Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The inner clock of polar plankton organisms as a focal research topic of a new virtual Institute

04.07.2012
Function and significance of the biological clocks in polar planktonic organisms are the focus of the virtual Helmholtz Institute entitled PolarTime starting July 1st, 2012. It is one of eleven new virtual institutes funded by the Helmholtz Association.

PolarTime, coordinated by the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, will be supported for up to five years with approximately three million euros from the impulse and network fund of the Helmholtz Association.

The anthropogenic influence on the climate system is particularly pronounced in Polar Regions. Examples of environmental changes in the Arctic and Antarctic include the receding of sea ice and ocean warming. How do marine organisms react to these changes in the environment given that their vital processes, such as reproduction cycles and seasonable food availability, have been synchronised with the environment over millions of years? To be able to answer these questions, researchers in the virtual Helmholtz Institute PolarTime are taking a very close look at Antarctic krill (scientific name: Euphausia superba). It serves as a model organism for a polar plankton species which has adapted to the extreme conditions.

Krill plays a key role in the foodwebs of the South Ocean. During the course of evolution krill has developed a large number of biological rhythms that are closely connected to large seasonal changes in its environment. Almost all organisms, from protozoan to humans have adapted to the periodic change from day to night by developing an inner biological clock. This clock permits the synchronisation of physiological and behavioural processes with the diurnal variability in environmental conditions. It can also determine the seasonal rhythms with surprising temporal precision. However, the inner clock must be reset from time to time. This happens thanks to so-called outer "timers“ such as the length of daylight (photoperiod).

A team around spokesmen Dr. Bettina Meyer from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association and Dr. Mathias Teschke from the Charité University Medicine Berlin will, in future, investigate the principles, interactions and evolution of endogenous biological rhythms and clocks in pelagic organisms of the Polar Regions using Antarctic krill as a model organism. Cooperation partners are the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig as well as the Italian University of Padua and the Australian Antarctic Institute in Hobart (Tasmania).

Research at the Alfred Wegener Institute will focus on physiology. “We are currently investigating, for example, the conditions under which genes and enzymes are active and how these are controlled by the inner clock“, says Meyer. Her colleague, Mathias Teschke, has already started investigating krill's inner clock during a research project funded by the German Research Foundation. “The studies on krill will provide a solid basis to investigate the inner clock and its mode of action of other key polar marine organisms which assume a central function in polar ecosystems“, explains Teschke.

Scientists of two working groups from the University of Oldenburg will use the knowledge gained on individual organisms to determine the population dynamics of key species and the response of population shifts on the Antarctic ecosystem. Evolutionary biologists around Prof. Dr. Gabriele Gerlach will investigate whether the krill populations in the East and West Antarctic sectors differ from each other, as climate fluctuations are considerably larger in the Western than in the Eastern sector. The working group of Prof. Dr. Bernd Blasius uses the physiological data to develop mathematical models in order to test the impact of different climate change scenarios on the inner clock and the associated vital functions of marine organisms.

“With the establishment of joint professorship for ‘Biological Processes and Biodiversity in Polar Regions’ we would like to ascertain a long-term cooperation with the University of Oldenburg“, says Prof. Dr. Karin Lochte, Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute. Furthermore, a joint working group “Marine Chronobiology“ is to be set up in which Teschke can contribute his expertise from the Berlin Charité. “In order to introduce the innovative research area of PolarTime into teaching theory, a ‘Chronobiology in Marine Environments’ summer school will be set up at the University of Oldenburg“, reports Prof. Dr. Babette Simon, President of the Carl von Ossietzky University. An exchange programme for master's and PhD students is also planned with the international cooperation partners as well as a circuit lecture on different areas of chronobiology.

The virtual Helmholtz Institute PolarTime - Biological timing in a changing marine environment: Clocks and rhythms in polar pelagic organisms

Coordination: Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association; spokes persons: PD Dr. Bettina Meyer, Dr. Mathias Teschke

Cooperation partners:

Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Prof. Dr. Gabriele Gerlach, Prof. Dr. Bernd Blasius

Charité University Medicine Berlin: Prof. Dr. Achim Kramer, Dr. Mathias Teschke

Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig: Prof. Dr. Volker Grimm, Dr. Karin Johst

Australian Antarctic Division: Dr. So Kawaguchi, Dr. Simon Jarman

University of Padua: Prof. Dr. Rudolfo Costa

General Information on the new virtual Helmholtz Institutes may be found on the website of the Helmholtz Association: http://www.helmholtz.de/en/news/press_and_news/

The Alfred Wegener Institute conducts research in the Arctic and Antarctic and in the high and mid-latitude oceans. The Institute coordinates German polar research and provides important infrastructure such as the research icebreaker Polarstern and research stations in the Arctic and Antarctic to the national and international scientific world. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of the 18 research centres of the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organisation in Germany.

Ralf Röchert | idw
Further information:
http://www.awi.de/en
http://www.helmholtz.de/en/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University

nachricht Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
28.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Transport of molecular motors into cilia

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones

28.03.2017 | Information Technology

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>