GENUS aims to clarify relationships between climate change, biogeochemical cycles, and ecosystem structure in the large marine ecosystem of the northern Benguela/SW Africa. The coastal upwelling system has high seasonal and interannual variability in atmospheric forcing, in properties of water masses on the shelf offshore the Republic of Namibia, and in oxygen supply and demand on the shelf. In ... consequence, concentrations and ratios of nutrients in upwelling water and their CO2-content have steep gradients in space and time. In the past, significant and economically severe changes in ecosystem structure have occurred which are in part attributed to changes in physical forcing, translated to the ecosystem by oxygen dynamics.
The coastal upwelling system offers ideal conditions to address four scientific themes of relevance to IMBER goals: (1) Retrospective analyses of physical boundary conditions and biogeochemical cycles; (2) Identification of key processes/species and analysis of key rates of physical, biogeochemical and biological ecosystem components; (3) Quantifying feedback of trophic structures on biogeochemical cycles and (4) Simulations of interactions between shelf ecosystem – open ocean – atmosphere.