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Sweet springs in a salty lake

Sweet springs in a salty lake

11 October 2019 published in Hydrological Processes

The Dead Sea is the lowest and saltiest lake on Earth and its water level dramatically falling by 1 meter each year. Situated in a desert climate freshwater springs from far-away groundwater deposits are an important contribution to its water budget. Hydrologists and biologists from Israel and Germany have been studying what they called the 'Springs of Life in the Dead Sea' for years. Yaniv Munwes’ study modeled the discharge of the springs that arise from the lake floor as a jet of lighter freshwater through saturated salt brine in order to better understand the mechanisms and to estimate the overall budget of these freshwater inflows. The model is based on measured data from dives also HYDRA research divers were involved in.

Title of the original publication: Yaniv Y. Munwes, Stefan Geyer, David Katoshevski, Danny Ionescu, Tobias Licha, Christian Lott, Jonathan B. Laronne, Christian Siebert (2019) Discharge estimation of submarine springs in the Dead Sea based on velocity or density measurements in proximity to the water surface. Hydrological Processes. 2019;1–18. doi:10.1002/hyp.13598

How clams fertilize seagrass

How clams fertilize seagrass

08 August 2019 published in The ISME Journal

Researchers from Italy, Austria, the Netherlands and the USA together with HYDRA colleagues studied the role of lucinid clams from the shallow-water sands close to seagrass beds of Posidonia oceanica in Fetovaia Bay (Elba/Italy). The role of these bivalves, living in symbiosis with chemosynthetic sulfur-oxidizing bacteria, in the nitrogen cycle was investigated with stable isotope probing and elemental analysis. The symbiosis' carbon fixation rate was found to be 10-fold higher in fall than in spring. Then, the metabolism of the community was carbon limited, which resulted in a 10-fold higher ammonium excretion. This nitrogen compound could be used by the seagrass, giving a productivity boost to this important blue carbon ecosystem.

Titel of the original publication: Ulisse Cardini, Marco Bartoli, Sebastian Lücker, Maria Mooshammer, Julia Polzin, Raymond W. Lee, Vesna Micić, Thilo Hofmann, Miriam Weber & Jillian M. Petersen (2019) Chemosymbiotic bivalves contribute to the nitrogen budget of seagrass ecosystems. The ISME Journal, 2019. doi:10.1038/s41396-019-0486-9

Methane-eating microbes

Methane-eating microbes

03 July 2019 published in Environmental Microbiology

Studying the sediments from the methane seeps in shallow water at the coast of Pomonte/Isola d’Elba (I) researchers from the UK, Germany and Denmark together with colleagues from HYDRA found an efficient and well-connected relationship between several groups of bacteria that in a cascade of microbial processes oxidize the potent greenhouse gas CH4 within the top layer of the sediment. An estimated 50% of the methane is thus converted before it reaches the atmosphere. The oxidation products such as methanol and other organic carbon molecules feed a complex trophic network of a specialized microbial community providing an ecosystem function of global relevance.

Title of the original publication: Taubert, M. , Grob, C. , Crombie, A. , Howat, A. M., Burns, O. J., Weber, M. , Lott, C. , Kaster, A. , Vollmers, J. , Jehmlich, N. , Bergen, M. , Chen, Y. and Murrell, J. C. (2019), Communal metabolism by Methylococcaceae and Methylophilaceae is driving rapid aerobic methane oxidation in sediments of a shallow seep near Elba, Italy. Environ Microbiol. doi:10.1111/1462-2920.14728

Public talk: Plastic in the environment

Public talk: Plastic in the environment

14 May 2019 Sinzheim, Lothar-von-Kübel Realschule

Follow-up event for parents: "Plastic in the environment – and what we can do about it" by Dr. Miriam Weber at our local school

After a very successful morning lecture with more than 350 pupils and teachers attending last September, this time it was the parent’s turn. In an evening event Miriam explained the background of scientific plastic pollution studies, and depicted the extent of the problem. Nowadays, plastic is literally found everywhere in the natural environment where researchers have a closer look – in soil, in the rivers and lakes, in the oceans, and also in sea ice or in mountain snow caps. Closing the loop to our everyday life with plastic, and giving concrete measures how to minimize or avoid the linear use of plastic items led to a lively discussion amongst the parents and further interested audience.

Member of the PREVENT Waste Alliance

Member of the PREVENT Waste Alliance

09 May 2019 Berlin, Official Launching Event

HYDRA Marine Sciences is founding member of the PREVENT Waste Alliance

Federal Minister Müller for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has officially launched the PREVENT Waste Alliance together with the Indonesian Ambassador and over 30 organizations in Berlin today. The Alliance is part of the Action Program on Circular Economy of the German Development Cooperation. HYDRA is joining the Alliance to connect with different interest groups and to actively participate in the setting up of programs to find solutions. We are adding to the Alliance our expertise in the field of marine sciences and the experience of research on plastic in the environment, from different projects worldwide.

More information: www.prevent-waste.net

Student initiative HD Plastic Free

Student initiative HD Plastic Free

07 May 2019 Heidelberg, Ruprecht-Karls-University

HYDRA invited for general overview on marine plastic pollution.

