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Biosciences

Process dynamics and species interactions in Antarctic, Arctic and North Sea shelf and coastal ecosystems


 

Diatom Fragilariopsis kerguelensis (Photo: Ulrich Freier).

The biosciences division at the Alfred Wegner Institute focuses on the identification and quantification of species and the investigation of their behaviour and living. We test scenarios of changing biodiversity and biogeochemical processes by coupled physical-biological models. Our main interest centres on interactions between biology and abiotic processes and in particular, on the carbon and energy cycle in the ecosystems of the polar regions and of the shelf and coastal regions of the North Sea.

 


 

Antarctic benthic community (Photo: Julian Gutt)

Central research themes are (1) reactions of individuals, populations and communities on external influences, and (2) organisation and dynamics of populations, communities and ecosystems under natural and disturbed conditions. We are oriented towards the modern concept of biodiversity research. Our science is largely embedded in the interdisciplinary research program PACES.

 


 

Antarctic krill Euphausia superba (Photo: Carsten Pape)

In 2009, the division biosciences streamlined its profile. The core science is organized in the sections Bentho-Pelagic Processes, Functional Ecology, Integrative Ecophysiology, Marine Biogeosciences, Coastal Ecology, Shelf Sea Ecology, Ecological Chemistry and Polar Biological Oceanography. New junior research groups complement our profile following innovative research avenues. These include the Helmholtz-University-Groups “GloCar” and “Trophic Interactions of Zooplankton in Pelagic Ecosystems“ already integrated in the AWI portfolio as well as a new HGF-group (“PLANKTOSENS) and the junior research group “PHYTOCHANGE” supported by the European research council. In addition, the division obtains extensive additional third-party funding for research.


 
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