(Dept. 3) Plankton and Microbial Ecology
Research in the Department of Plankton and Microbial Ecology on the shores of Lake Stechlin centres on impacts of global environmental change on inland waters. Consequences on the biodiversity and functioning of plankton communities in lakes receive particular attention. This includes investigations into the dynamics, activities and interactions of bacteria, phytoplankton, zooplankton and fungi. Field experiments, especially in a large outdoor facility dubbed the LakeLab in Lake Stechlin, are a hallmark of research in the department. Other essential elements are the analysis of long-term data, laboratory experiments and the development of ecological models and new methods to analyse plankton communities. We use the knowledge gained in theses studies to devise concepts and methods that foster the protection and sustainable management of inland waters in the face of ongoing environmental change.
Lake browning counteracts cyanobacteria responses to nutrients: Evidence from phytoplankton dynamics in large enclosure experiments and comprehensive observational data
This study combines experiments in large enclosures with a comprehensive time series and a field survey to assess the joint effects of storm-induced lake browning, nutrient enrichment and deep-mixing on phytoplankton.Browning decreases nutrient enrichment effects on phytoplankton, including shifts in the species composition from cyanobacteria and chlorophytes to mixotrophic cryptophytes.
Despite the increasing concern about the harmful effects of micro- and nanoplastics (MNPs), so far, there exist no harmonised guidelines for testing the ecotoxicity of MNPs. An international research team with IGB has now developed protocols to assess the toxicity of these substances in soil and aquatic ecosystems.
This study identified 62 research hypotheses used in urban ecology and mapped them in a conceptual network. It is the first such network, which also clusters urban ecology hypotheses into four distinct themes: (i) Urban species traits & evolution, (ii) Urban biotic communities, (iii) Urban habitats and (iv) Urban ecosystems.
Microplastics are found in lakes and reservoirs around the world. Pollution reaches even the most secluded places where human influence is minimal. Moreover, concentrations of microplastics in freshwaters are sometimes higher than in subtropical gyres, the marine areas where large amounts of waste accumulate.
Phytoplankton Producer Species and Transformation of Released Compounds over Time Define Bacterial Communities following Phytoplankton Dissolved Organic Matter Pulses
Bacterial responses to phytoplankton exudates (DOMp) may be caused by different DOMp compositions. Thereby, the bacterial community leads to a succession of DOMp from highly to less bioavailable, reflected by the temporal presence of specific bacterial phylotypes. The exploitation of species-specific highly bioavailable compounds, results in a more similar remaining DOMp.