Two post doc positions on Baltic Sea research

The University of Helsinki and Stockholm University have entered into a strategic partnership where one of the key areas is Baltic Sea research. To strengthen this joint research initiative they are now inviting applications for two post-doctoral positions, one at Tvärminne Zoological Station (University of Helsinki) and one at the Askö Laboratory / Baltic Sea Centre (Stockholm University).

They are looking for candidates with experience and a strong interest in at least one of the following areas, with a particular focus on the coastal zone:
– biodiversity and ecosystem functioning
– benthic and/or pelagic biogeochemical cycles
– modelling of ecosystem processes in the coastal zone

The ideal applicants would have PhD’s in Marine Ecology, Ecosystems ecology, Biogeochemistry, Ecosystem modelling or related disciplines, have strong publication records commensurate with experience, and a demonstrated potential to obtain external research funds.
The successful candidates will be expected to be active in research and publication, advise graduate students, and engage in inter-disciplinary research and public outreach.
Comparative studies at both Askö Laboratory and Tvärminne Zoological Station are expected.

So, if you fit any of the above descriptions and love to be out in the field, this is a wonderful opportunity to experience two beautiful archipelagos of the Baltic Sea.

For more information on the positions, check HERE for the one placed in Finland and klick HERE for the one in Sweden.

Deadline for applicants is March 30th!

Askö boathouse early spring morningAskö boathouse early spring morning
Sunset at Tvärminne in FeburarySunset at Tvärminne in Feburary

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Summary of the Askö Day

If you missed the first Askö Day, where recent and future researchers as well as course organisers met and discussed on-going and future research projects in the Baltic Sea, you can read a brief summary on the Baltic Sea Center site.

The BalticSeaWeed blog was there, of course, focusing on Fucus.

Do have a look at the lovely little film “Askö in numbers” that show areal footage of the research station.

Baltic Flow call for assistance

Within the project ‘BalticFlows’, they are disseminating an online questionnaire to estimate the citizen interest in a water monitoring programme (using simple devices, maintain them and read out and distribute data) within the Baltic Region.

If you can think of an institution, or know people who would like to participate in this questionnaire, please use and distribute the following links (Click on appropriate country):

Germany
Estonia
Finland
Latvia
Sweden

New publication comparing Fucus radicans and Fucus vesiculosus in Swedan and Estonia

A new scientific publication has just come out in the journal Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science by Ellen Schagerström, Helena Forslund, Lena Kautsky, Merli Pernoja and Jonne Kotta.

The article compared the thallus complexity and quantified the abundance and biomass of epiphytic algae and invertebrate taxa of the two fucoid species Fucus radicans and Fucus vesiculosus from sympatric sites in the Bothnian Sea on the Swedish coast and around the Estonian island Saaremaa.

Fucus radicans had a more complex thallus structure than Fucus vesiculosus within the whole study range, but both species were more complex in the Bothnian Sea compared to Estonia. The complexity of host algae did not contribute to their associated flora and fauna taxon richness; instead, the size of thalli was a good proxy for associated communities.

You can read the article HERE for free until November 8th, courtsey of Elsevier Ltd.

Fucus radicans (left) is more complex or "bushy" than Fucus vesiculosus (right)

Fucus radicans (left) is more complex or “bushy” than Fucus vesiculosus (right)

Warm & wonderful Estonia

This weekend, we went for a quick fieldtrip to the Estonian island Saaremaa to collect some seaweed, as we so often do. The West Estonian Archipelago Sea, or Väinameri is very shallow and well sheltered as you can see on the map. Increaseing depth is deeper blue, and there is not much dark blue there.

The Väinameri is often no more than 5-10 meters deep.

The Väinameri is often no more than 5-10 meters deep.

As before, we rented a car in Tallinn and drove down to Virtsu, where the ferry over to Saaremaa is. It is a nice trip through the rural landscape, we even saw 7 storks lined up next to the road on a field. They looked almost fake, until one of them moved.