One week without plastic. This was the challenging goal over hundred students had set themselves following a social media invitation by their student colleagues. The initiative was launched on Tuesday with an introduction to the topic of the fast-growing problem of environmental pollution by plastic covering different aspects. Besides the presentation by the initiative, and a personal account by a student who tries to life “plastic-free” since more than a year, Dr. Miriam Weber reported from her experience seeing plastic in the ocean every day during her work as a marine biologist, wherever she is diving. This set the frame for a week of reflection, analysis, gatherings and actions the students will live together starting with a presentation of the documentary Plastic Ocean this very evening.

More information: #HDplastikfrei

A worm named after us?

A worm named after us?

24 April 2019 Published in PLOS One

Colleagues from Sweden described several new species of marine flatworms, also from the Island of Elba. The samples were taken during the international BIOSAND 2010 workshop, organised by HYDRA. We are very honoured that thanks to our colleague Lukas Schärer from the University of Basel two of the new species were named after Miriam Weber and Christian Lott.

Title of the original publication: Atherton S, Jondelius U (2019) A taxonomic review and revisions of Microstomidae (Platyhelminthes: Macrostomorpha). PLoS ONE 14(4): e0212073. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0212073

MaBiKu project officially announced

MaBiKu project officially announced

26 March 2019 FNR e.V., the German agency for renewable resources

In applications where the loss of plastic into the envrionment is likely or intrinsic to its use alternative materials are urgently needed to mitigate plastic waste in the sea. In this joint research project, together with their colleagues, HYDRA aims to further develop bio-based plastics that meet the required functionalities and degrade under marine conditions.

Partners MaBiKu is a cooperation between the Leibniz University Hannover, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Hannover, and HYDRA Marine Sciences. It is partially funded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture and will run until 2022.

Diving into Plastic

Diving into Plastic

29 November 2018 Munich, Performance Days, Functional Fabrics Fair

Invited expert talk: “Diving into Plastic – A Marine biologist’s view” presented by Christian Lott at PERFORMANCEDAYS

With microplastic from our clothes being found in the environment in almost all water and sediment samples from freshwater and marine habitats the topic is getting more and more attention, also in the textile industry. Being aware of the problem, polymer producers and manufacturers of yarn and fabrics are looking into measures to minimize the loss of microfibers from garment. On what is the specialist fair for outdoor, sports and workwear functional fabrics, the Performance Days in Munich, HYDRA researcher Christian Lott presented an overview of the problem of plastic pollution from the perspective of a marine biologist working in all kinds of waters worldwide. He also informed the broadly interested audience about the latest results of HYDRA’s research on bio-degradable polymers in the marine environment.

More information: www.performancedays.com

Testing marine biodegradation

Testing marine biodegradation

04./05. November 2018 Berlin, European Bioplastics Conference

“Marine biodegradation test methods"" Dr. Miriam Weber as invited speaker at 13th European Bioplastics Conference

The 13th annual meeting of European Bioplastics e.V., the association of the bioplastic industry in Europe, saw a wide range of participants from all societal groups: experts from producers, manufacturers, national and international public institutions, NGOs and public and private research institutes gathered for an exchange on the status and the role of bioplastics. HYDRA Marine Sciences director Dr. Miriam Weber was invited to give an overview about the progress made in recent years in the field of testing biodegradable plastic under marine conditions. HYDRA has been involved in several public and contracted research projects on this topic since 2009, and has been developing systems for testing materials under natural conditions in Europe and in Asia, directly in the ocean.

More information: www.european-bioplastics.org

Submarine methane seep of abiotic origin

Submarine methane seep of abiotic origin

02 November/19 December 2018 published in Applied Geochemistry, and PLOS One

Two new publications: Complementary studies confirm abiotic origin of methane from seeps off the Island of Elba/Italy.

Following several student research projects and field courses, colleagues from Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Germany together with HYDRA researchers studied the gas seeps at the Scoglio dell’Ogliera off the coast of the Island of Elba. Stable isotope analyses confirmed the abiotic origin of the methane gas originating from serpentinized rock in the setting of the Elba ophiolite unit. Just before the methane is finally emitted and leaves the sediment surface in bubbles microbial processes convert this potent greenhouse gas, and cause alterations in the fluid chemistry within the sediment. This leads to the precipitation of carbonate in the porewater binding together sand particles to cm-scale concretions of silicate sand grains in a carbonate matrix.

Original publication 1: Patrick Meister, Johanna Wiedling, Christian Lott, Wolfgang Bach, Hanna Kuhfuß, Gunter Wegener, Michael E. Böttcher, Christian Deusner, Anna Lichtschlag, Stefano M. Bernasconi, Miriam Weber (2018) Anaerobic methane oxidation inducing carbonate precipitation at abiogenic methane seeps in the Tuscan archipelago (Italy). PLoS ONE 13(12): e0207305. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0207305

Original publication 2: Alessandra Sciarra, Anna Saroni, Giuseppe Etiope, Massimo Coltorti, Francesco Mazzarini, Christian Lott, Fausto Grassa, Francesco Italiano (2019) Shallow submarine seep of abiotic methane from serpentinized peridotite off the Island of Elba, Italy. Applied Geochemistry (100) 2019, p 1-7, doi: 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2018.10.025