The focus of our research is on experimental analyses of limnic and marine pelagic food web dynamics. All global biogeochemical cycles are influenced by life cycles of pelagic organisms, such as for example carbon fluxes by the photosynthesis of phytoplankton. Recent research projects investigate the carbon flux from the atmosphere to phytoplankton in relation to the functional diversity of phytoplankton characterized by its photosynthetic pigment composition. Studies investigating the link between functional diversity, carbon accrual and algal biomass composition in terms of carbon to nutrient ratios and lipid characteristics are linked to applied tasks such as using microalgal communities for biofuel production.
We also perform experimental analyses of theoretical food web models in simple structured, marine, environments. Such experimental analyses can help to bridge the gaps between results from theoretical models and field observations. For that purpose it is also important to further develop experiments in natural settings and conditions. Our field station (Limnological Station Seeon, LMU Munich), located in the middle of a lake district in upper Bavaria which was formed after the last ice age 10.000 years ago, offers ideal conditions for the performance of large scale mesocosm studies. Its infrastructure allows to perform field experiments at different scales in about 50 nearby lakes showing different physical, chemical and biological characteristics.