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GB Research Topics

MARINE RECOURCES

Seafloor metal deposits

 

The ocean floor hosts diverse mineral resources such as ferromanganese nodules and massive sulfides. Threats such as limited resources and climate change challenge our society. We require a sustainable use of these resources e.g., by extracting metals for green energy technologies, without compromising the ecological integrity of the oceans. Researchers at MARUM explore the complex geo-bio-interactions in the seafloor ecosystems hosting these resources and how resource extraction could potentially harm these ecosystems.

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Andrea Koschinsky-Fritsche, Sabine Kasten

MARINE RECOURCES

Biodiversity and its functionality

Increasing anthropogenic pressure on different spatial scales (global climate change vs. local habitat degradation) threatens marine life from polar regions to the tropics and from coastal systems to the Deep Sea. The research at MARUM addresses the consequences of environmental variation in the broadest sense on biodiversity and ecosystem function in benthic coastal and shelf systems. A particular focus will be on the modulation of inter- and intraspecific interactions (i.e. reproduction, competition, symbiosis, grazing, bioinvasions) by environmental drivers.

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Kai Bischof, Nicole Dubilier

MARINE RECOURCES

Natural Products - Useful molecules and enzymes

Biogeochemical research at MARUM utilizes modern technologies to identify and characterize novel natural products. These include biologically active molecules, which for example may have antimicrobial properties, and enzymes with unique biochemical functions. MARUM explores their role in the ocean and potential for biotechnological applications.

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Jan-Hendrik Hehemann, Kai-Uwe Hinrichs

CYCLING AND SEQUESTRATION OF CARBON IN THE OCEAN

The importance of microorganisms

MARUM studies the function of the biological carbon pump, which moves organic carbon from the surface to the deep ocean and its sediments and thus contributes to carbon sequestration. The activity of microorganisms in the ocean and in the underlying sediment ultimately controls the fluxes of carbon into the seabed and thus its long-term fate, which in turn is directly related to the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Our research seeks to quantify the role of microbes in regulating marine carbon fluxes.

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Michael Friedrich, Gunter Wegener

CYCLING AND SEQUESTRATION OF CARBON IN THE OCEAN

Photosynthetic activity and carbon sequestration

The ocean may be an underestimated sink of carbon dioxide. About 98% of the carbon disappears from the biological carbon pump indicating the ocean is a "gigantic heterotrophic digester" where almost all of the organic material synthesized by algae gets consumed by microbes and other organisms. What if a substantial part of this biological carbon pump loss, which amounts to higher carbon values as annual fossil fuels emissions, remains for currently unknown natural causes in the ocean? We at MARUM develop and use technologies to investigate if, why, when, where and how 98% of the biological carbon pump, or about 50 Gt of carbon/year, disappears in or from the ocean.

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Morten Iversen, Karin Zonneveld

CYCLING AND SEQUESTRATION OF CARBON IN THE OCEAN

Carbon preservation

The vast majority of the organic matter formed in the ocean or brought in from the land is decomposed by microorganisms. In this process, the previously bound individual components such as carbon dioxide and nutrients are released again. Only a tiny fraction is embedded in marine sediments and is therefore of enormous importance for the fate of carbon in the ocean. At MARUM, processes that influence, if not determine, the preservation of carbon are being intensively investigated, thus making an important contribution to increasing our knowledge of the complex global carbon cycle as well as to its balancing.

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Matthias Zabel, Gesine Mollenhauer

DEEP ENERGY

Energy from the deep subseafloor

Deep within the ocean floor geological, geochemical and geomicrobial processes release energy-rich compounds such as dihydrogen, methane, and nutrients. These processes involve, for example, interactions between minerals and fluids or fossil organic matter and microbes. The products can fuel vast ecosystems within or at the ocean floor. At MARUM we explore these processes in the deep sub-seafloor.

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Verena Heuer, Wolfgang Bach

DEEP ENERGY

Microbial transformations

Microbial transformations in the ocean floor are driven by the energy potential between carbon-bearing molecules and redox-sensitive elements. They form the base for life in extreme environments and are key for shaping the global carbon cycle. We investigate microbial transformations with state-of-the-art methods and from different angles of natural sciences, ranging from biology, chemistry to geology.

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Florence Schubotz, Marcus Elvert

DEEP ENERGY

Climate relevant gases

Volatile components, such as methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide, are formed in the seafloor and seawater. When these components enter the atmosphere, they contribute to the greenhouse effect. We use modern methods to investigate the origin, fluxes, and transformations of climatically relevant gases in the marine environment and their significance for the global cycles of carbon and nitrogen.

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Thomas Pape, Hanna Marchant