Molecular ecology and monitoring of the enzyme systems of hydrogenase and nitrogenase in plankton of the North Atlantic, North Sea and Baltic Sea.

One aim within the project is to study more in detail the biodiversity of marine plankton in the North Atlantic, North Sea and Baltic Sea. A further aim is the detailed documentation of the occurrence of the important enzymes hydrogenase and nitrogenase.

 Sampling on the research vessel SuedfallSampling on the research vessel Suedfall. © K. H. Vanselow, FTZ

Project description

Marine phytoplankton is one of the largest primary producer of the world. It is believed that these photosynthetically active mechanisms are responsible for up to the half of global CO2 fixation. The genetic equipement of organisms determine their ability to colonize a habitat. In most regions of the seas it is essential for surviving to have  nitrogenase for nitrogen fixation and hydrogenase  for hydrogen exchange. Approximately, less than 1% of microorganisms are cultivatable, so it is interesting to screen for these enzymes and to describe their diversity, and eventually to find new types of hydrogenase or nitrogenase enzymes.

By cooperation of the four involved working groups (Schulz, Schmitz-Streit, LaRoche and Colijn) a lot of information can be collected about the explored habitats in North Altlantic, North Sea and Baltic Sea. However, further investigations are necessary to confirm the found results and to get an overview for the diversity of the organisms in these seas. In the project we take water samples by the FTZ research vessel Suedfall from the North Sea. Environmental water parameters as oxygen, density, salinity, and temperature were detected parallel by a BlueBox (installed in the vessel) and by a CTD-probe. Also phytoplankton species from the algae culture collection at FTZ, funded by the Technologiestiftung Schleswig-Holstein, were provided in the project.

Results of the project are available at:

Barz, M., Beimgraben, C., Staller, T., Germer, F., Opitz, F., Marquardt, C., Schwarz, C., Gutekunst, K., Vanselow, K.H., Schmitz, R., LaRoche, J., Schulz, R. and J. Appel (2010): Distribution analysis of hydrogenases in surface waters of marine and freshwater environments. PLoS ONE 5 (11): e13846, 1-17. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013846 Abstract   Paper

Funding period:

11.2006 - 10.2008

Funded by:

State of Schleswig-Holstein (Innovationsfonds)


Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Schulz, Projektleiter(Botanisches Institut der Christian-Albrechts Universität)
Prof. Dr. Julie LaRoche (IFM-GEOMAR, Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften)
Prof. Dr. Ruth Schmitz-Streit (Mikrobiologisches Institut der Christian-Albrechts Universität)
Prof. Dr. Franciscus Colijn (Forschungs- und Technologiezentrum Westküste)
Dr. Jens Appel (Botanisches Institut der Christian-Albrechts Universität)
Dr. Klaus Vanselow (Forschungs- und Technologiezentrum Westküste)