On Saaremaa we have been fortunate enough to get to stay at the fieldstation of our Estonian collegue Jonne Kotta. It is a lovely place, a small house with outdoor toilet, the sea just behind a sheltering border of trees and a small garden with berries and rhubarbs. And a wooden outhouse for equipment and smelly experiments.

The fieldstation is Jonnes familys' summerhouse.

The fieldstation is Jonnes familys’ summerhouse.

The fieldstation outhouse in 2011

The fieldstation outhouse in 2011

So imagine our surprise as we drove up and saw….this!

The brand new fieldstation at Köiguste was built in 2013

The brand new fieldstation at Köiguste was built in 2013

Three jaws dropped as we couldn’t believe our eyes!!

Where the old outhouse used to be, there is now a brand new lab building, with large kitchen/lecture room, computer/microscopy room, indoor bathrooms and showers, enormous storage space for stuff and a wetlab for sorting. There is also space outdoors for sorting and setting up experiments.

The lawn where one used to park is now extended and covered with gravel to fit several cars, boat trailers and whatnot. And two more cabins have popped up opposite the old ones, therby doubling the overnight capacity.

Lots of parking space and new cabins.

Lots of parking space and new cabins.

But in my astonished euphoria over this amazing change, due to Jonnes resourcefulness and hard work no doubt, I am almost forgetting the seaweed (that’s saying something, that is).

This time, we went roud to five sites, two old ones and three that I had not sampled before, but have only been sent material from by Jonne.

The office looks good some days.

The office looks good some days.

The weather was marvellous, all still and not a cloud in sight. On Saaremaa the Fucus grows much shallower than on the Swedish coast, probably due to higher turbidity in the water since the Väinameri is much affected by land nutrient runoff. It is also very shallow, so that, at some sites, I have to walk almost 100-200 meters for the water to reach my knees.

Our collection went smoothly and quick, so we decided to take a trip over to the island Hiiumaa, which is north of Saaremaa, since the ferry to there departs from one of our sampling sites, and because we wanted to see what kind of seaweed grew there. One often thinks that it will be the same in an area, but in reality there are sometimes quite large variations on small scales, so we take nothing for granted.

The trip from Saaremaa to Hiiumaa takes about 65 minutes

The trip from Saaremaa to Hiiumaa takes about 65 minutes

And, sure enough, the beaches we looked at were quite different from those on Saaremaa. It is amazing how much impact the difference in wave exposure does for the underwater environment.

But even though we didn’t find a seaweed paradise, it was nice to be on a ferry and see the sea. We could also note that the algal bloom was in its peak, same as in the Baltic Proper (we could see it from the plane was we flew over the Åland islands).

Microalgae bloom floating on the surface of a still sea.

Microalgae bloom floating on the surface of a still sea.

After enjoying a lovely dinner in the town Kuressaare and a good nights sleep, we went back up to Tallinn and even had time for lunch in one of the towns many great restaurants, and a coffee in a cozy café before we returned the car and headed back to Sweden.

Beer and chocolate cake....somewhat unorthodox but it was very warm...

Beer and chocolate cake….somewhat unorthodox but it was very warm…

And so, to round off this praise for Estonia and the new fieldstation, here’s a photo of the collected Fucus radicans from Saaremaa.

Estonian Fucus radicans is smaller than the Swedish ones.

Estonian Fucus radicans is smaller than the Swedish ones.

Lectures on Ecology and Diversity of the Baltic Sea

As part of a PhD-course organized by BEAM (Baltic Ecosystem Adaptive Management), there were several lectures on the theme “Ecology and Diversity of the Baltic Sea”.

If you are interested in what the benthos looks like, what role the blue mussel plays, or want to know more about the planctonic life of the Baltic Sea, you will find the lectures by klicking HERE.

There is, of course, one or two lectures containing seaweed.

