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Current projects

DFG Research Training Group Baltic TRANSCOAST

BluES - Blue_Estuaries - Developing estuaries as habitable sustainable ecosystem despite climate change and stress

N-Amazon: Forschungsfahrt METEOR M174 (GPF 19-1-13)

MeN-ARP : Metabolismus des Stickstoffs in der Amazonasfahne und dem westlichen, tropischen Nordatlantik (MeNARP)

NOTION: Nitrogen fixers structuring phytoplankton biodiversity in the ocean under climate change

The DFG Research Training Group "Baltic TRANSCOAST" – understanding the coastal ecocline

Baltic TRANSCOAST follows a comprehensive and innovative qualification plan to offer early stage researchers an excellent education in several fields in the marine and terrestrial sciences, advised by leading scientists. The PhD students will gain wide and inter-disciplinary expertise in coastal research.

Baltic TRANSCOAST investigates the hydrodynamic, (bio)geochemical and biological processes at the interface between land and sea. Globally, coastal zones are the regions that are most transformed and used by man. A fundamental understanding of flat coastal areas, which are characterised by intensive interactions between land and sea, is essential for developing sustainable management strategies.

Baltic TRANSCOAST addresses, in interdisciplinary research topics, the water and matter fluxes in and between a coastal peatland and the adjacent shallow sea as well as the interactions with the biota. Rostock as a research location is well suited for inter-disciplinary research because biologists, chemists, physicists and environmental scientists of three faculties of the University of Rostock as well as of the Leibniz institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde (IOW) are working closely together.

Contact: Dr. Maren Voß

BluES - Blue_Estuaries - Developing estuaries as habitable sustainable ecosystem despite climate change and stress

Project BluEs sponsored by BMBFA comprehensive study of the effects of stressors such as eutrophication, pollutant input, sediment shifting and heat waves on the biota of the two largest German estuaries Oder (Baltic Sea) and Elbe (North Sea) is being carried out by a group of scientists, representatives of authorities and nature conservationists. Both estuaries suffer from climate change and human activities, including dredging of fairways, which cause sediment loss, turbidity, and the release of nutrients and pollutants. The BluEs project will study the effects of stressors on food webs, and nutrient cycles through fieldwork, laboratory experiments and modeling.
At the IOW, functional diversity will be studied using the isotope of amino acids and in close coordination with the ecology of the fish and seabird species studied. The history and current eutrophication situation is reconstructed for the Oder and Elbe estuaries with sediment and nutrient data of the nitrogen isotopes. The control variables in the estuaries will be identified using network analyses combining as much data as possible from experiments and field studies to identify approaches for optimized management. The involvement of different stakeholders throughout the project will ensure the transfer of knowledge and scientifically based recommendations for sustainable development of estuarine systems.

Contact: Dr. Maren Voß

MeN-ARP : Metabolismus des Stickstoffs in der Amazonasfahne und dem westlichen, tropischen Nordatlantik (MeNARP)

Estuaries critically control the export of allochthonous nutrients to the ocean. The Amazon River contributes nearly one fifth of the global riverine freshwater input to the ocean and the drainage basins is impact by human activities. The tremendous outflow of water and nutrients into the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean Sea has recently been linked to massive blooms of Sargassum in these areas. Light and different nitrogen (N) species control the production of photo- and heterotrophs (in the following trophic functional groups: TFGs) in the different habitats along the river plume. However, the role of allochthonous N for the production in different pelagic habitats along the plume is still unclear. Discordant lines of evidence suggest that all or none of the allochthonous N reaches the open ocean. We therefore want to quantify the N processes and the involved TFGs that can lead to retention of allochthonous N or to its export beyond these areas.

First, a detailed examination of the effects of allochthonous N considering food webs and nutrient biogeochemistry will be achieved for the different habitats. Based on dedicated experiments during the project`s cruise (M174) the understanding for complex relationships will be studied including the regulation of the planktonic food web structure. The ultimate goal is to generate a data based characterization of the habitats along the plume to improve estimations of carbon sequestration and N export. This will be achieved by translating the empirical data into feasible modeling instructions for biogeochemical models developed in close cooperation with partners of the project.

Contakt: Dr. Maren Voß

N-Amazon: Forschungsfahrt METEOR M174 (GPF 19-1-13)

Blog to cruise METEOR M-174The Amazon River is the largest river on earth and delivers 20% of global. Despite large seasonal variations in the outflow and inorganic nutrient concentrations, these impact the productivity along the northward spreading river plume and shape the phyto- and zooplankton communities. Higher tropic level organisms have to adapt to the varying food sources.
During the field program we will link direct measurements of hydrographic properties with focused experimental studies of nutrient supply and nutrient limitation of phytoplankton, as well as the transfer of phytoplankton nitrogen to the zooplankton food web. Species ecology will be evaluated by colleagues from Brazil. Isotopic evidence from particles and dissolved substances will be used to understand the processes and transport of material. Together the experimental and field data will allow delineating how heterotrophy and autotrophy can orchestrate the cycling of essential micro- and macronutrients in aquatic food webs.

Contact: Dr. Maren Voß

NOTION: Nitrogen fixers structuring phytoplankton biodiversity in the ocean under climate change

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NOTION youTube Video

The goal of NOTION is to determine how climate change will affect the activity of diazotrophs, and how they will impact phytoplankton biodiversity and productivity in the future ocean. To that end, we will enhance global ocean ecological models with new datasets and parameterizations stemmed from dedicated experiments. NOTION will take the unprecedented challenge of integrating genetic data into biogeochemical models to cover an important current gap in our knowledge: bridging phylogenetic and functional diversity. This new insight will be highly useful for the scientific community, serving as a role model for future studies focusing on other planktonic groups.

Contact: Dr. Maren Voß