Biodiversity of phytoplankton taxa of the North Sea

The taxonomic reinvestigation of the phytoplankton around Helgoland, German Bight, North Sea, Germany was my postdoctoral project at the Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research.

Phytoplankton composition and physico-chemical parameters are recorded in the framework of a time-series at Helgoland since 1962. The Helgoland Reede Station is sampled work-daily. Water-bottle samples were fixed and phytoplankton taxa counted mainly for estimation of carbon content. In addition net samples for qualitative species identification were collected for my reinvestigation from 2001 to 2004. Since the species survey of Drebes from 1966 to 1971, there has been no continuous species composition record from net-samples. I recorded and documented 227 taxa, 132 species of diatoms from 53 genera and 95 species of dinoflagellates from 35 genera from net samples and isolated cultures. 29 diatom and 27 dinoflagellate taxa were identified in the Helgoland phytoplankton for the first time. The species composition at Helgoland was compared with the continuous species records from List/Sylt, Germany. The results will be available as book soon (Hoppenrath, Elbrächter and Drebes 2008). Moreover I initiated a taxonomic database about the phytoplankton taxa that expanded greatly over the last years.