Developement of a BIObased Infiltration Hampering Stratum as a cover and renaturation of potash tailings piles (BioIHS)

DuneCrust - Terrestrial diatoms in biological soil crusts from coastal sand dunes: assessment of their biodiversity and ecological function

Dunes are the first line of physical defense against the sea at many natural coasts. This project aims to enhance the fundamental understanding of ecosystem functioning conducted by terrestrial diatoms in coastal dune biocrusts under the influence of human impact. This study will also clarify whether terrestrial diatoms can be used as bioindicators for disturbance of coastal sand dunes.

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Integrated approaches to address taxonomic problems in the Prasiolaceae (Trebouxiophyceae, Chlorophyta)

Members of the green algal family Prasiolacae are found particularly in nutrient-rich habitats along the sea coasts and inland in temperate and polar regions. As an integral part of cryptogamic covers, they exhibit unique ecological traits, however, many aspectes of their biology are still unknown. This project aims to clarify taxonomic problems within the family and thus to facilitate future studies of these ecologically important primary producers.

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Crustfunction III – Land use as driver for structure and function of biological soil crusts

Biocrusts are pioneering colonizers on free soils and in temperate areas, especially where disturbances occur that are either of natural origin (burrows of game, root plates due to wind breakage, erosion) or are anthropogenic (cultivation with machines). In CRUSTFUNCTION III, defects in the forest caused by clear cutting are examined for the growth and development of biocrusts, as well as their influence on the processes in connection with the material cycles of N and P.

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DAM pilot mission

Trawling has a strong influence on the nature, substance fluxes and organism communities in and on the seabed. With the proposed exclusion of Natura 2000 areas from bottom-to-bottom fishing, the influence of the lack of trawling in the Baltic Sea can be examined for the first time and comprehensively. The focus in our working group lies on the diversity of the microphytobenthos.

The pilot missions, which are carried out in close cooperation with the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), are part of the research mission “Protection and Sustainable Use of Marine Areas” of the German Marine Research Alliance (DAM).

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Seasonal kelp primary production at a rocky shore site: Integrating physiology and biochemistry into ecological modelling

The DFG funded project aims to investigate submarine kelp forests (Laminaria hyperborea) along a rocky coast site (Helgoland) with regard to their carbon input. So far, primary production can only be roughly projected due to the limited number of datasets. Furthermore, the effect of ocean warming on primary production will be investigated. The seasonal changes in primary production and carbon budget will be analysed with a combination of different physiological and biochemical methods. The gathered data will be combined with already existing data to develop a kelp primary production model for rocky shore habitats.

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Biological soil crusts from sand dunes

In the framework of a Georg-Forster research grant of the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation, Dr. Taiana Mikhailyuk investigates the morphological and molecular genetic biodiversity of green algae and cyanobacteria from biological soil crusts of sand dunes along the Baltic Sea coast, comparing them with those from the Balc Sea and the Azov Sea (Ukraine). Furthermore, the first biogeochemical studies about phosphorous accummulation by biological soil crusts are performed.

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Gene expression in biogeochemical cycling of phosphorus in biological soil crusts of sand dunes of the Baltic Sea

The sand dunes of the Baltic Sea are a dynamic and ecologically challenging location and offer a unique habitat for the settlement of biological soil crusts. These are communities of bacteria, cyanobacteria, green algae, lichens and fungi. Because of their impact on primary production, the enrichment of the dunes with organic compounds, their role in the nutrient and water cycle and the stabilization of the top soil layer, biocrusts are known as so-called “ecosystem engineers”. However, the growth-limiting element phosphorus and in particular the molecular biological processes within the phosphorus cycle in biocrusts have hardly been investigated.

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Biological soil crusts as a pioneer community for the greening of potash spoil heaps

In this project the application of biological soil crusts for a greening of potash spoil heaps will be studied. The aim is to reduce runoff of salt brine by trapping rain water with the crust. Organisms of soil crusts from heap environments will be isolated, their salt tolerance evaluated and finally artificial crusts will be built on heap material.

