The group investigates the characteristics of chemical signals which control interactions between marine organisms and their environment with particular emphasis on pelagic organisms, such as microalgae.
Marine microalgae are important marine eukaryotes. Through their exudates of dissolved organic matter (DOM) they drive the oceanic biological pump and shape global carbon cycles. Recent studies suggest that diatoms interact with bacteria and utilize cell-to-cell signalling pathways to synchronize a variety of phenotypical traits, such as the coordinated release of DOM or the resilience to pathogens and parasites. The group's goal is to identify chemically mediated phytoplankton processes and to decipher the chemical interplay between bacteria and microalgae to understand and eventually predict pelagic ecosystem dynamics.
While our general experimental design relies on classical targeted bioassays, we increasingly use targeted and untargeted metabolomic approaches to record and understand molecular organismal responses to environmental signals. Our analytical platform entails UHPLC-Orbitrap-MS (Thermo Vanquish UPLC-QExactive Plus bundle) and NMR (Bruker 600 MHz with microcryoprobe) and well equipped marine natural product labs at the University of Bremen and the Alfred Wegener Institute.