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Our “top athletes” on the seafloor: Hediste diversicolor, Arctica islandica, Echinocardium cordatum, Amphiura filiformis

IOW researcher Mayya Gogina with a sample of ocean quahog
Mayya Gogina, IOW expert for communities of zoobenthos in the Baltic Sea and head of the bioturbation study - here with a sample of ocean quahog during a ship expedition (photo: IOW / M. GoginaJordan)

A comparative study in four sea regions (German Baltic Sea, German North Sea, Belgian part of the North Sea and Eastern Channel) identified the organisms behind these Latin names as the most important actors in wide areas of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea in terms of bioturbation. They ensure that the bottom is supplied with oxygen, which triggers a chain of other vital processes. In different environments, only the ranking within this group changes. An international team led by the Warnemünde biologists Mayya Gogina and Michael Zettler now published the results. Using maps of the bioturbation potential, they defined areas of high ecosystem service particularly worthy of protection.

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