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Studying the population biology and monitoring the population status of Dunlin. The population under study ilives in a coatal tundra area in Northern Norway.
Multidisciplinary investigations at the LTER (Long-Term Ecological Research) observatory HAUSGARTEN are carried out at a total of 21 permanent sampling sites in water depths ranging between 250 and 5,500 m. From the outset, repeated sampling in the water column and at the deep seafloor during regular expeditions in summer months was complemented by continuous year-round sampling and sensing using autonomous instruments in anchored devices (i.e., moorings and free-falling systems). The central HAUSGARTEN station at 2,500 m water depth in the eastern Fram Strait serves as an experimental area for unique biological in situ experiments at the seafloor, simulating various scenarios in changing environmental settings. Time-series studies at the HAUSGARTEN observatory, covering almost all compartments of the marine ecosystem, provide insights into processes and dynamics within an arctic marine ecosystem and act as a baseline for further investigations of ongoing changes in the Fram Strait. Long-term observations at HAUSGARTEN will significantly contribute to the global community’s efforts to understand variations in ecosystem structure and functioning on seasonal to decadal time-scales in an overall warming Arctic and will allow for improved future predictions under different climate scenarios.
In contrast to many other marine regions, chemical interactions between organisms in Arctic waters are little understood. This project investigates natural products and chemical interactions in the sponge genus Haliclona in temperate and polar waters. Several new secondary metabolites isolated from Haliclona show feeding deterrence and activity against bacteria and fungi, but the compound composition varies with habitat and year. That raises the question whether sponges of the genus Haliclona as a model are able to adapt to changing environmental factors such as water temperature and colonization by bacteria by varying their secondary metabolite composition.
The aim is to study the diversity and function of marine bacteria closely associated with marine sponges. The special character of life strategy of the community (symbiosis – commensalism), with special emphasis to the identity and the recruitment of bacteria during live cycle of the sponges will be described.
Since nearly all microalgae are associated with bacteria and some harbor intracellular bacteria, it is most likely that these bacteria are involved in the development or termination of natural occurring plankton assemblages. The diversity and development of associated bacteria in microalgae cultures and during phytoplankton succession will be described by molecular analysis of the bacterial community structure and by phylogenetic analysis of involved microorganisms.
Little is known about the consistency or phylogenetic affiliation of accociated intra- or extracellular bacterial populations in Echinodermata. Because certain taxa harbour bacteria and other not, these associations are presumably originated by coevolution and not by ecological circumstances. The intestine of echinodermata is populated by huge amounts of bacteria. Due to the different feeding strategy of echinoderms it is controversly discussed whether these bacteria are passively taken up or if they are permanently present. Hence it will be possible to elucidate if vertical transmission occurs or bacteria are recruted. With the knowledge of phylogenetic affiliations of microbial symbionts and their distribution (or localization) in different hosts, the physiological/biochemical status of the association will be investigated. The main emphasis will be the characterization of the in situ situation by adequate histological techniques (crysectioning) and “passive” (FT-IR) or “active” chemical imaging (confocal imaging, using fluorescent enzyme substrates or physiological dyes). The main experimental work in this WP bases on the creation of 16S-rDNA sequence libraries of echinoderrm associated bacteria (SCB & intestinal). Signature sequences will be analyzed and specific gene probes will be designed and applied.
HIMOM will aim to provide a system of methods, the so-called Hierarchical Monitoring Methods (or HMM), to determine system status and changes which are expressed by biological and physical variations within inter-tidal areas. The HMM will aim to provide a management strategy tailored to the needs of End User involved in activities relating to the sustainable development of tidal flat areas around Europe. The HMM system will represent a hierarchical suite of activities, ranging from simple ground measurements of biota and physical characteristics to remote sensing of spectral reflectance properties for the analysis of basin scale systems.
To study the organisms involved in phytoplankton succession and the Key factors involved. This includes Bacteria-Algae, Algae-zooplankton and Zooplankton-Fish interactions. Aspects such as algal-grazer defence mechanisms and digestability of alage are core topics.
The succession of macro- and microalgal communities in the Antarctic will be investigated in field experiments under various UV radiation (UVR) conditions and in the absence or presence of grazers. The observed differences in the succession process will be correlated to physiological traits of single species, especially in spores and germlings, which are the most vulnerable stages in their life histories. Photosynthetic activity of the different developmental stages will be measured routinely. Additionally we plan the determination of pigment composition, C:N ratios, content of UV protective pigments and of possible DNA damage. The experiments will start in spring, concomitant to the time of highest UVBR, due to the seasonal depletion of the ozone layer in the Antarctic region. Supplemental laboratory experiments will be conducted to determine the effects of UVR on spores and germlings of individual species. In addition to the above analyses, we plan to examine of UVR induced damage of cell fine structure and of the cytoskeleton. The results of both the field and laboratory experiments will allow us to predict the consequences of enhanced UVR for the diversity and stability of the algal community.
