In the Ecological Biodiversity Research we investigate the interaction of meiofauna organisms with their environment. From the intertidal down to the deep sea these 1 mm-sized inhabitants of the sea floor play a crucial part in food webs. We analyze the stable isotope composition and fatty acid biomarkers of the organisms in order to unravel their position in the food web (Cooperationen with Prof. Dr. Christoph Mayr, University of Erlangen and Dr. Janna Peters, University of Hamburg). Experimental manipulation of habitats or species communities as well as ecological modeling are additional components of our research (Cooperation with scientists of the Alfred-Wegener- Institute for Polar- and Marine Research).
The reliable determination of species is always based on good species descriptions. Especially from the deep sea only few species of benthic copepods have been described so far. Therefore, we dedicate great part of our work force to the detailed description of new species of the order Harpacticoida. The samples that were collected world wide during the Census of Marine Life field project CeDAMar enable us to further investigate the large-scale distribution of deep-sea copepods.