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CLIMARCTIC

The main objectives of CLIMARCTIC are the potential effects of climate change on the biodiversity and functioning of Arctic soil and lake microbiomes. Therefore, the project will also focus on the role of microbial community on arctic (and global) carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous cycling.

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Biological soil crusts as unique microecosystem represent a suitable model system to address taxonomy and cryptic diversity of microalgal key players

The project is embedded within the overarching program "TaxonOmics", which aims to apply modern taxonomic approaches to discover and name organisms, which is the basis accurate biodiversity estimation. Our project will focus on abundant and ubiquitous microalgae in biological soil crusts. The world-wide distribution of BSCs makes this interesting microhabitat a suitable candidate to observe speciation processes in microalgae along geographical gradients and varying environmental stressors. A polyphasic approach will result in a robust taxonomy as well as in the discovery of new microalgal species.

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CRUSTWEATHERING - Structure and function of biocrusts in weathering, soil formation and erosion processes

Selected biocrust photosynthetic microorganisms are investigated for the bio-weathering potential. Detailed information on crust-weathering processes is crucial to link key biocrust organisms to the biogeochemical cycling of P- , C- and N-compounds on micro and landscape scale.

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Phosphatases – Development of new quantitative assays along terrestrial-aquatic gradients

The general goal of this thesis is to optimize the methods, which measure the phosphatase activity in aquatic and terrestrial field samples. To use this methods to determine the phosphatase activity as a proxy for the phosphorus demand in different algae and microorganisms and to define a specific threshold for P limiting conditions. With this proxy system we want to assess the total alkaline phosphatase activity and the different phosphor pools comparative between different habitats along the Baltic Sea and quantify the in-situ turnover rates of organic phosphorus from different planktonic and soil communities over the seasons.

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BACOSA - Stofflüsse im Pelagial

Im Rahmen des Projekts BACOSA (Baltic Coastal System Analysis und Status Evaluation) werden Daten zu Stoffströmen im Schilfgürtel und in von Makrophyten dominierten Zonen innerer und äußerer Küstengewässer erhoben. Dabei steht die Verfügbarkeit des Elements Phosphor im Fokus. Das Projekt "Stofflüsse im Pelagial - Produktion im Pelagial und Stoff- sowie Partikelaustausch mit den Sedimenten" wird an der biologischen Station Zingst durchgeführt. 

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Baltic TRANSCOAST - Microphytobenthic primary production

Microphytobenthic primary production and DOC exudation/mineralization are quantitatively measured along a coastal peatland-shallow water gradient. Its influence by terrestrial compounds, hydrodynamic parameters and sediment transport is assessed in order to address the biogeochemical C cycle in the shallow water zone.

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Protists in Biological Soil Crusts

Biological soil crusts (BSCs) consist of soil particles and organisms within the uppermost millimeters of soil surface. Soil microbiota is one of the most important aspect of BSCs studies, which is one of the frontiers in biodiversity research. Protists are critical components of microbial communities and have ecological roles in soil.

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Diatom composition and biodiversity

Diatoms are an ecologically widespread group, occurring in the oceans, in fresh water, in soils, and on moist surfaces. They have an important role as primary producers of organic materials especially in the marine ecosystem. Diatom communities are also used as a monitoring tool for water quality and as indicators in palaeolimnology.

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Biodiversity and biogeography of marine benthic diatoms from polar regions

In Antarctic and Arctic marine ecosystems, especially microorganisms and their biodiversity and function in food webs are not well studied, as are the mechanisms, that influence their spatial and temporal distribution. This project is part of the German Research Foundatin (DFG)-funded Priority Porgram "Antarctic Reseach) and focusses on the biodiversity and biography of benthic diatoms in coastal soft sediments.

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Ecological role of fungal parasites on benthic diatoms of polar coastal waters

Parasitism was recently identified as ecologically very successful and probably the most common biotic interaction and and nutrition in the world ocean’s pelagic zone. However, respective studies on polar benthic diatoms are lacking. We aim to address this lack of information in a PhD project in the framework of the German Research Council (DFG)- funded Priority Program 1158 "Antarctic Research".

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