News from ICBM
The oceans contain huge amounts of carbon, originating from the degradation of living organisms and their excretions. The structure of these carbon compounds and their possible role in climate change remain widely unknown to date. Marine chemists Dr. Maren Zark and Prof. Dr. Thorsten Dittmar at the University of Oldenburg have made an important step forward with their results, recently published in the scientific journal Nature Communications: A commonly spread portion of these compounds is very likely to share the same structures, independent from its origin in lakes, rivers, the open ocean or even continental sources.
Some small blue copepods in the nutrient rich thin layer at marine surfaces apparently protect themselves against sun and visibility by predators by their particular blue stain. An international team around ICBM researchers Dr. Janina Rahlff (now University Duisburg-Essen) and Dr. Mariana Ribas Ribas investigated the tiny crustaceans by means of a research katamaran and a novel spectral camera equipped drone.
Big success for German biodiversity scientists: The scientific project DynaCom, chaired by the head of ICBM research group Planktology and founding director of Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity at the University of Oldenburg (HIFMB), Prof. Dr. Helmut Hillebrand, will be funded with three million euros by the DFG (German Research Foundation) in the three years to come.
On 16 June, Prof. Dr. Joerg-Olaf Wolff and Ph.D. student Rosanna Schoeneich-Argent took part in the awards ceremony of the Barthel Foundation funded competition „Frieslands Helden der Heimat“ (Heroes of the Friesian Homeland) in Varel, Lower Saxony. Their project proposal on information on the issues of marine litter won them the second place in the category „Environmental Protection“. They were awarded with the certificate of the prize, remunerated with 5,000 Euros, by Lower Saxony’s Minister of the Environment Olaf Lies.
Recently, participants of the ICBM excursion to the mediterranean island of Giglio depicted their first impressions in a webblog. The students were accompanied by pleasant anticipation when starting their first snorkel tour, which was the first snorkeling experience to some of them at all. The initially even in wetsuits unexpected cold water did not derogate from scientific impetus.
The 147th RV METEOR expedition led scientists of ICBM, amongst team members of other research facilities, to the Amazon estuary. On whit sunday, 20 May, cruise M 147 will come to its end in Belém, Brazil. What made the estuary of the biggest stream on earth such attractive to the scientists? In his blog, local consultant Clive Maguire also lets us hear some vivid reports of the scientists aboard.
The Amazon is the largest river on Earth. About 20 per cent of the freshwater that flows from the continents into the world oceans comes from this gigantic tropical river. Together with the fluvial waters, large amounts of nutrients and plant debris are carried into the Atlantic. A recently discovered coral reef in the depths of the Atlantic and productive fish stocks directly depend on these inputs. Scientists and students from ICBM and the University UENF in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) investigate on board of the German research vessel Meteor how organic debris from the Amazon influences marine ecosystems in the Atlantic.
It is known for quite some time that most bacteria of the open ocean "despise" dissolved organic matter. However, microorganisms from porous areas of the oceanic crust utilize a major part of these specific carbon compounds – most of them being excretory and decomposition products of marine algae and bacteria. The recent findings of an international study in which participated researchers of the ICBM-MPI Bridging Group Marine Geochemistry Prof. Dr. Thorsten Dittmar and Dr. Helena Osterholz, have been published in the recent issue of the scientific journal Nature Geoscience.
Scientists from Oldenburg, Brunswick and Chapel Hill (USA) have isolated a new bacterium from oil-contaminated marine water of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.
In an interdisciplinary approach, researchers within the PhD training group EcoMol (The Ecology of Molecules) at the ICBM currently investigate the development of a so-called algal bloom under close-to-nature conditions in a laboratory.