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).
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.
Cooperation partners:Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Prof. Dr. Gabriele Gerlach, Prof. Dr. Bernd Blasius
Cells communicate in a dynamic code
19.02.2018 | California Institute of Technology
Studying mitosis' structure to understand the inside of cancer cells
19.02.2018 | Biophysical Society
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.02.2018 | Life Sciences