Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A Grand Voyage for Tiny Organisms

19.08.2015

Climate and Ecosystem Change in the Mediterranean

Since the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 many hundreds of marine animal and plant species from the Red Sea have invaded the eastern Mediterranean, leading to significant changes in the native flora and fauna of the Mediterranean.


The benthic foraminifera Pararotalia calcariformata on the substrate macro algae Jania rubens

Photo: C. Schmidt, MARUM

An international team of researchers reported in a recent issue of the international journal Plos One that warming in the Mediterranean caused by climate change could promote the invasion of tiny marine animals called foraminifera.

The foraminifera Pararotalia is a very unimpressive animal at first glance. It is unicellular and very small. Despite this, foraminifera play an important role in the stabilization of ecosystems in the coastal zone. The calcite shells of dead animals form the foundation for many reef ecosystems and have a fundamental importance as so called-ecosystem engineers.

Foraminiferal specialists such as Dr. Christiane Schmidt can identify foraminifera by the shape of their calcite shells. Together with her future MARUM colleagues the geo-ecologist, who will return to Bremen after completing a short-term fellowship in Japan, collected samples of living foraminifera at the Nachscholim National Park, south of Haifa, from the spring of 2012 to autumn 2013.

One object of their search was the newly described Foraminifera Pararotalia, which was first discovered in 1994 in the eastern Mediterranean and has multiplied explosively there since then.

“To date there is no evidence of the occurrence of this species in the Red Sea,” says Dr. Schmidt. MARUM researcher Dr. Raphael Morard, who conducted the molecular identification on this species adds: “With these methods we can show that Pararotalia is indeed an invasive species that originates from the Indian Ocean and the Pacific.”

The success of the genus Pararotalia in the Mediterranean can be attributed to its ecology. This foraminifer lives in symbiosis with tiny microalgae. This symbiosis provides two advantages: foremost, the algae provide food for the Pararotalia through photosynthesis, and this also promotes the growth of the calcite shell of its host.

“Basically it is the temperature regime in the eastern Mediterranean that dictates whether species such as Pararotalia can survive or not,” Dr. Schmidt says. “We have cultured this species in the laboratory and shown that its thermal optimum is around 28°C, but below 20°C and above 35°C it has extreme difficulty surviving.

Next, the team developed a computer model to determine which regions in the eastern Mediterranean are especially well suited for Pararotalia. The model takes into account all occurrence records of this species published to date and, based on the light regime and sea-water turbidity in these locations, both important factors for the survival of the species, models where it is likely to occur now and in the future. The model gives clear results: the coastal ecosystems of Israel and Lebanon are currently the best-suited habitats for this species, but the species currently also lives in Syria and southeastern Turkey.

The model also suggests that in the future Pararotalia will likely expand to areas in the Mediterranean that are still too cold for its survival today. Increasing sea-water temperatures will lead to migration of the species into the western Mediterranean. Co-author Dr. Anna Weinmann, researcher at the University of Bonn says: “Our model clearly shows that by 2100 Pararotalia will likely be found in the Aegean, the Ionic Sea, in Greece, and in Libya due to transport by the prevailing currents.”

Publication:
Christiane Schmidt, Raphael Morard, Ahuva Almogi-Labin, Anna E. Weinmann, Danna Titelboim, Sigal Abramovich, Michal Kucera
Recent Invasion of the Symbiont-Bearing Foraminifera Pararotalia into the Eastern Mediterranean Facilitated by the Ongoing Warming Trend
In: PLOS One online, 13th August 2015, http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0132917

More information / interview requests / photos:

Jana Stone
MARUM Science Communication
Phone ++49 - 421 - 218-65541
E-mail: jstone@marum.de

MARUM aims at understanding the role of the oceans in the Earth’s system by employing state-of-the-art methods. It examines the significance of the oceans within the framework of global change, quantifies interactions between the marine geosphere and biosphere, and provides information for sustainable use of the ocean.

MARUM comprises the DFG research center and the cluster of excellence "The Ocean in the Earth System".

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.marum.de/en/A_Grand_Voyage_for_Tiny_Organisms.html
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0132917

Albert Gerdes | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: MARUM Mediterranean Ocean Organisms calcite ecosystems foraminifera species symbiosis

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>