Chemical Ecology of Marine Protists

Chemical ecology deals with the interactions of organisms in a defined ecosystem. Our group investigates these phenomena with emphasis between microalgae (mainly marine dinoflagellates and haptophytes) by means of protistology and functional ecology, approaches of molecular ecology applying advanced molecular techniques and chemical analysis of relevant organic compounds at trace levels. This works aims to understand the function of organisms at the bottom of the marine food web with its implications to higher trophic levels and human exploitation of marine resources.

The Chemical Ecology Approach – identification, characterisation, quantification of bioactive secondary metabolites from marine protists and determination of the ecological function


  • Bioassay-guided fractionation to chemically characterise secondary metabolites
  • Analytical techniques to identify & quantify secondary metabolites
  • Biosensors to clarify mode of action and specific receptors

Plankton Ecology

  • Controlling factors (biological, environmental, genetic)
  • Inter- and intraspecific variability
  •  Responses of target organisms (evolutionary, behavioural)
  • Effects on population dynamics: Inter-algal and grazer interactions
  • Effects on planktonic food webs

Molecular Ecology

  • Species interaction and underlying processes
  • Ecophysiogenomics
  • Diversity, phylogeny and population genetics
  • Genomics and Evolution