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Determination of biogenic sterols in an Antarctic environment, over the last 20 years, and the relationship with recent environmental changes.

Grant number: 22/14244-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2023
Effective date (End): February 28, 2025
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Oceanography - Chemical Oceanography
Principal Investigator:Rafael Andre Lourenço
Grantee:Gabrielle Vieira Lube
Host Institution: Instituto Oceanográfico (IO). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The Antarctic Continent is considered one of the most untouched areas on the planet due to its geographical location and distance from populated regions. In recent decades, the Antarctic Peninsula has experienced a sharp rise in temperature, being higher than the global average. The main consequence of this change is linked to the loss of area and volume of the glaciers, generating a greater discharge of continental material to the glacial-marine environment, thus bringing changes in the dynamics of carbon in the area. Sterols are important biogeochemical tools used to understand the sources, transport and fate of organic compounds in the marine compartment, as well as acting as fingerprints of primary production at different time scales. Thus, the study will investigate the spatiotemporal distribution of biogenic sterols in samples of surface sediments and suspended particulate matter (SPM) along the three major inlets of Admiralty Bay, King George Island, Antarctica in the last two decades. With this, it will be possible to investigate the role of climate in the transfer of these compounds and, consequently, the possible effects of global warming in an environment more susceptible to climate change, such as Antarctica. Finally, sampling methods for analytical and instrumental analysis will be implemented and optimized. These tools will contribute to obtaining data for the global inventory of organic compounds, a theme that is in line with the Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty on Environmental Protection, with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), of the 2030 agenda, of the United Nations, and with the expected results for the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021 - 2030).

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