Marine Ecology

Food Webs

The research of the Working Group is focussed on experimental population and community ecology. Its central topics are interactions between populations (competition, herbivory, predator-prey-interactions) and their consequences for community level phenomena, such as succession, diversity, stability, productivity. Marine communities are used as model systems to test hypotheses in the wider context of general ecological theory. Our research is primarily guided by the needs of developing and testing theory, but applied aspects are indirectly involved because the academic question "stability" has become a cornerstone of sustainable ecosystem management and utilization of biological resources.

The current research activities concentrate on plankton and littoral benthos and are not restricted to certain taxa. The experimental research operates at a variety of scales, from pure cultures over microcosms in the laboratory to mesocosms in the field.Our activities are regionally not restricted, current projects work with organisms and communities from the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, The North Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea.

Benthic Ecology

Benthos comprises the biological communities at the sea floor or – generally – at any solid/liquid interface. They are composed of bacteria, unicellulars, sessile and motile animals, micro- and macroalgae. Some of these assemblages are among the most speciose systems. They produce biomass, channel important element and energy fluxes, represent important sinks for carbon dioxide, contribute to the stabilization of sediments, and generally play an indispensible role in the dynamics and maintenance of the biosphere. In order to conserve benthic systems, we need to understand their structural dynamics and functioning. The inventory of many benthic communities is much advanced. Our actual challenge consists in analysing their functioning, i.e. the multiple mechanical and chemical interactions, the control of these interactions, their role and how they are affected by disturbances, local stresses and global change.

Contact

Head of the Research Unit:

Marine Food Webs
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Sommer

GEOMAR | Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
Düsternbrooker Weg 20 
D-24105 Kiel 
Germany
Phone: +49-431 600-4400
Fax: +49-431 600-4402
e-mail: usommer(at)geomar.de

 

Benthic Ecology
Prof. Dr. Martin Wahl

GEOMAR | Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
Düsternbrooker Weg 20
D-24105 Kiel 
Germany
Phone: +49-431 600-4500
Fax: +49-431 600-1671
e-mail: mwahl(at)geomar.de

Personal Assistant / Office Management:
Gabriele Barth
Phone: +49-43- 600-4401
e-mail: gbarth(at)geomar.de

Publications

Peer-reviewed publications of the research unit Experimental Ecology  - Benthos Ecology - Marine Food Webs (since 2004)