News & Events
Eco-evolutionary drivers of algal bloom formation under climate change – from genes to communities
Speaker(s): Dr Uwe John, Group Leader, Helmholtz Centre, Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany
When: 25 October 2017 (3:00 - 4:00pm)
Where: SBS CR3 (Level 1)
Type: Seminars


Anthropogenically-driven global change impacts climate and biogeochemical cycles and strongly challenges the earth’s biota. In the marine realm, phytoplankton are the major driver of the ecosystem. Ongoing changes are expected to affect phenology and physiology of single species, which force species to migrate or adapt, and hence impact community composition and ecosystem stability, services and functions. Plankton communities change towards more flagellates and therefore mixo/ heterotroph processes become more prominent which leads to reduced primary production, more oxygen consumption and more CO2 production with its consequences for the global biochemical cycles. Additionally, among the flagellates some of the species can produce toxic substances as defence traits to reduce the grazing impact. Mass occurrence of these toxigenic species can causes harmful algal blooms, with obvious increase in intensity and frequency in the last decades, and can have negative impacts on ecosystems and human health due to the consumption of contaminated seafood. Here I will present co-evolutionary genomic approaches and results from the gene, single cell towards community level, which allows us to study the complex field of adaptive processes in large plankton populations.


Dr Uwe John is a group leader at the Helmholtz Centre, Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven, Germany. He attained his doctorate in 2002 at the University of Bremen, focusing on the biology of toxic algae. His research interests include ecological and evolutionary genomics; chemical mediated species interaction; impact of intraspecific diversity and phenotypic plasticity for population dynamics; toxic algae and harmful algal bloom formation; and polyketide synthases evolution. Dr John has embarked on expeditions to the North Sea and Greenland for field work, and has more than 90 peer-reviewed publications including articles in Nature and Science.