Guest blog from the 15th Scientific Conference of the Section Phycology

At the end of Feburary, our German collegue Balsam Al Janabi attended the 15th Scientific Conference of the Section Phycology, organized by the German Botanical Society. We persuaded her to tell us about it as a Guest Blogger.

The 15th Phycology seminar took place in the beautiful marine museum of Stralsund from 23rd until the 26th of february 2014. Members from the Phycology Section of the German Botanical Society and other researchers presented a huge variety of phycology research. Organized by the University of Rostock, Prof. Dr. Ulf Karsten lead us through 59 oral presentations and 2 poster sessions, so that about 100 scientists had the change to know the research of almost all phycological disciplines and to establish contacts. English presentations were held from Bachelor-, Master-, PhD-students and Professors from Austria, Ireland, Greece, Netherlands, Mongolia as well as all over Germany, especially Kiel, Rostock, Cologne and Constance.

Phycological presentations
Eleven structured sessions, brought the audience through different principle topics with special secctions of Polar and high Alpine Phycology, the Bioacid project and a presentations in memorium to Prof. Dr. Dieter Mollenhauer (who passed away May 2013) and in honor to his contributions to his activities to promote phycology in Germany.

The antarctic research session included fascinating sessions showing the kelp system in the Antarctic seaweed system with regard to global change revealing biomass and biodiversity changes up to ecotypic differentiation. Stecher, winner of the best talk award, brought the audience below the ice of the Arctic and the DNA- and RNA of sea ice algal communities. Besides future research, also insights into the past were discovered by means of Paleolimnological studies: radiocarbon-dated sediment revealed informations about diatoms, pollen and geochemical proxies up to the Neolithic period. Analysis of biodiversity was another focus of the seminar, as for instance the diversity of the rain forest in equador. Physiological aspects, as the light regulation in diatoms explained the role of aureochromes and cryptochromes by gene silencing methods. Other approaches from terrestrial habitats revealed transcriptomic analysis as in Klebsormidium crenulatum with regard to the physiological performance under desiccation stress. Investigations about microphytes were often interesting in this seminar, as during the applied phycology session, showing the usage of algae for biogas production. The variety of disciplines was also shown by a presentation about the BIOMEX project illustrating not only the laboratory analysis of space conditions for cyanobacteria, algae and even mosses, but also the planned analysis in the international space station (ISS).

Seaweed research
The Bioacid session focused on the climate change scenaria from mesocosm experiments in the Kiel Benthocosms, a near-natural scenario analyzing a seewead community as including an experiment on the interaction of environmental stress and genetic diversity of Fucus vesiculosus. Also bacterial communities of the biofilm between the present and future scenario are compared. Fucus vesiculosus was also analyzed for their seasonality of defense as a response to the seasonal variation of micro- and macrofouling pressure. Furthermore, the gen expression under herbivore grazing was demonstrated for Fucus vesiculosus. Also other physiological aspects of brown macroalgae (Phaeophyceae) showed the iodine to salinity response in Laminaria digitata and mechanisms of photoacclimation of the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera revealed the relation of antioxidants with the depth at which algae appear. The role of two bacteria for morphogenesis was presented for the green algae Ulva mutabilis.

Networking and Award Ceremonies

Future network was supported by talks about the GBIF database for algae and protists as well as by insights in the SAG culture collection. During the award ceremony of best poster, Algological study and E.G. Pringsheim-Prize, the winner of the ‘Hans-Adolf von Stosch Medal’ was Prof. Dr. Michael Melkonian for his great contributions in Protistology and Phycology. He shared his experiences of decades of phycological investigations as well as appreciated cooperations.
Personally I appreciate the participation of the phycology seminar, especially due to the mixture and the connection not only of disciplines, but also of specialists and opportunities as a PhD student having the chance to discuss my methods and results with during a nice coffee brake.
//Balsam Al Janabi

Have you attended any seaweed events or do you work with seaweed and would like to tell us about it?
Feel free to contact us and become a Guest Blogger at http://www.balticseaweed.com