Research Projects

Spatial and Temporal Variations of Microbial Diversity at the Arctic Long-Term Observatory HAUSGARTEN

Benthic microorganisms are highly relevant organisms in deep-sea sediments, in terms of diversity, biomass and biogeochemical function. They play a major role in the remineralization of organic matter sedimenting from surface waters. This flux is conditioned by water depth and hydrodynamics, as well as by various biological processes. Recent studies on Arctic deep-sea sediments show a decreasing flux of phytodetrital matter to the seafloor as well as a decrease in the inventory of sedimentary organic matter and total microbial biomass in the time period of 2000-2004. During my PhD, I want to investigate spatial and temporal variations in the composition of microbial communities at the long-term observatory HAUSGARTEN located in the Fram Strait. By the application of molecular fingerprinting techniques and multivariate statistics, I will be able to explore bacterial diversity patterns and correlate those not only to spatial and temporal parameters, but also to a wide range of environmental factors. We will also use 454 parallel tag sequencing to explore bacterial as well as eukaryotic diversity at high taxonomic resolution, in order to
find out how certain taxa respond to changes in the environment. Hence we will be able to determine the main factors driving changes in bacterial community patterns of deep-sea sediments over the last 7 years. This work will give a first insight into the influence of global change in the Arctic on benthic microorganisms.


2010 RV Polarstern, ARK XXV-2, Longyearbyen-Reykjavik, Arctic
2009 RV Polarstern, ARK XXIV-2, Longyearbyen-Reykjavik, Arctic
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