Science Awards of a Bioscience Society

The awarded scientists (counter clockwise starting top left): Dr. Constantin Mario Zohner, Dr. Eva-Sophie Wallner, Dr. Moisés Expósito Alonso and Dr. Jessica Lee Erickson. Photos: Jaimie Crowther, Jörg Abendroth, Tobias Jung, and Carolin Alfs

Awards for four Exceptional Plant Scientists

How climate change influences growing seasons length in woody plants and survival of flowers, the substances that influence shape changes of plastids, and the proteins that spur phloem differentiation are in the research focus of the four plant scientists who will receive the science prices of the German Society for Plant Sciences (DBG) this year. Dr. Constantin Mario Zohner, Dr. Jessica Lee Erickson, Dr. Moisés Expósito Alonso and Dr. Eva-Sophie Wallner will get their awards during the Botanikertagung, the International Plant Science Conference in Rostock, Germany. From 16th to 18th September 2019, the four will present their research results to the more than 420 conference participants.

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Appeal to the German climate government

sorry, in German only

Deutsche Botanische Gesellschaft (DBG) fordert nachhaltige Ressourcen- und Klimapolitik

Entscheidungen über die Ressourcen unserer Erde müssen nachhaltig und wissenschaftsbasiert sein. Zur Eröffnung der Botanikertagung an der Universität Rostock, zu der sich mehr als 420 Pflanzenforschende angemeldet haben, fordert das Präsidium der Deutschen Botanischen Gesellschaft die Beteiligten am Klimakabinett und alle Parteien auf, mutige Entscheidungen zu treffen, um die Ressourcen unseres Planeten und das Klima nachhaltig zu schützen.

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Alga of the Year

Sea Ice Alga Melosira arctica – winner or loser of climate change?

One of the most important microalgal species from the Arctic Ocean, Melosira arctica, has been nominated “Alga of the Year” by the German Phycology Section. Scientists will use Melosira as a model to understand consequences of climate change. “Currently no one can foresee whether Melosira will benefit or suffer from the melting of sea ice, and nobody knows why it is so productive under such hostile conditions,” says biologist Klaus Valentin from the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI). He is a Member of the Phycological Section within the Germany Botanical Society, which selected Melosira as Alga of the year 2016.

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Alga of the Year

The Sea Lettuce Ulva only gets into shape with the right bacteria

Ulva, a green seaweed found in oceans all over the world, has been selected ‘Alga of the Year 2015’. This ’sea lettuce’ either forms tubular ribbons or sheet-like (‘lettuce’) blades. Individuals commonly reach a size of approx. 20-30 cm. The specific ‘lettuce’ growth form of the alga only develops in association of bacteria which trigger differentiation and development. As Ulva requires the presence of these bacteria, it has developed special mechanisms to attract them. This requires an exchange of information between algae and bacteria. As the two organisms belong to two very different evolutionary groups, this process has fascinated chemists, biologists and algal researchers who now want to establish one Ulva species - namely Ulva mutabilis - as a future model organism.

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Alga of the year

Chlamydomonas reinhardtii - fast swimmer serves as model

Phycologists of the Botanical Society of Germany have selected Chlamydomonas reinhardtii as alga of the year 2014. This unicellular green alga is able to sense its light environment, is a fast swimmer and is highly appreciated by algal and plant researchers as well as medical scientists as a model organism. Chlamydomonas even provides the basis for the establishment of novel scientific areas in neurobiology and medicine, such as optogenetics where genetically modified cells are applied as ‘light switches’. Text translated by Dr. Dagmar Stengl and published on the website of the Phycology Section.

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Air Purity in Europe

Halftime for Mosses as Measuring Devices

An international research team takes stock on their way to monitoring air quality in Europe

After one and a half year the international research group has prepared the mosses to be cultivated in larger bioreactors. Doing this the researchers around the biologist Prof. Dr. Ralf Reski from the University of Freiburg, Germany, have reached the first milestone in the “Mossclone” research project funded by the EU in which they are developing a new biotechnological tool which uses mosses to monitor air pollutants.

