IOW Logo

Travelling back in time to study phytoplankton of the past to explore the future of the Baltic Sea: PHYTOARK goes live

IOW Phytoplankton ecologist Anke Kremp in protective clothing taking samples from a Baltic Sea sediment core
Sediment cores contain traces of the past like an archive, even ancient DNA. Protective clothing is essential to prevent contamination during sample collection. (Photo: Laura Epp)

Climate change threatens marine biodiversity and thereby the stability of entire marine ecosystems. For phytoplankton, the photosynthetic microorganisms at the base of the aquatic food webs, the impact of these changes can already be detected. By using state-of-the-art palaeoecology and biodiversity research methods, the PHYTOARK research network, launched on May 1 and led by the IOW, will look back into 8,000 years of phytoplankton history archived in Baltic Sea sediments, to reconstruct responses to past changes of the environment due to climate fluctuations. The insights will be used to improve the assessment of impacts of present and future climate change.

Read the full press release; for a larger view of the photo, click on it:

Go back