Tiny algae in the ocean are responsible for half of the global CO2 uptake (photosynthesis) and it is widely believed that for most microalgae photosynthesis is the only source of energy and carbon. But, there are microalgae classified as mixotrophs, who can switch between photosynthesis and using organic food, for example by eating bacteria. Once considered oddballs, there is increasing evidence that this dietary mode is very prominent. The project will characterize the contribution of mixotrophs to the microalgae community in the Baltic Sea over an annual cycle. Additionally, the project will allow research to the Arctic Ocean investigating mixotrophs during polar day and night, when light conditions contrast with 24h light and darkness.
Contributions of the fund will address critical questions on feeding modes in microalgae communities, which provide the base of marine food webs and can therefore imply consequences as far reaching as fishery production to secure human food supply. The Klaus Tschira Boost Fund will provide the opportunity to conduct small-scale studies over a wide range of seasonal and spatial scales that are expected to have a large scientific impact in the field aquatic sciences. Alongside a field study in the Baltic Sea, the project partially revolves around national and international collaborations to obtain samples from different field campaigns planned for 2019-2020 in the Arctic Seas.
... would travel the Pan American Highway all the way from Alaska to Argentina.
Name: Dr. Julia Grosse
Research field: Marine Biogeochemistry
Institution: GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany
Marine Biogeochemistry Division, Biological Oceanography Group