BIOACID III – Theme 2: Shifts in Benthic Ecosystems and their Services

Theme leaders:
Martin Wahl, GEOMAR,
Ulf Karsten, Uni Rostock

Theme members:
Tal Dagan, CAU
Thorsten Reusch, GEOMAR
Birte Matthiessen, GEOMAR
Helmut Hillebrand, Universität Oldenburg
Frank Melzner, GEOMAR
Ulf Gräwe, IOW
Ulf Karsten, Universität Rostock
Martin Wahl, GEOMAR
Katrin Rehdanz, IfW

Ocean acidification is still an ongoing problem and has been the major research focus in BIOACID I and II as well as in numerous other research efforts worldwide. While a number of direct effects have been shown in the previous project phases, it became increasingly apparent that a simplistic approach is not suitable to reveal the real ecological importance of ocean acidification. 

As a consequence, in the second project phase we scaled up substantial along several dimension: complexity of the stress regime applied, incorporation of natural fluctuations, complexity of the biological system studied, and complexity of the responses assessed.

Using the novel Benthocosm system in Kiel (GEOMAR) and at the island of Sylt (AWI), the reactions of benthic communities (including macroalgae, mussels, seastars, gastropods, and crustaceans together with hundreds of associated species, e.g. ciliates, polychaetes, filamentous algae, microalgae, epibiotic bacteria) to the interacting factors warming, acidification, season as well as eutrophication and hypoxia. In the third phase of BIOACID, the diverse reactions of complex benthic communities to the multi-factorial and fluctuating climate change are modelled. Also, the socio-economical relevance of our findings shall be evaluated and recommendations developed for societal and economical decisions.

More about the science of Theme 2