Freiburg University

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Alga of the Year

Blue bioluminescence caused by blooms of Lingulodinium polyedrum in surface waters near San Diego on the Californian coast in 2011. Photo: With kind permission by Christopher J. Wills, University of California , San Diego

Lingulodinium polyedrum illuminates the sea

The alga fascinates not only scientists but also sailors and beach walkers since it is capable of illuminating the sea at night with a bluish light. The portrait about this microalga was translated by Dr. Dagmar Stengl and published on the website of the Phycology Section.

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Upcoming Meeting of Bioscience Societies

IUBS member Germany discusses strategies to stop loss of biological diversity

45 invited German bioscience societies that are united in the DNK (Deutsches Nationalkomitee Biologie) of the German member in the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS) meet to exchange ideas how to overcome the loss of biological diversity.

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Algal of the Year

Stoneworts – pioneers and keystone species under threat

Stoneworts attract the researchers attention since some Chara species are able to conquer new aquatic habitats as ‘pioneers’ whilst others exhibit very specific growth requirements, and once having colonized an area, can shape the whole ecosystem. The portrait about Stoneworts belonging to the alga genus Chara was translated by Dr. Dagmar Stengl and published on the website of the Phycology Section.

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Alga of the Year

Fragilariopsis cylindrus loves the extremes

Algal researchers from the Phycology Section have declared the diatom Fragilariopsis cylindrus alga of the year 2011. "We are fascinated by this species because it can survive and even reproduce within the ice of the polar seas, one of the most extreme habitats on earth", argues Professor Dr Peter Kroth from the University of Konstanz. Peter Kroth is Chair of the Phycology Section of the German Society for Plant Sciences (DBG).

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Alga of the Year 2009

Mass reproduction of coccolithophores in the Barents Sea, caught by a NASA satellite. When the algae die, the calcified platelets are released into the water and scatter sunlight so that the water appears light blue. Platelets of intact algal cells do not scatter light. Therefore, whether coccolithophores dominate an algal bloom or not can only be seen from space once most individuals have already died and released their calcified platelets. Photo: Jacques Descloitres, NASA/GSFC, MODIS Rapid Response

Emiliania huxleyi – an algal dwarf impacts on global climate

A tiny organism is able to grow in such amounts to be spotted by satellites from the sky. It plays a major role in the carbon cycle and influences climate on earth. The portrait about the algal dwarf was translated by Dr. Dagmar Stengl and published on the website of the Phycology Section.

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Alga of the Year 2008

Micrasterias furcata has a diameter of only 0.2 millimeters and occurs in boggy areas. It is classified as ‘endangered’ according to the Red Data Book of 2008. Since it was first discovered and described by scientists it has been observed only in three locations in Germany. The species is classified as ‘near threatened’ in Austria. Image: Dr. Monika Engels, desmid algal collection, University of Hamburg

Micrasterias - immortal but in the Red Data Book for endangered species

Algenforscher der Sektion Phykologie der Deutschen Botanischen Gesellschaft wählen die Zieralge Micrasterias zur Alge des Jahres 2008. Micrasterias, aus dem Griechischen abgeleitet etwa „kleines Sternchen“, ist eine stark bedrohte, formen- und artenreiche Algengattung, die auf intakte Gewässer angewiesen ist.

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Alga of the Year 2007

Kelp Laminaria builds an "underwater rainforest"

Members of the Phycology Section of the German Society for Plant Sciences who conduct research on algae nominate the seaweed Laminaria as ‘Alga of the year’: the kelp Laminaria can reach lengths of several metres. It forms, together with other macroalgal species, large underwater forests in the sea (so-called ‘kelp forests’). Kelps contain alginic acid which has several applications as stabilising agents in many food and cosmetic products. In contrast to other plants, kelps grow mainly in winter when sunlight is sparse. Algae take up the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and are the most important oxygen producers of the world.

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