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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

CofiEs: Coastal filter function under Environmental stress

MnION: M200 Expedition

STB-Shallow Water Processes and Transitions to the Baltic Scale Workpackage 3 - Benthic-pelagic coupling

Graduiertenkolleg Baltic Transcoast

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

2nd Phase, DFG 06/2020-12/2024

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

Logo of Project BluEs sponsored by BMBF

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

BMBF (KüNO call) 11/2020-10/2023

A 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

CofiEs: Coastal filter function under Environmental stress

Björn Carlson Stiftung 02/2023-01/2026

Coastal areas worldwide are under high utilization pressure and are additionally threatened by climate change (storms, high temperatures, lack of oxygen). This leads to strong changes of the entire habitat including the metabolism. Therefore, a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of microbial processes is urgently needed, especially in shallow waters. However, investigations in shallow waters are extremely difficult due to the high dynamics and strong wave impact and require close cooperation across disciplinary boundaries which is to be realized within the framework of a long-term initiative at the IOW. How microbial processes of the nitrogen cycle are influenced by water-sediment interactions, or benthic colonization, will be investigated in this project. Rate measurements in the field, use of landers and laboratory experiments are planned. The goal is to quantify microbial processes and their interaction with near-bottom currents to better understand the coastal filter.

Contact: Dr. Maren Voß

MnION - M200 Expedition

DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (01.02.2024 - 01.09.2024)

During the expedition M200, a team of German and US scientists will conduct an examination of the link between manganese (Mn) cycling and other elemental redox cycles in the Baltic Sea’s oxygen-depleted basins. This work is linked to a cruise in summer 2020 on the R/VBorgese that first characterized the distribution and specia-tion of Mn throughout various basins within the Baltic Sea. On M200 we will investigate the biogeochemical processes driving turn-over of Mn at a subset of these stations, and will establish links between Mn redox cy-cling and other redox couples across the redoxcline. As the primary reactive Mn phases are predicted to exist within the sub-oxic zone, the focus will be on the links be-tween nitrogen (N), reactive oxygen species (ROS), and iodine (I). We will also explore links between Mn and the sulfur and carbon cycle across these zones. We will target microbial communities involved via cultur-ing approaches, and aim to understand the physical and geochemical controls regulat-ing these interactions. Starting from Rostock we will sample sta-tions in the Gotland Basin and the Landsort or Fårö Deeps. This cruise will focus on two sites, where we will conduct high resolution profiling of physical and geochemical redox structure and chemical speciation of select-ed elements, including water sampling for laboratory analyses. We will perform extensive shipboard incu-bations targeting rates of transformations, and enrich and culture microorganisms, e.g. phototrophic Mn oxidizing organisms, and microbes capable of coupling Mn redox changes to N and methane cycling. In paral-lel, water mass mixing on the measured ge-ochemical distributions will be studied. The overall goal is to achieve a mechanistic understanding of complex redox interac-tions in the Baltic redox transition zones, and comparable marine systems.

Contact: Dr. Maren Voß

STB - Shallow Water Processes and Transitions to the Baltic Scale

Workpackage 3 - Benthic-pelagic coupling

The dynamic energy in shallow waters has been described above and the pronounced role for biogeochemical processes as well as sediment water coupling. The structure of the seabed is as important for biogeochemical processes as is the type of sediments. Sediments are a diverse habitat in their own right, strongly determined by their meio- and macrofauna colonization. Furthermore, they are sites of intense degradation and other microbial processes interacting with physical and sedimentological processes. When bedforms with sediment ripples exist, the water flow above the sediments creates pressure gradients that entrain nutrients and organic matter, supporting microbial processes in the porewaters (Figure). However, as soon as the bedform ripples start migrating the porewater flows may be reversed and oxygen penetration is even reduced. Nutrient cycling in cohesive vs sandy sediments revealed a high and not yet understood complexity in the many variables impacting the diversity of fauna.

Contact: Dr. Maren Voß