Introduction to the Biogeochemistry from the Oligotrophic to the Ultraoligotrophic Mediterranean (BOUM) experiment
The overall goal of the BOUM (Biogeochemistry from the Oligotrophic to the Ultraoligotrophic Mediterranean) experiment was to obtain a better representation of the interactions between planktonic organisms and the cycle of biogenic elements in the Mediterranean Sea (MS), in the context of global climate change and, more particularly, on the role of the ocean in carbon sequestration through biological processes. The BOUM experiment was organized around three main objectives: (1) to give a longitudinal description of the biogeochemistry and the biological diversity of the MS during the strongest stratified period, (2) to study processes at the centre of three anticyclonic eddies, and (3) to obtain a representation of the main biogeochemical fluxes and the dynamics of the planktonic trophic network. The international BOUM cruise took place between 16 June and 20 July 2008, involved 32 scientists on board, and covered around 3000 km in the MS from the south of Cyprus to Marseilles (France). This paper describes in detail the objectives of the BOUM experiment, the implementation plan of the cruise before giving an introduction of the 25 other papers published in this special issue.