To define and explain the role of organic compounds and their biological-chemical interactions in changing marine ecosystems.
The oceans and coastal seas constitute a bounded aqueous medium containing a vast array of particulate, colloidal and dissolved components. Our approach is to address the structural and functional complexity of chemical constituents not only by classical marine chemistry, but also from the functional perspective of biological-chemical interactions (chemical ecology). We postulate that chemical signals and effects play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity, diversity and stability of marine communities. We therefore concentrate on the structural-functional relationships of key primary metabolites (e.g. lipids), natural products (particularly marine bioactives), natural and anthropogenic toxins, and complex dissolved organic matter.
Major research objectives:
- Isolation, structural determination, mode of action, biosynthesis of key secondary metabolites.
- The origin, composition and fate of naturally occurring organic matter in organisms and in marine ecosystems, with a focus on polar and coastal seas.
- The bioactive and toxic effects of natural and anthropogenic substances on cellular processes and organismal health.
The section combines advanced methods and concepts in ecotoxicology, cell biology and physiology, functional genomics and gene expression, with bioorganic chemistry, supported by advanced facilities in NMR, gas- and liquid-tandem MS, molecular biology, optical & electron microscopy and electrophysiology.