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Esther Thomsen

Institution: Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT), Bremen
Room: ZMT, room 1101
Phone: +49 421 23800 - 79
E-mail: [Bitte aktivieren Sie Javascript]
Other webpage(s): Esther's ZMT web page
Esther Thomsen

PhD project:

Response of seagrasses to aquaculture effluents and the filtering capacity of seagrass meadows for anthropogenic nutrients and organic matter in Hainan, China

Seagrasses are marine angiosperms, growing in shallow waters of tropical and temperate coastlines. They are ranked upon the most productive ecosystems competing with the tropical rainforests. Seagrasses enhance water quality by trapping nutrients, stabilizing the sediments, enhancing sedimentation and reducing resuspension. Carbon burial in seagrass meadows is long-term and fast, it accounts for 25% of the blue carbon. Along with tropical rain forests and coral reefs the seagrass meadows are ranked upon the most threatened ecosystems. During the last 3 decades more than 30% of the global seagrass meadows have been lost. The main reason for this loss is cultural eutrophication. The anthropogenic nutrient over-enrichment may have different causes, for example deficient wastewater treatment, increasing coastal urbanization or changes in land use. Recovery after eutrophication takes up to centuries. For some species loss is irreversible.

In Hainan aquaculture facilities are located in the direct vicinity to the seagrass meadows in the backreef areas. The untreated effluents with high loads in organic matter and nutrients are discharged into the backreef, driving the seagrass distribution.

Within my PhD project I am focusing on the natural filtering capacity of the seagrass towards nutrients and organic matter in different nutrient regimes. Furthermore I am interested in the species specific physiological response and tolerance thresholds of the seagrass towards nutrient enrichment.

Thesis committee:

PD Dr. Tim Jennerjahn Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT), Bremen
Prof. Dr. Martin Zimmer University of Bremen
Dr. Lucia Herbeck Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT), Bremen
Dr. Mirta Teichberg Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT), Bremen

 

GLOMAR Research Theme C