CHronobiology of changing Arctic Sea Ecosystems - CHASE

CHronobiology of changing Arctic Sea Ecosystems - CHASE

Biological clocks are central to all living systems. They provide a measure of time so that organisms can anticipate and adapt to cyclic changes in their environment. While the genetic basis of this clock is well established in terrestrial species it has remained, until recently, elusive in marine organisms. New findings by our group suggest that in zooplankton, circadian clock genes underpin daily behavioral/physiological rhythms. By measuring day-length, the circadian clock synchronizes the timing of seasonal life cycle events in response to annual cycling changes in light conditions (photoperiodism). As the Arctic Ocean is warming, zooplankton are undergoing habitat range extensions polewards. This will result in exposure to new and more extreme day-lengths (photoperiods) at the higher latitudes – known in many terrestrial species to have negative consequences on fitness. We therefore aim to investigate the behavior, physiology and genetic responses of two ecologically central taxa, the copepod Calanus finmarchicus and the euphausiid Thysanoessa inermis to their natural and new photoperiodic environments. The central hypothesis of CHASE is that changes in photoperiod will disrupt the ticking of the circadian clock and the timing of important daily and seasonal life-cycle events.

Participants
Prof. Dr. Bettina Meyer (AWI/ICBM/HIFMB)
Dr. Laura Payton (ICBM)

Collaborations
Dr. Kim Last (SAMS), UK
Dr. Jordan Grigor (SAMS), UK

Duration
2018-2021

Funding
German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
UK's Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

(Changed: 2021-05-07)