Out team elucidates the structure, origin, transformation, aggregation, ecological function and distribution of organic compounds in the changing polar ocean.

We aim to understand the function of marine organic compounds, both, as diagnostic markers to decode biogeochemical processes and as drivers of chemical interactions between species.

Organic molecules

  • render or result from important physiological processes of polar organisms, e. g. during photosynthesis, nutrient acquisition and storage of energy.

  • orchestrate species interactions affecting organismal abundance, physiology, performance, resilience and adaptation.

  • represent fingerprints of organic matter transformations and can thus serve as biogeochemical proxies.

News & Facts

Phycotoxins in the Antarctic

For the first time, the phycotoxins pectenotoxin-2 (PTX-2) and yessotoxin were detected in coastal waters of King George Island (Antarctica) and some cells of the potentially PTX-producing species Dinophysis norvegica were found.


Expedition to the Arctic

Investigating the effect of global warming on the occurrence of toxic microalgae and phycotoxins in the Arctic.

Reykjavík (Iceland) - East Greenland - Longyearbyen (Svalbard)
M/V Le Commandant Charcot
03.06.2022 – 15.06.2022

Expedition to Tierra del Fuego

Impact of subantarctic glacier melt on the coastal marine ecosystem: Video Link

Las Palmas - Punta Arenas - Tierra del Fuego - Montevideo
R/V Meteor
22.12.2021 – 21.02.2022

Research topics and key questions

We contribute to the program-oriented research within the Helmholtz Society:

Topic 6: Marine and Polar Life: Sustaining Biodiversity, Biotic Interactions, and Biogeochemical Functions

  • Subtopic 6.1 Future ecosystem functionality
  • Subtopic 6.2 Adaptation of marine life
  • Subtopic 6.3 The future biological carbon pump

Publications of the Section