F., Munday, C. I., Brummer, G. J. A., and Stuut, J. B. W.: Particle size traces modern Saharan dust transport and deposition across the equatorial North Atlantic, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 13697-13710, 10.5194/acp-16-13697-2016, 2016.


Linked blogs

Thursday 01 March 2018
Dust storm on Texel
The extreme weather conditions (prolonged lack of rain and continuous gale-force winds) cause the top soils of pastures to be blown off. Even on Texel we have dust storms!
Sunday 26 November 2017
Biomarkers in Saharan dust
A new paper by Laura Schreuder and colleagues presents new data on terrestrial higher-plant biomarkers found in aerosols and marine sediments sampled along the DUSTTRAFFIC transatlantic array of sediment traps as well as in seafloor sediments.
Friday 20 October 2017
Saharan dust and Amazon freshwaters cause algal blooms
New findings suggest that both Saharan dust and freshwater from the Amazon may have led to algal blooms in the western equatorial Atlantic Ocean. Those are the conclusions of a new paper published by Catarina Guerreiro and colleagues in the…
Tuesday 17 October 2017
Dust (and smoke) is in the air!
Cyclone Ophelia draws Sahara dust and Iberian smoke to northern Europe
Sunday 10 September 2017
New dust paper published by Carmen Friese
The manuscript by Carmen Friese (MARUM) has now been published as "full" paper in the open-access journal Atmospheric Chemistry & Physics. The paper is entitled: "Seasonal provenance changes in present-day Saharan dust collected in and off…
Friday 18 August 2017
Expedition STRATIPHYT-17
An ad-hoc cruise where an interdisciplinary team will build on earlier obtained knowledge during the STRATIPHYT project, but where we will also investigate new ideas, and collect samples for others that cannot join the cruise. The team consists of 3…
Monday 03 July 2017
Dust outbreaks are most often impressive events. One of the most spectacular dust storms is the so-called "haboob". Although initially described in Sudan, Africa, they have also been observed in other dry areas. Last week, a spectacular haboob in…
Thursday 22 June 2017
Australian dust cycle
The Australian dust cycle is a "natural laboratory" for the production of mineral dust. Nowhere else on the planet is the process so clearly visible and chances are that in a few months, huge dust outbreaks will happen again!
Wednesday 14 June 2017
New dust paper by Catarina Guerreiro accepted in Biogeosciences
New dust paper by Catarina Guerreiro accepted for Biogeosciences Discussions
Tuesday 13 June 2017
Saharan dust outbreak
A huge dust outbreak occurred off NW Africa, which was registered by our buoys!

NIOZ publications