In the late seventies, ELLIOTT and KINGSTON (1987) discovered a polychaetous annelid in various North Sea estuaries that had previously been found only in North American estuaries. Further specimens of what appeared to be the same species were found in the mid-eighties in the coastal waters of the Baltic Sea (BICK and BURCKHARDT, 1989). The distribution of these events in time and space led to the assumption that a North American species had immigrated to the North Sea and then extended its range of distribution to the Baltic. Within several years this species became one of the most dominant species in these estuaries. Identification of the immigrant was beset with problems from the start. It was identified as M. wireni AUGENER, 1913 or as M. viridis (VERRILL, 1873). It was the population genetic studies by BASTROP et al. (1995) and ROEHNER et al. (1996a, b) that showed the presence of genetically distinct forms in the North and Baltic Sea as well as in different regions of the north eastern coast of America. The morphological studies undertaken against this background allowed a good discrimination between these species (BICK & ZETTLER, 1997). Though, all authors dealing with the two species immigrated into the European estuaries were unable to name these species. The main reasons for this uncertainty are: - species identification is difficult, because diagnostic characters vary with growth (BICK, 1995), - the geographical distribution of Marenzelleria species is far from clear, - type material no longer exists or it is in poor condition (BICK & ZETTLER, 1997). Specimens of the type species of the genus, Marenzelleria wireni, were recorded from the Arctic region, Franz-Joseph Land and Spitzbergen (WIREN, 1883 and von MARENZELLER, 1892). As mentioned above, these specimens deposited in the Zoologisches Museum Hamburg and the Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm are in poor condition. As far as we know further material from these regions does not exist. In order to eliminate the taxonomic uncertainty it is necessary to investigate morphologically and genetically specimens from the type locality.
Description of parameters of the population dynamics of polar bivalve communities, first year: growth and reproductive cycle of the dominant Greenland cockles (Serripes groenlandicus)
Observation how UV-radiation affects recruitment on hard substrate in the upper sublitoral zone.
Benthic macroalgae communities of the arctic ocean provide habitat, protection, nursery and nutrition to a large number of invertebrates. In contrast to temperate and tropical regions the basic ecological interactions between zoo- and phytobenthos of the Arctic are little understood. Therefore this project for the first time investigates biological and chemical interactions between invertebrates and macroalgae on Spitsbergen/Svalbard (Koldewey Station) with special emphasis on defense mechanisms against grazing pressure. Initial diving-investigations will map the invertebrate fauna which is associated with the macroalgae; the following feeding-experiments with herbivorous animals aim to selectively identify generalists, generalists with preference or specialists. Additional bioassays serve to reveal structural and/or chemical properties of those plants, which affect a specific impact on the grazing of herbivores. Our investigations on the chemical protection of the algae against grazing focus on the basic mechanisms and the chemical structure of potent secondary metabolites carried out in cooperation with natural product chemists.
Succession of communities and individual growth of benthic invertebrates are more or less unknown in polar waters, but nevertheless are the basic parameters of understanding the benthic sub-ecosystem, delivering data for modelling and prediction of the system´s development. Three localities, two in the Antarctic and one in the Arctic, the Kongsfjord in Spitsbergen, have been choosen as investigation localities. Hard and soft substrates, which will be sampled in regular intervalls during the duration of the project, will be deployed at different depths. The analysis includes species composition, species growth and, with respect to soft substrates, sediment parameters.
This project (of Humboldt University of Berlin) is a long-study of the ecology and physiology of Arctic snow algae in Ny Ålesund region (Krossfjorden, Blomstrandhalvøya and Prins Karls-Forland). The main objectives are: - Characterision of snow algae fields and probe collections - Physiological characterision of single algae cells at different stages of development (e.g. by dielectric single cell spectroscopy, immuno-fluroescence microscopy and element analysis) - Cultivation in home laboratories.
This study will be designed to determine the response mechanisms of representative species of macrophytes along the tide flat to provide the physiological basis for answers for ecological questions, in particular how the community structure of various beds of macroalgae from the intertidal to the subtidal (eulittoral to sublittoral) region of the coastal ecosystem is affected by enhanced UV radiation. In situ measurement of photosynthetic efficiency, growth, community structure and succession will be conducted to investigate how do different species of macrophytes respond to changes in the light environment over a depth gradient and across seasons of the year. It is hypothesized that the differences in the ability to tolerate stress are the main factors controlling the distribution pattern of macrophytes. With the limited understanding in the control of tolerance, elucidating the mechanism of stress in the physiology and ecology of the organisms will allow us to quantify the impediments encountered by organisms inhabiting the tide flats. Objectives: 1. To measure the daily and seasonal variation in photosynthetically active and ultraviolet radiation. 2. To characterize the macrophyte community structure of the coastal habitat. 3. To perform UV exclusion and UV supplementation experiments in order to assess its effect on the growth of some macrophyte species in the field and in mesocosms. 4. To assess the prevention of UV damage in selected macroalgae by production of sunscreen pigments. 4. To determine the recruitment rate, recolonization pattern and succession under PAR and varying UVR condition.
Due to its high energy, UV radiation can induce severe damage at the molecular and cellular level. On the molecular level proteins and lipids, as well as nucleic acids are particularly affected. Conformation changes of certain proteins involved in photosynthesis, such as the reaction center protein (D1) of photosystem II or the CO2 fixing enzyme in the Calvin cycle (RuBisCo) lead to an inhibition of photosynthesis, and consequently to a decrease in biomass production. This might shift certain algal species into deeper waters, not reached by UV radiation. The aim of the studies is to demonstrate how strong an increase of UV radiation due to stratospheric ozone depletion will influence the depth distribution and biomass production of macroalgae, and which molecules and processes are most severely affected. Moreover, it will be studied, which stage in the life cycle of the individual species is most sensitive to UV radiation as it will be this particular stage, which in the end determines the upper distribution limit of a certain species on the shore.