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1. Ecological interactions between zoo- and phytobenthos with regard to defense-mechanisms against grazing pressure

Benthic macroalgae communities of the arctic ocean provide habitat, protection, nursery and nutrition to a large number of invertebrates. In contrast to temperate and tropical regions the basic ecological interactions between zoo- and phytobenthos of the Arctic are little understood. Therefore this project for the first time investigates biological and chemical interactions between invertebrates and macroalgae on Spitsbergen/Svalbard (Koldewey Station) with special emphasis on defense mechanisms against grazing pressure. Initial diving-investigations will map the invertebrate fauna which is associated with the macroalgae; the following feeding-experiments with herbivorous animals aim to selectively identify generalists, generalists with preference or specialists. Additional bioassays serve to reveal structural and/or chemical properties of those plants, which affect a specific impact on the grazing of herbivores. Our investigations on the chemical protection of the algae against grazing focus on the basic mechanisms and the chemical structure of potent secondary metabolites carried out in cooperation with natural product chemists.

Biological effects Biology Chemical protection Zoobenthos Phytobenthos Invertebrates Macroalgae Biodiversity Arctic Ecosystems