Long term ecological research
In the German Bight of the North Sea, about 60 km to the northwest of the River Elbe and River Weser estuaries lies the island of Helgoland (54°11.3’N, 07°54.0’E) which is characterised by a highly diverse marine life that inhabits inter- to sub-tidal habitats. In 1962, the Biologische Anstalt Helgoland (BAH) initiated a series of daily measurements and water samplings at the station “Kabeltonne” at Helgoland Roads, , a fixed mooring in the vicinity of the island. The recorded data include physico-chemical parameters such as temperature, salinity, Secchi-depth, and concentrations of dissolved inorganic nutrients (phosphate, nitrate, nitrite, ammonium, silicate), as well as biological parameters such as qualitative and quantitative data on phytoplankton and microorganisms. By now, the ongoing Helgoland Roads time series continuously covers a period of more than 40 years and thus is among the longest of its kind worldwide.
Due to the successful cooperation between the BAH and the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology (Bremen) during the past 10 years, Helgoland Roads has become one of the best studied and documented sites in marine microbiology worldwide. Recently, in the “multiomics” BMBF project MIMAS a biomass archive (providing microbial biomass for future studies) was initiated on Helgoland, which will be continued in the context of the ongoing LTER project “Microbial observatory Helgoland”.
Diversity and succession of marine pelagic bacteria are investigated by using various fingerprinting techniques covering short scale dynamics as well as seasonal changes of the whole bacterial community. "Events" like phytoplankton blooms are further investigated with more detailed analyses of e.g. Metagenome, Transcriptome, Microbiome or Metaproteome (currently in the framework of MIMAS).
Climate change with increasing seawater temperature and acidification of the sea also may alter niches for microorganisms. Pathogenic microorganisms might profit from these climate changes also in temperate waters. Against this background long term studies on bacterial diversity and succession in combination with hydrographical and oceanographical data will provide important information on the changes in the marine environment.
- Bacterial communities of marine bioaerosols
- Bacterioplankton and its role in the marine carbon cycle in changing coastal seas
- Microbial diversity, metagenomics and ecosystem monitoring at the long term ecological research station Helgoland